–By Victoria Doll
On Feb. 6 a bill titled “Senate Bill 42” passed in the State Senate. Senate Bill 42, sponsored by Senator Denise Harper Angel, D-Louisville, requires hotline information for suicide prevention, sexual assault and domestic violence on school-issued student IDs for public schools and public universities in Kentucky.
Senate Bill 42 requires that grades six through 12, as well as all Kentucky-University students have the hotline information linked on their student IDs.
Secondary schools that do not issue student IDs are not affected.
Inspiration for the Senate Bill 42 stems from a statistic given by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: suicide is the second leading cause of death for Kentuckians ages 15-34 and that every 12 hours someone in Kentucky loses their life to suicide.
Angel said, “Suicide, instances of domestic abuse, and sexual assault are becoming all too common among our young people.”
Kentucky has already passed laws that require suicide prevention training for students grades six through 12; however, over the past decade, the suicide rate for children and teens 18 and younger in the United States has grown more than 90 percent. There has been recent research done to show that the suicide rate is at the highest count since 1999.
According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, more than 50 percent of sexual assaults take place between August and November. In addition, college women ages 18-24 are three times more likely than women in general to experience sexual assault.
Lori Vogel, a social worker and guidance counselor for Fayette County Public Schools said, “Having these numbers on hand, in an easy place to find during that crisis, could be the difference in a life and death situation.”
Furthermore, according to The Sexual Assault Response Team Advisory Committee, they report that one of every two Kentucky women and one of every five Kentucky men will experience sexual assault during their lives.
“By having these crisis prevention numbers on the back of students’ IDs, we are letting students know that they are not alone, and that help is readily available to them,” Angel said.
“I will now begin working with our colleagues in the House to make this a reality.”
Angel hopes Senate Bill 42 will prevent students from having to wait days to months on crisis prevention hotline’s waiting lists.
She said by having the state require this information on their student IDs, Kentucky can better provide immediate aid to students that are struggling.
Marion County Superintendent Taylora Schlosser, testified in front of the Senate Committee of Education in favor of the bill. After the passing of her daughter, Taylor Rae Nolan, she founded the Rae of Sunshine Foundation in her memory.
The Foundation partners with local organizations to raise awareness and to provide support for people that struggle with mental illness.
The next step for Senate Bill 42 is to move to the House for further consideration.
File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal