senate Bill S5359A

Relates to encouraging school districts to include a mental health curriculum in their course of instruction

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 16 / May / 2013
    • REFERRED TO EDUCATION
  • 04 / Jun / 2013
    • 1ST REPORT CAL.971
  • 05 / Jun / 2013
    • 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • 10 / Jun / 2013
    • AMENDED 5359A
  • 10 / Jun / 2013
    • ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • 21 / Jun / 2013
    • COMMITTED TO RULES
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO EDUCATION
  • 29 / May / 2014
    • 1ST REPORT CAL.1030
  • 02 / Jun / 2014
    • 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • 03 / Jun / 2014
    • ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • 12 / Jun / 2014
    • PASSED SENATE
  • 12 / Jun / 2014
    • DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • 12 / Jun / 2014
    • REFERRED TO EDUCATION

Summary

Relates to encouraging school districts to include a mental health curriculum in their course of instruction.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A7727A
Versions:
S5359
S5359A
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Assembly Education
Law Section:
Education Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยง804, Ed L

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S5359A

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to a
mental health education curriculum

PURPOSE: To update the statute relating to health education to
properly reflect the content currently taught in schools.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1: Legislative intent.

Section 2: Amends section 804 of the education law. Section 3: Sets
forth the effective date.

EXISTING LAW:

Section 804 of the Education Law relates to current health education
curriculum requirements.

JUSTIFICATION: The legislature recognizes the importance of providing
a quality education to all New York students. Quality education must
continue to include comprehensive health education. While schools
presently provide instruction in health education, it is important
that the law provide the flexibility to reflect current learning
standards and curriculum development as administered by the New York
State Education Department and local school districts. Furthermore, it
is important that the statute recognize developing technology and
existing curriculum materials to ensure that schools and teachers are
provided with the most beneficial health education information, and
that both health and mental health are taught with the idea of
prevention, cure and control and without stigma or emotional harm.
The law should provide flexibility to allow the commissioner to
respond to the changing needs of the educational community to provide
students with the tools and resources to live healthy lives, as it
will only serve to improve educational performance and student
outcomes.

School districts are faced with numerous challenges. Recent events
have highlighted the importance of keeping students and educators safe
in schools. An integral component of school safety is mental health.
School districts are on the front lines of providing resources for
students who may be exhibiting behaviors that indicate a need for
mental health support. It is vital that the law be updated to reflect
the current work of school districts in supporting their staff and
students. Additionally, because educators are in the best position to
determine how student progress is measured this bill seeks to update
the statute to ensure that health education assessments are determined
at the local level.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately, provided that
any rules or regulations necessary for implementation shall be
promulgated and take effect 180 days after enactment.


view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                 5359--A
    Cal. No. 971

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                              May 16, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sens.  FLANAGAN,  RANZENHOFER  -- read twice and ordered
  printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee  on  Educa-
  tion  --  reported favorably from said committee, ordered to first and
  second report, amended on second report, ordered to a  third  reading,
  and  to  be  reprinted as amended, retaining its place in the order of
  third reading

AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to a mental health educa-
  tion curriculum

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.  Legislative intent. The legislature recognizes the impor-
tance of providing a quality education to all New York students. Quality
education must continue to include comprehensive health education. While
schools presently provide instruction in health education, the  legisla-
ture  finds it important that the law provide the flexibility to reflect
current learning standards and curriculum development as administered by
the New York State Education  Department  and  local  school  districts.
Furthermore, it is important that statute recognize developing technolo-
gy and existing curriculum materials to ensure that schools and teachers
are  provided with the most beneficial health education information, and
that both  health  and  mental  health  are  taught  with  the  idea  of
prevention,  cure  and control and without stigma or emotional harm. The
law should provide flexibility to allow the commissioner of education to
respond to the changing needs of the educational  community  to  provide
students  with the tools and resources to live healthy lives, as it will
only serve to improve educational performance and student outcomes.
  S 2. Section 804 of the education law, as added by chapter 982 of  the
laws  of  1977,  the  section  heading as amended and subdivision 3-a as
added by chapter 401 of the laws of 1998, subdivision 3  as  amended  by
chapter 674 of the laws of 2004, and subdivision 4 as amended by chapter
181 of the laws of 2000, is amended to read as follows:

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD11096-02-3

S. 5359--A                          2

  S 804.  Health  education [regarding alcohol, drugs, tobacco abuse and
the prevention and detection of certain cancers]. 1. All schools [shall]
ARE ENCOURAGED TO include, as an  integral  part  of  health  education,
instruction [so as to discourage the misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobac-
co,  and  other  drugs  and  promote attitudes and behavior that enhance
health, well being, and human dignity.] IN THE UNDERSTANDINGS, ATTITUDES
AND BEHAVIORS WITH REGARD TO THE  SEVERAL  DIMENSIONS  OF  HEALTH.  THIS
INSTRUCTION  SHALL  RELATE  TO ALCOHOL, TOBACCO AND OTHER DRUGS, SAFETY,
MENTAL HEALTH, NUTRITION, DENTAL  HEALTH,  SENSORY  PERCEPTION,  DISEASE
PREVENTION  AND  CONTROL,  ENVIRONMENTAL  AND  PUBLIC  HEALTH,  CONSUMER
HEALTH, FIRST AID, AND OTHER HEALTH-RELATED AREAS. SUCH HEALTH EDUCATION
SHALL BE ADMINISTERED AND ASSESSED WITH THE GOALS OF PROVIDING  STUDENTS
WITH THE NECESSARY KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS TO: ESTABLISH AND MAINTAIN PHYS-
ICAL  FITNESS,  PARTICIPATE  IN PHYSICAL ACTIVITY; AND MAINTAIN PERSONAL
HEALTH; ACQUIRE THE KNOWLEDGE AND ABILITY NECESSARY TO CREATE AND  MAIN-
TAIN  A SAFE AND HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT; UNDERSTAND AND MANAGE PERSONAL AND
COMMUNITY RESOURCES TO SUSTAIN OVERALL HEALTH.
  1-A. SUCH HEALTH EDUCATION SHALL BE  PROVIDED  IN  AN  AGE-APPROPRIATE
MANNER  BY  THE  REGULAR CLASSROOM TEACHER, OR BY A TEACHER CERTIFIED TO
TEACH HEALTH EDUCATION.
  1-B. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL  PROMULGATE  REGULATIONS  TO  FULFILL  THE
REQUIREMENTS  OF  THIS  SECTION AND TO ENSURE THAT STUDENTS ARE PROPERLY
INSTRUCTED IN THESE AREAS VITAL TO ENSURING  CONTINUING  DEVELOPMENT  OF
HEALTH  SKILLS AND PROVIDING ACCESS TO AVAILABLE RESOURCES FOR PROMOTING
HEALTHY LIVING.
  2. Instruction regarding alcohol, tobacco, and other  drugs  shall  be
included  in  the  health  education  provided for all elementary school
pupils and shall be taught by  the  regular  classroom  teachers  or  by
teachers  certified to teach health education. Such instruction shall be
designed according to the needs and abilities of the pupils  at  succes-
sive grade levels with the purpose of developing desirable health behav-
ior, attitudes, and knowledge as well as self-reliance and problem solv-
ing capacity.
  3.  Instruction  regarding alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, in addi-
tion to continued health guidance in the junior high school  grades  and
the  senior high schools, shall be an integral part of a required health
education course at each  of  these  levels  in  the  secondary  schools
curriculum.  [Students shall be required to demonstrate knowledge in the
subject area through the use of a test, graded project or report, or any
other means prescribed by  the  school  authorities  regarding  alcohol,
drugs, and tobacco.] Any such course shall be taught by teachers holding
a  certificate  to teach health. Related courses in the secondary school
curriculum shall be taught in a manner supportive  of  health  education
regarding  alcohol,  tobacco,  and other drugs. In addition, instruction
regarding the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol or
drugs shall be an integral part of a required health education course in
the senior high schools. Such  instruction  shall  be  provided  in  all
senior  high  schools  whether  or not these schools also provide driver
education courses.
  3-a. Instruction regarding methods  of  prevention  and  detection  of
certain  cancers,  including  but  not  limited  to  breast cancer, skin
cancer, testicular cancer and other  cancers  where  certain  preventive
measures  have  become  generally accepted and certain detection methods
have been adopted and recommended generally to the public. Such instruc-
tion shall be an integral part of a required health education course  at
the  senior  high school level, in addition to continued health guidance

S. 5359--A                          3

in senior high schools. Any such course  shall  be  taught  by  teachers
holding a certificate to teach health.
  4.  a.  [The  commissioner  may  prescribe  in regulations such health
education courses which include instruction regarding alcohol,  tobacco,
and other drugs as the commissioner may deem necessary and desirable for
the  welfare of pupils and the community] THE COMMISSIONER SHALL PROMUL-
GATE REGULATIONS TO FULFILL THE REQUIREMENTS  OF  THIS  SECTION  AND  TO
ENSURE  THAT  STUDENTS  ARE  PROPERLY INSTRUCTED IN THESE AREAS VITAL TO
CONTINUING DEVELOPMENT OF HEALTH SKILLS AND PROVIDING ACCESS  TO  AVAIL-
ABLE  RESOURCES  FOR PROMOTING HEALTHY LIVING, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED
TO INSTRUCTION ON THE IMPORTANCE OF SEEKING COUNSELING TO ADDRESS MENTAL
HEALTH ISSUES THAT ARE IMPACTING A STUDENT'S  ABILITY  TO  LEARN.    The
contents may be varied to meet the needs of particular school districts,
or  portions  thereof,  and  need  not  be uniform throughout the state,
provided, however,  that  school  districts  shall  utilize  either  the
curriculum  for health education instruction [regarding alcohol, tobacco
and other drugs] prescribed by the commissioner or a course approved  by
the  commissioner in accordance with criteria established by the commis-
sioner.
  b. The commissioner shall make  available  an  interpersonal  violence
prevention  education  package  for  grades kindergarten through twelve,
which package may consist of student pamphlets, parent pamphlets,  vide-
otapes  and  other  informative  materials  to  be distributed to school
districts, and shall encourage the use of such material as part  of  the
health or other related curricula or programs.
  c.  The  regents  shall  review  the health curriculum requirements in
existence on the effective date of this paragraph  for  the  purpose  of
streamlining  such  curriculum  and  identifying any outdated components
that may be eliminated or consolidated in order to ensure that  students
have sufficient time and instruction to develop skills to address issues
of violence prevention and mental health. To the extent appropriate, the
regents shall modify the existing curriculum to provide greater focus on
the  development  of  skills,  by  no later than middle school, that are
needed to recognize, cope with and  address  potentially  violent  inci-
dents,  including an understanding of student's roles in emergency situ-
ations, what to do when confronted with another student who is  [experi-
encing  a  mental  health  problem, and other related skills designed to
reduce the threat of violence  in  schools.]  EXHIBITING  BEHAVIOR  THAT
CAUSES CONCERN OR ALARM FOR THE SAFETY OF THE STUDENT OR OTHERS.
  5.  School  authorities shall provide the needed facilities, time, and
place for the instruction set forth herein and  shall  provide  learning
aids  and  curriculum  resource  materials which contribute to effective
teaching methods and learning in health  education  [regarding  alcohol,
tobacco, and other drugs].
  6.  All  pre-service  training  programs  in  the state for elementary
teachers shall include adequate preparation regarding the instruction in
alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs set forth herein, and no teacher shall
be licensed except upon satisfactory demonstration of  the  competencies
included  in  the  institutional  proposals  approved  by  the education
department.
  7. Nothing contained in this section shall be deemed  to  diminish  or
impair  the  duties  of  the commissioner with respect to the continuing
program for  critical  health  problems  established  by  chapter  seven
hundred  eighty-seven  of  the  laws  of nineteen hundred sixty-seven as
amended. The commissioner shall coordinate actions taken under authority
of this section with the provisions of said chapter as  they  relate  to

S. 5359--A                          4

health  education  in schools, inservice training and training programs,
and  curriculum  or  syllabus  development  [regarding  the  deleterious
effects  resulting  from the use, misuse, and abuse of alcohol, tobacco,
and other drugs].
  S  3.  This act shall take effect immediately, provided that any rules
or regulations necessary for the implementation of  this  act  shall  be
promulgated and take effect 180 days after its enactment.

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