With more than 200 school shootings resulting in 141 deaths since 1999, Iowa is tightening up its mental health and suicide prevention policies, as well as its active shooter response plans for this new school year.

Teachers will undergo new training to help them spot and respond to students with mental health issues in an effort to help establish protocols for suicide prevention in K-12 schools across Iowa.

Other plans in the works include tightening up active shooter response programs. Some schools already have them, but all will be required to.

Additionally, school "lunch-shaming" will be banned. It was learned some schools were isolating students, sitting them together if they couldn't pay for their lunch. Districts are to more extensively communicate with parents of low-income students about options so that this doesn't happen, and more money will be given to schools so these lunch debts may be settled in certain cases.

$11.2 million in funding was also allocated to aid rural students with transportation costs in getting to school.

According to the Gazette, it will be at the discretion of the school as to how best to implement most of these new programs, so they can obtain state resources for assistance.

Schools and classrooms should not create more challenges for students, they should create a safe haven and comfortable environment. These laws will be designed to increase schools' flexibility in doing just that.

[Via Gazette]


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