Act 71 was passed in 2014 as House Bill 1559. The law requires every school district in Pennsylvania to:
Additionally, the law requires that student education be included in the school’s suicide prevention policy. The full legislation passed is available below.READ NOW
While Act 71 requires educators in grades 6-12 to receive 4 hours of training on suicide prevention every 5 years, it does not state how this will occur. Each school district is ultimately responsible for their own compliance. Further, PAYSPI highly recommends that school districts avoid providing all 4 hours of training in the first year and then avoid the topic until 5 years later. Everything we know about learning, as well as data on the effectiveness of suicide prevention training programs, suggest that this approach is ineffective. We suggest schools consider a model whereby educators and other school staff are trained for at least one hour annually. A second model to consider is two hours every other year. Either way, the school district would be compliant with Act 71.
Each school district is responsible for monitoring their own compliance with Act 71. They are responsible to submit a plan as to how they will address suicide prevention in their annual Professional Development Plan submitted to PDE.
It should be reminded to school districts that they are responsible for issuing Act 48 (continuing education) credits to their staff. Therefore, if any of the recommended trainings offered here or on any other reputable site are deemed appropriate by the school district, then that school district has the authority to offer Act 48 credits for that learning module.
This document contains websites and video links that serve as brief awareness and educational resources. While most of included resources were developed for parents and families, schools may also utilize them as a way to quickly disseminate brief yet relevant information more broadly to professional educators and support staff, as well as community members.Click Here