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.