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Central Texas Local News | kcentv.com

School safety: Breaking down Senate Bill 11 which addresses cyberbullying, other concerns

The new law tackles school safety from multiple perspectives.

TEMPLE, Texas — When the school year opens in August, it will be with new school safety requirements.

Senate Bill 11 tackles school safety from a practical and instructional approach.

"Superintendent Bobby Ott here in Temple talked with me a number of times about some language that needed to be in there," Rep. Hugh Shine said. "We made sure we talked to the bill's author."

The bill demands that the State Education Commissioner review rules of this topic by September 1 of every even-numbered year.

It also mandates suicide prevention programs, conflict resolution programs, violence prevention programs, Dyslexia treatment programs, dropout reduction programs, and discipline reduction programs, among others.

The suicide prevention updates mandate the schools send home information educating parents on the signs of potential suicide risk, on top of identifying measures already in place.

"The idea behind it is to make sure the schools put forth the effort to have a good, strong safety program," Shine said.

Those programs include a requirement that school districts incorporate instruction in digital citizenship into the curriculum, including defining what is, legally, "healthy online behavior," and the potential criminal consequences for cyberbullying.

The law also adds emphasis on health curriculum encompassing mental health, mental health conditions, and suicide prevention, in order to better identify students who show early signs of needing intervention.

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