A Southland lawmaker’s bill, which would require all public, charter and private schools to print a suicide prevention hotline number on the back of students’ identification cards, was passed Wednesday by the Senate Education Committee.

“As a father and a legislator, the safety of our youth has always been a priority for me,” said Sen. Anthony J. Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge. “This bill is a good step … forward to help prevent these horrific tragedies. No parent should ever have to face a daughter or son’s suicide, and if we can prevent just one by providing important information, we should seize that opportunity.”

If SB 972 passes and is signed by the governor, the requirement would go into effect on July 1, 2019, for grades 7-12 and all higher-education institutions, Portantino said. The bill will next be heard on the Senate floor, probably early next week, he said.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 15-24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When he introduced the bill early last month, Portantino noted he and his family have been personally affected by suicide. His brother took his own life.

Co-sponsors of Portantino’s bill include Sens. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, and Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco.

The lawmaker said SB 972 supporters include the American Academy of Pediatrics of California, the California School Boards Association, California School Nurses Organization and the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District.

–City News Service

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