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New legislation affecting trauma, suicide, dyslexia, and bullying practices in schools...

November 07, 2016 8:56 AM | Scott Crooks

New legislation affecting trauma, suicide, dyslexia, and bullying practices in schools...

2016 Legislative Update!


There was a lot of legislation passed regarding schools and school psychologists late last Spring. Below you'll find a summary from our awesome Advocacy Chairs Kim Moore and Katya Sussman of the important changes affecting schools. We are proud to announce that MASP leadership has been asked to serve on the DESE committee tasked with developing guidelines for anti-bullying policies, trauma awareness and prevention policies, and trauma information and training for school districts! 

 The following bills passed in the 2016   legislative session:

Bullying: HB 1583

  • This bill amends the definition of bullying to require behavior to be “repetitive” or “substantially likely to be repeated” and includes behavior that interferes with the performance, opportunities or benefits of any student, or that disrupts the operation of the school.
  • Requires the district’s anti-bullying policy to be included in the student handbook.
  • Districts have jurisdiction to prohibit cyber-bullying that originates on a school’s campus or at a district activity if the electronic communication was made using the school’s technological resources or if the communication was made on the district’s campus or at a district activity using the student’s own device. The district may discipline to the greatest extent allowed by law.
  • Requires the following additions to the anti-bullying policy:
    • Designate an employee to whom bullying reports are made.
    • Timelines for employees to report bullying and for the investigation of any bullying incident.
    • Prohibit reprisal or retaliation against persons who report bullying and include remediation for retaliation if it occurs.
    • State how the policy will be publicized.
    • Establish a process for discussing the policy with students and for training school employees and volunteers who have significant contact with students.
    • Instructs district counselors, social workers, and school psychologists to educate students who are victims of bullying on techniques to overcome negative effects of bullying. It also requires districts to implement programs to address bullying and make resources available to victims.

Youth Suicide Prevention: HB 1583; HB 2379

  • Beginning in the 2017-18 school year, educators may annually complete up to 2 hours of professional development in youth suicide awareness and prevention as part of hours required for state certification. DESE will develop guidelines and materials for training.
  • By July 1, 2017, DESE will develop a model policy in cooperation with organizations that have expertise in the area.
  • By July 1, 2018, each district will adopt a policy for youth suicide awareness and prevention including plans for training district employees. The policy will include: a) Strategies to identify students at risk; b) Strategies for helping students at risk; and c) Protocols for responding to a suicide death.

Dyslexia HB 2379; SB 635; SB 638

  • Creates a Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia to make recommendations for a statewide system for identification, intervention, and delivery of supports for students with dyslexia. (MASP has submitted nominations of school psychologists to serve on this task force)
  • By December 31, 2017, DESE will develop guidelines for screening students for dyslexia and providing classroom support, consistent with the findings and recommendations of the Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia.
  • Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, public schools and charter schools will conduct dyslexia screenings in the appropriate year in accordance with DESE guidelines. The school board will provide reasonable classroom support in accordance with the DESE guidelines.
  • Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, Missouri practicing teacher assistance programs (student teacher programs) will offer two hours of in-service training provided by school districts and charter schools for all teachers. Such training will count as two contact hours of professional development for state licensing purposes.

Trauma- Informed Schools: SB 638

Creates the Trauma-Informed Schools Initiative in which DESE will:

  • Provide information regarding the trauma-informed approach to all school districts;
  • Offer training to all school districts; and
  • Develop a website about the trauma-informed schools initiative for parents and schools. Each school district will provide the address of the website to all parents before October 1 each school year.

It also requires DESE to establish the Trauma-Informed Schools Pilot Program. Five schools from around the state will receive intensive staff training and funds to implement the approach.

 Thank you all for your continued support  as members

We wouldn't be able to be as involved in state-wide work for children and families without your support. If you have suggestions or resources that you think are great please contact us so can share the wealth with our peers around the state. Thank you so much!


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