A bill that seeks to prioritize students’ mental health was advanced from general file March 5.
Currently, a school may refer a child to the county attorney for truancy if the child has had more than 20 absences during the school year and a collaborative plan has not successfully resolved the child’s barriers to attendance.
LB751, sponsored by Bellevue Sen. Carol Blood, would add mental health as a recognized barrier to attendance for consideration as part of a collaborative plan.
Blood said the bill would acknowledge the need to treat an individual’s mental well-being the same as physical health.
“It’s a small, but much needed step to destigmatize mental health problems that many students face and a step forward toward addressing the alarming increase in the rate of suicide [among] Nebraska’s children,” she said.
North Platte Sen. Mike Groene expressed concerns about leaving a potentially suicidal student at home alone.
“Who is the person that is looking for the small signs that can prevent suicide,” he asked. “Are they better off at school where a mentor, teacher or counselor can take note of the situation?”
Senators voted 46-0 to advance the bill to select file.