New State Law Requires More Suicide Prevention Training In Schools

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Every year schools and educators go through new training. But this year, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is requiring all school districts provide an additional hour of training for suicide prevention.

"We all know that it is one of the leading causes of death among young people, so it's something that we want to look at prevention side of it, instead of the post, we have to look at that as well, but we always want to look at prevention," said Kevin Mills, Bellevue Public Schools Student Services Coordinator.

And sadly suicide is something Bellevue Public Schools has dealt with first hand. During the full 2014 to 2015 school year the district lost three students to suicide.

"I think we are doing very well with the situation, the thing about especially when dealing with death is that everyone grieves in their own way. So there are things that can crop up much later, so we are trying to be aware of those," said Superintendent Frank Harwood, Bellevue Public Schools. “There are examples of letters, discussion guides for working with students, information about bullying prevention, and resources that are available to the employees.”

This new training only helps. The program being used is call Kognito and it trains personnel through a virtual experience.

"The program gives them some information about how the student might react to that, whether their response was effective, or whether there was another choice that might have been more effective for them," said Kim Bodensteiner, Executive Director for Teaching Learning Bellevue Public Schools.

It's not just Bellevue, all schools across the state are doing this training. But Bellevue Public Schools is going a step further.

"The importance is working in a school district is we have so many staff members who have, what I call, foster relationships with students," said Mills.

Which means not just teachers, counselors and administration get this training, but bus drivers, custodians, food service workers, and anyone who comes in contact with a student.