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Governor Signs Laws on Bullying and Suicide Prevention

Provided by Prince William County Schools

Governor Terry McAuliffe signed two bills at Forest Park High School this afternoon that are designed to change the environment at schools, enhance professional development for school counselors, and save lives. Senator Jeremy McPike (District 29) and Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (District 41) bill sponsors, flanked the Governor as he signed Senate Bill 1117 and House Bill 1709.

“Everyone should know mental health first-aid,” the Governor said. “We have to recognize when we need to reach out to help someone.  We want our students in school, doing well. No families should have to go through the loss of a loved one.”

McPike’s bill, SB 1117, requires school counselors to receive training in trauma, suicide, and substance abuse when renewing licensure from the state. Forest Park High School was selected as the site for the ceremony because it is well known for its annual Suicide Awareness Walk led by students, many of whom experienced a loss or knew someone who has.

Filler-Corn’s bill, HB 1709, requires School Boards to adopt policies to inform parents when a child is involved in bullying, either as a victim or perpetrator.

“Every principal is going to tell students about this new law,” McAuliffe said. “We have zero tolerance for bullying of any kind. We care about the social and emotional well-being of students. We want them to be in school, learning; we want them to graduate and fill the jobs that we have in the Commonwealth.”

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