The SA senate passed a statement calling for the amendment and passage of the New York State Suicide Prevention Act Feb. 12, joining 26 other college student governments in pushing for the bill to be amended and passed by state politicians.

If passed in its current form, the bill would require “the governing board or body of every local educational agency serving students in grades seven to twelve, to adopt policies, procedures and guidelines on student suicide prevention, intervention and postvention for students in such grades.”

The group of student governments, organized by the SUNY Stony Brook Undergraduate Student Government and Stony Brook senior Vignesh Subramanian, are calling for the measure to be passed only after it is amended to require universities to adopt similar policies, procedures, and guidelines as well. The SA statement also calls on other student body governments to join in pushing for the legislation.

“The Students’ Association Assembled demands the addition of provisions to the SSPA that would uniformly require NYS colleges and universities to adopt policies on suicide prevention, require their resident assistants to be trained in mental health aid, and require the development of appropriate referral and reporting protocols for staff, outreach strategies, and peer support programs for at-risk students,” the SA’s resolution reads.

Despite the push, the bill has been stalled in the education committee since Jan. 2022. According to reporting by Spectrum News 1, lawmakers have raised concerns about how the bill might impose additional unfunded mandates on local school districts. Supporters, particularly the bill’s sponsors, have rejected this criticism as unfounded.

“That to me seems like a pretty lame excuse considering we’re talking about the protection of the well-being of our children,” bill sponsor Sen. Brad Hoylman of Manhattan told Spectrum News 1. “That said, if Albany is going to pass measures like this, we need to make sure we have the funding in place.”

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