Suicide prevention measure advances in Iowa Senate

Bill would include training for school personnel on symptoms, intervention

The Iowa Senate wants all school employees to undergo training to recognize when a student is suffering from trauma or contemplating suicide.

The bill, prompted by the recent suicides of two students in Johnston, unanimously passed Wednesday.

School boards would be required to select a program to train school personnel on recognizing the symptoms of students contemplating suicide. It also would train them on how to intervene.

Democrat Sen. Tod Bowman of Maquoketa, an educator, says teachers are well-positioned in a child's life to recognize suicidal behavior. He told the senate Wednesday that the suicide of a former student 24 years ago still scars his memory.

Statistics show there are about 30 teenage suicides in Iowa each year.The measure now moves to the House.

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