April 6, 2016 at 6:00 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
D.C. Council passes suicide prevention bill
David Grosso, D.C. Council, gay news, Washington Blade

D.C. Council member David Grosso authored the Youth Suicide Prevention and School Climate Survey Amendment Act of 2015. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The D.C. City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve a bill that requires the city’s public schools to adopt suicide prevention policies that specifically address the needs of LGBT youth.

The legislation, the Youth Suicide Prevention and School Climate Survey Amendment Act of 2015, among other things, requires that all school-based personnel receive at least two hours of suicide prevention, intervention and post-intervention training each year.

Bill 21-361 also calls for the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education to develop and publish a model suicide prevention, intervention and post-intervention policy and to develop “research-based school climate surveys” related to potential causes of youth suicide.

The Trevor Project, a national organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention efforts for LGBT youth, calls the newly approved legislation “the first law in the nation to require a school suicide policy to specifically address the needs of LGBTQ youth.”

D.C. Council member David Grosso (I-At-Large) is the author of the legislation, which he co-introduced with nine of his fellow Council members, including Council Chair Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large).

“The Trevor Project is proud to have played a key role in helping this bill pass, which will help not only LGBTQ youth, but also foster and homeless youth, as well as those living with mental illness, substance use and disorders, self-harming behaviors, and those bereaved by suicide,” said Abbe Land, the Trevor Project’s CEO and executive director.

Mayor Muriel Bowser was expected to sign the bill. Under the city’s Home Rule Charter, the legislation must then go to Capitol Hill for a 30 legislative day review by Congress before it becomes law.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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