Bill Text: NJ S3542 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Establishes task force to examine public school programs and services designed to address student mental health.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 2-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-03-05 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Education Committee [S3542 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-S3542-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 3542

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED MARCH 5, 2019

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  RICHARD J. CODEY

District 27 (Essex and Morris)

Senator  JAMES BEACH

District 6 (Burlington and Camden)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes task force to examine public school programs and services designed to address student mental health.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

 


An Act establishing a Task Force on Student Mental Health.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    a.   There is established the Task Force on Student Mental Health.  The purpose of the task force is to examine issues related to the mental health of public school students, including depression, anxiety, stress, or other psychological or emotional tension, trauma or disorder and to develop recommendations to ensure that students have access to mental health care programs and services in order to allow those students to meet their educational goals.

     b.    The task force shall consist of 16 members as follows:

     (1)   the Commissioner of Education, ex officio, or a designee, and the Director of the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, or a designee;

     (2)   one public member appointed by the President of the Senate and one public member appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate, both of whom shall have demonstrated expertise in issues related to the work of the task force;

     (3)   one public member appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly and one public member appointed by the Minority Leader of the General Assembly, both of whom shall have demonstrated expertise in issues relating to the work of the task force; and

     (4)   10 members appointed by the Governor, including: a school board member, a school principal, a school administrator, an elementary school teacher, a high school teacher, a school counselor, a school social worker, and a school psychologist, all of whom are currently employed in public schools in the State; and two parents of students enrolled in a public school.

 

     2.    Appointments to the task force shall be made within 30 days after the effective date of this act.  Vacancies in the membership of the task force shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments were made.  Members of the task force shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed for necessary expenditures incurred in the performance of their duties as members of the task force within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the task force for its purposes.

 

     3.    The task force shall organize as soon as practicable, but not later than 30 days following the appointment of its members.  The task force shall choose a chairperson from among its members and shall appoint a secretary who need not be a member of the task force.

 

     4.    The Department of Education shall provide such stenographical, clerical, and other administrative assistants, and such professional staff as the task force requires to carry out its work.  The task force also shall be entitled to call to its assistance and avail itself of the services of the employees of any State, county, or municipal department, board, bureau, commission, or agency as it may require and as may be available for its purposes. 

 

     5.    It shall be the duty of the task force to examine issues related to the mental health of students enrolled in public schools and to develop recommendations to ensure that students have access to necessary mental health care programs and services.  The task force shall study and make recommendations regarding the following:

     a.     the identification of public school students who experience depression, anxiety, stress, or other psychological or emotional tension, trauma, or disorder;

     b.    the evaluation and expansion of counseling programs and services available to students experiencing mental health difficulties, and other programs designed to address issues related to student mental health;

     c.     the relationship of student mental health to school safety and security;

     d.    the amount of funding that may be necessary for public schools to employ the appropriate staff and to establish new programs or expand existing programs necessary to address student mental health;

     e.     an examination of other states which have implemented programs that have successfully addressed depression, anxiety, stress, or other psychological or emotional tension, trauma, or disorder among public school students and reduced the number of students experiencing such difficulties; and

     f.     any other proposals that the task force determines would provide for increased access to high-quality mental health programs and services by public school students.

 

     6.    a.   The task force shall issue a final report of its findings and recommendations to the Governor, and to the Legislature pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), no later than one year after the task force organizes. 

     b.    The task force shall expire 30 days after the issuance of its final report.

 

     7.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill establishes the Task Force on Student Mental Health. Under the bill, the task force will consist of 16 members including: the Commissioner of Education; the Director of the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services; one public member appointed by the President of the Senate and one public member appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate; one public member appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly and one public member appointed by the Minority Leader of the General Assembly; and 10 members appointed by the Governor, including: a school board member, a school principal, a school administrator, an elementary school teacher, a high school teacher, a school counselor, a school social worker, and a school psychologist, all of whom are currently employed in public schools in the State; and two parents of students enrolled in a public school.

     The task force will study and make recommendations regarding the following:

         the identification of public school students who experience depression, anxiety, stress, or other psychological or emotional tension, trauma, or disorder;

         the evaluation and expansion of counseling programs and services available to students experiencing mental health difficulties, and other programs designed to address issues related to student mental health;

         the relationship of student mental health to school safety and security;

         the amount of funding that may be necessary for public schools to employ the appropriate staff and to establish new programs or expand existing programs necessary to address student mental health; and

         an examination of other states which have implemented programs that have successfully addressed depression, anxiety, stress, or other psychological or emotional tension, trauma, or disorder among public school students and reduced the number of students experiencing such difficulties.

     The bill directs the task force to issue a final report of its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature no later than one year after its organizational meeting.  The task force will expire 30 days after the submission of the final report.

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