House Approves Parent Education on Suicide, Drugs, etc.

(KCPW News)  A bill requiring school districts to offer an annual seminar to parents to distribute information about substance abuse, bullying, suicide prevention and Internet safety was approved by the Utah House of Representatives today following an emotional debate.  Representative Paul Ray, whose daughters attend Clearfield High School where two students committed suicide this week, said having this information ahead of time would have been invaluable.

“The school is doing a great job of trying to get with the parents, get information out, work with law enforcement, those kinds of things, bring the counselors in,” said Ray.  “But boy, it sure would have been great to have some of this information prior to.”

Several lawmakers attempted to amend the bill to remove the mandate requiring the seminar, and instead give districts the option to hold one when needed.  And Representative Jim Nielson questioned whether the state even has the power under the Utah Constitution to mandate the seminar.

“We are not to control and supervise.  And to tell someone via legislation that we must have a class, and it must cover these subjects, and it must be done at this time, is general control and supervision,” said Nielson.  “And in addition, we are mandating something and not providing the funds to do it.”

House Bill 420 also requires the State Board of Education to develop the curriculum.  The bill moves to the Senate after passing the House by a 40-to-30 vote.