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CORRECTIVE REPRINT
PRIOR PRINTER'S NO. 3141
PRINTER'S NO. 3308
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
2311
Session of
2024
INTRODUCED BY SCHLOSSBERG, BOYD, CERRATO, CIRESI, CONKLIN,
DALEY, T. DAVIS, DEASY, DELLOSO, DONAHUE, FREEMAN, GREEN,
HADDOCK, HOHENSTEIN, KAZEEM, KHAN, KINSEY, NEILSON, PARKER,
PROBST, SANCHEZ AND STEELE, MAY 21, 2024
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION, MAY 21, 2024
AN ACT
Amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), entitled "An
act relating to the public school system, including certain
provisions applicable as well to private and parochial
schools; amending, revising, consolidating and changing the
laws relating thereto," establishing the School Mental Health
Screening Grant and Development Program; and making
appropriations.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. The act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known
as the Public School Code of 1949, is amended by adding an
article to read:
ARTICLE XIV-C
SCHOOL MENTAL HEALTH SCREENING
GRANT AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
Section 1401-C. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this article
shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
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"Applicant." A school entity that submits an application
under section 1404-C to participate in the program.
"Department." The Department of Education of the
Commonwealth.
"E ligible school entity." A school entity that has been
determined by the department to be prepared for inclusion in the
program as determined under the assessment process under section
1407-C.
"IEP." An individualized education program established under
22 Pa. Code Ch. 14 (relating to special education services and
programs).
"Municipality." A county, city, borough, incorporated town
or township.
" Participating school entity." An eligible school entity
that has been selected by the department to participate in the
program.
"Program." The S chool Mental Health Screening Grant and
Development Program established under section 1402-C.
"School entity." A school district, intermediate unit or
area career and technical school located in this Commonwealth.
"Secretary." The Secretary of Education of the Commonwealth.
Section 1402-C. Establishment and purpose of program.
The School Mental Health Screening Grant and Development
Program is established within the department to provide grants
to participating school entities for annual evidence-based
mental health screening for students in grades six through
twelve.
Section 1403-C. Operation of program.
(a) Implementation.--Upon the effective date of this
subsection, the department shall take steps to implement the
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program.
(b) Administration.--The department shall administer the
program beginning with the 2025-2026 school year.
Section 1404-C. Applications.
(a) Submittal.--A school entity that seeks to participate in
the program shall submit the application to the department, in
accordance with procedures and requirements prescribed by the
department, including deadlines for submitting an application,
procedures for submitting the application and eligibility
standards.
(b) Requirements.--The application under this section shall
include:
(1) A description of the mental health screenings to be
implemented by the school entity and an explanation of how
the school entity will make available to each student in
grades six through twelve an annual mental health screening ,
including an indication of consent requirement for parents or
guardians, that meets the standards under this article.
(2) A description of the evidence-based mental health
screening tool implemented by the school entity or, if
applicable, the name of the vendor or health care provider
partnering with the school entity and specializing in youth
mental health to conduct the evidence-based mental health
screening and details of their screening tools.
(3) A description of how the grant awarded under the
program will be used to further the purposes of the program,
including:
(i) Hiring additional personnel, purchasing
materials or contracting with outside entities.
(ii) Implementing programs to develop supportive
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learning environments.
(iii) Expanding school-based programs or referral
pathways with the purpose of counseling or treating
students presenting mental health conditions.
(4) A description of how the mental health screenings
will be conducted in a manner that permits real-time
evaluation or rapid review of the screening results and
intervention by a licensed mental health professional, school
program or other intervention if required by the results of
the screening.
( 5) As applicable, the details of any partnership wi th a
vendor or provider specializing in youth mental health
services, which shall include:
(i) The name of the organization or provider.
( ii) The number of students being served by the
organization or provider.
(iii) The expected time frame to screen the
students.
(iv) The costs associated with engaging in a
partnership with the organization or provider.
(v) The location where the screenings will occur.
(6) An emergency mental health intervention plan
describing how the participating school entity will notify
the student's parent or guardian of an immediate mental
health concern and provide the parent or guardian of the
student in need of immediate mental health intervention a
list of recommended evidence-based resources and
interventions, including emergency mental health services,
support services, mental health providers and professionals
and community organizations partnered with the school entity.
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( 7) A description of the design, current student
capacity and structure of student mental health supports,
including school counselors, school psychologists, school
psychiatrists, school social workers, the Pennsylvania
Student Assistance Program, the Safe2Say Something program
and external referral partners.
(c) Posting.--The application shall be posted on the
publicly accessible Internet website of the department.
Section 1405-C. Consultation.
In implementing, administering and evaluating the program,
the department shall consult with:
(1) The National Center for School Mental Health.
(2) The Mental Health Technology Transfer Center
Network.
(3 ) The National Alliance on Mental Illness.
(4) Other recognized organizations that specialize in
and have expertise with youth mental health screening and
intervention services.
Section 1406-C. Vendors.
(a) List.--In consultation with school entities and the
Department of Human Services, the department shall establish a
list of vendors that may provide mental health screenings, or
support services to provide mental health screenings, for
participating school entities.
(b) Eligibility criteria.--The department shall ensure that
each vendor described in subsection (a) meets the following
eligibility criteria:
(1) The vendor shall have the capacity to collect and
report data to the participating school entity and the
department.
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(2) The vendor shall have experience delivering and
managing youth mental health screenings with reliable and
consistent performance.
(3) The vendor shall provide trauma-informed practices
and support.
(4) The vendor shall abide by the Federal Educational
Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. ยง 1232g) with all student
information accessed during a screening under the program.
(5) The vendor shall comply with any other requirement
that is deemed necessary by the department or participating
school entity.
(6) The vendor shall use an age-appropriate evidence-
based mental health screening tool approved by the department
under section 1410-C, unless the department grants a waiver
to this requirement.
Section 1407-C. Assessments.
(a) Authorization.--T he department shall assess each school
entity to determine the ability of the school entity to
participate in the program.
(b) Components.--The assessment under this section shall
include a review of the following:
(1) The current status of each school entity toward
meeting the necessary criteria needed for inclusion in the
program.
(2) Any obstacle to participation in the program by a
school entity, including:
(i) Adequate qualified personnel necessary to
provide, oversee and assess student mental health
screenings, including vendors, if applicable.
(ii) C apacity of school programs, such as the
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Student Assistance Program, to provide adequate quality
mental health or behavioral health student support.
(iii) Any contract or memorandum of understanding
with a municipality or local partner in providing
counseling services, including how to utilize resources
to provide necessary counseling services to students
identified as needing services by the program.
(iv) Any contract or memorandum of understanding
with emergency services or emergency mental health
services.
(v) Any contract or memorandum of understanding
signed with a vendor to provide or review mental health
screening services or other support services for mental
health screenings, as appropriate.
(vi) Any contract or memorandum of understanding
signed with another school entity for joint use of
resources and coordination.
(3) Any recommendation to help a nonparticipating school
entity meet the eligibility qualifications or selection
criteria for the program, including any model contract or
memorandum of understanding with another agency or facility.
(4) The ability of the school entity to participate in
the program and, as a participating school entity, implement
annual mental health screenings.
(5) The financial and technical needs of each school
entity to provide a mental health screening to each student
of the school entity in grades six through twelve.
(c) Other assistance.--T he department may enter into a
contract with external partners for the purpose of providing
additional capability and oversight necessary for assessing
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school entities under the program.
(d) Designation.--Following the assessment process in this
section, the department shall designate school entities which
the department has determined to have demonstrated the capacity
and procedures to adequately provide mental health supports to
students identified under the program through the assessment
process under this section. The designated school entities shall
be considered eligible school entities.
(e) Report.--
(1) Within three years after the effective date of this
paragraph, the department shall issue a report on the
assessment of all school entities and their ability to
provide ongoing mental health support to students identified
through mental health screenings as needing additional mental
health services.
(2) The department shall submit the report under this
subparagraph to the following:
(i) The Governor.
(ii) The secretary.
(iii) The President pro tempore of the Senate.
(iv) The Speaker of the House of Representatives.
(v) The Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the
Senate.
(vi) The Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the
House of Representatives.
Section 1408-C. Determination.
(a) Authorization.--If a school entity has submitted an
application to participate in the program and the department has
determined that the school entity is an eligible school entity,
the department shall select the school entity to participate in
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the program.
(b) Notice.--The department shall provide notice to each
applicant of the determination under subsection (a). The
following apply:
(1) If the application is approved, the department shall
provide the applicant with the amount of the grant awarded
and any conditions on the grant.
(2) If the application is denied, the department shall
provide the applicant with the reasons for the denial and an
opportunity to resubmit an application.
Section 1409-C. Grants and funding.
(a) Award of grants.--T he department shall provide grants
for financial and technical purposes to school entities for the
purpose of participating in the program or meeting the
requirements to participate in the program, including meeting
the staffing or programmatic needs to address the mental health
needs of students identified by the program.
(b) Funding sources.--The department shall apply for
Federal, private and other non-State money and shall use money
appropriated or otherwise made available to the department for
the program.
(c) Administrative and other costs.--The department may use
up to 5% of the funds appropriated for the program for
administrative costs associated with the program or contract
costs of the assessments under section 1407-C.
(d) Pre-application grants.--The department may provide a
grant to a school entity prior to the submittal of an
application by the school entity if the grant is used for the
purpose of meeting the eligibility requirements for the school
entity to participate in the program. The department shall
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develop procedures and a review process to implement and
administer this subsection.
(e) D istribution.--
(1) In the first three years of operation, the
department shall determine how to make program grants
available to school entities in accordance with this article.
(2) For funding after the first three years of
operation, the department shall identify a methodology for
grant distribution based on the goals and obstacles
identified during the assessments under section 1407-C.
(f) Reporting information.--The department shall annually
report the geographic distribution of grants provided under the
program.
Section 1410-C. Evidence-based mental health screening tools.
(a) Development.--
(1) In conjunction with the National Center for School
Mental Health and the Mental Health Technology and Transfer
Center , the department shall recommend or develop evidence-
based trauma-informed mental health screening tools necessary
to assess the mental health and well-being of students.
(2) The department may work with school entities to
tailor screening tools to the population of the school
entities.
(b) Components.--The s creening tools under subsection (a)(2)
shall include measures that assess a student's mental health
symptoms and measures that consider social determinants of
health and indicators of academic success, well-being and
distress. The tools indicated by the department shall have the
capability of assessing whether a student is experiencing or is
at risk of experiencing social, emotional and behavioral
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difficulties. This may include a student's:
(1) Community integration or isolation with factors such
as:
(i) The number of close friends in which the student
feels the ability to confide.
(ii) The number of adults that the student feels the
ability to approach for help.
(iii) Whether the student feels safe in the school
entity environment.
(iv) The number of people with whom the student
feels the ability to discuss hobbies or interests.
(2) Health and well-being in relation to the mental
health of the student, such as:
(i) The average number of hours of sleep per night.
(ii) The average number of hours per day spent on
social media.
(iii) Whether the student has ever had episodes of
depersonalization or bodily dissociation.
(iv) The number of times that the student has
thought about self-harm in the last month.
(v) How often the student feels anxious, has low
moods or has another emotional symptom of a mental health
disorder.
(3) Subjective experience of mood consistent with
experiencing mental health symptoms related to:
(i) D epression.
(ii) Anxiety.
(iii) Disruptive behavior indicative of a mental
health condition.
(iv) Trauma exposure and behaviors.
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Section 1411-C. Information sharing.
(a) By department.--The department shall share guidance,
best practices and program experience with participating and
nonparticipating school entities at the conclusion of the first
full school year in which the program is implemented.
(b) Forms.--The department shall develop forms necessary for
school entities to comply with reporting responsibilities under
section 1413-C.
(c) By Department of Human Services.--In consultation with
the department, the Department of Human Services shall provide
materials to each participating school entity that:
(1) At a minimum explain the following:
(i) The importance of early diagnosis and
intervention for student mental health and common
challenges for students with undiagnosed or untreated
mental health disorders.
(ii) Related Federal and State privacy protections
and parental rights in relation to the health
requirements of school-age children.
(2) Are made available to school entities in print
format and posted on the publicly accessible Internet
websites of the department and the Department of Human
Services.
Section 1412-C. Opting out of mental health screening.
(a) Form.--The department shall develop a form for t he
parent or guardian of a school-age student who i s subject to the
mental health screening under the program to opt out of the
mental health screening.
(b) Decision.--Each participating school entity shall
provide sufficient time, which shall not be fewer than 30 days,
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for the parent or guardian of each school-age student who is
subject to the mental health screening under the program to
inform the participating school entity of the decision to opt
out of the mental health screening, using the form developed by
the department under subsection (a).
(c) Procedures.--If the parent or guardian of a student opts
out of the mental health screening under the program, the
student shall be excused from participation in the program,
including mental health screenings under the program. The
following apply:
(1) The participating school entity shall keep a record
in the student's comprehensive medical record that the
student is not to take part in the mental health screening.
(2) The participating school entity may choose to notify
the parent or guardian that the student may participate in
future mental health screenings, but the notification may not
occur more than once each year.
Section 1413-C. Duties of participating school entities.
(a) Information to be reported.--A school entity that is
selected by the department for participation in the program and
that implements the program shall annually report by the end of
the school year in which a screening under this program was
administered to the department the following:
(1) Compliance with the criteria of the program.
(2) The total number of students who have been screened
through the e vidence-based mental health screening tools
under section 1410-C.
(b) Mental health screening.--
(1) Each school-age student shall receive a mental
health screening no later than the student's entrance into
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sixth grade and thereafter annually through grade twelve.
(2) The comprehensive health record for each school-age
student shall include written confirmation that the mental
health screening was completed for each year that the student
completes a screening.
(3) Schools shall develop a confidential method of
recording data that indicates students who have been elevated
for additional support without retaining the screening
results as part of the student's comprehensive record.
(c) Notification.--The following apply to notice to the
parent or guardian of each school-age student who is subject to
the mental health screening under the program:
(1) Within three months of the beginning of the school
year in each year that a school entity participates in the
program, the participating school entity shall send written
notice to the parent or guardian of the mental health
screening.
(2) The notice shall include:
(i) The purpose of the mental health screening.
(ii) The position title of the staff member or
vendor conducting the mental health screening.
(iii) The date and time that the mental health
screening is scheduled.
(iv) A statement that the parent or guardian will be
notified following the mental health screening if
additional resources or service referrals are necessary
to address a student's mental health concern.
(v) A statement that the parent or guardian has the
right to opt the student out of participation in the
mental health screening, along with information on how
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the parent or guardian may opt out, in accordance with
section 1412-C.
(vi) Any other information as required by the
department.
(d) Posting.-- Each participating school entity shall post
the following on the publicly accessible Internet website of the
participating school entity:
(1) The mental health screening information,
questionnaire and other documents provided to students for
the purpose of conducting the mental health screening.
(2) The opt-out form developed under section 1412-C(a).
(3) Policies and procedures related to performing the
mental health screening.
(4) Any other materials related to the mental health
screening as determined by the department or the
participating school entity.
Section 1414-C. Procedures following mental health screening.
(a) Review.--A participating school entity shall ensure
that:
(1) Except as provided under paragraph (2), the
participating school entity or selected vendor that conducted
a mental health screening reviews the mental health screening
to determine whether the student has been indicated for
additional mental health services, support or referrals
within 24 hours after the student completes the mental health
screening under the program.
(2) If questions related to self-harm or suicidality are
asked during the mental health screening, each participating
school entity or its selected vendor determines which
students have been indicated for additional mental health
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services, support or referrals immediately.
(b) Imminent risk.--If, after the review of the mental
health screening of a student, the staff of the participating
school entity or selected vendor that conducted the mental
health screening believes that the student is at imminent risk
of attempting suicide, physical self-harm or harming others, or
is in need of the immediate attention of a health care or mental
health professional, the staff of the participating school
entity or selected vendor shall immediately notify the parent or
guardian of the student and the administration of the
participating school entity. After receiving the notification,
the participating school entity shall notify its security
coordinator and school psychologist who shall follow the
indicated crisis response policy.
(c) Referral.--If, after the review of the mental health
screening of a student, the staff of the participating school
entity or selected vendor that conducted the mental health
screening believes that the student has a mental health concern
and is in need of additional mental health services, the staff
of the participating school entity or selected vendor shall
notify the parent or guardian of the student within 48 hours
after the student completes the mental health screening and
provide the parent or guardian of the student with information
on the behavioral health resources and services available
through the school entity, municipality or other organization
assessed during consultations with the department under section
1407-C. The information shall include information on how to
refer to the school entity's Student Assistance Program.
(d) Ongoing care and interventions.--Each participating
school entity shall coordinate ongoing care and interventions,
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such as in school counseling, IEP services or school mental
health and behavioral health programs, with any referred
services arising from the program. If additional follow-up is
needed for students who have an IEP, coordination should include
the IEP case manager.
Section 1415-C. Student privacy.
(a) Privacy standards.--Each participating school entity
shall ensure that individually identifiable information
collected for, during or after the mental health screening
process is subject to the privacy standards in accordance with
Federal and State privacy laws.
(b) Disclosure prohibited.--The staff of a participating
school entity or selected vendor, or any person involved in the
mental health screening process or with access to records or
information involving the mental health screening process, may
not disclose records or information regarding the mental health
screening process, without the written consent of the student or
the parent or guardian of the student, e xcept as otherwise
provided by law.
Section 1416-C. Reports regarding mental health screening
results.
(a) Requirement.--The department shall issue an annual
report by September 1 after the school year in which a screening
under this program was administered of the total number of
students in each county who have been screened.
(b) Confidentiality.--Reports under this section shall not
include any student identification information and may make
amalgamate county data if necessary to guarantee student
anonymity.
(c) Posting.--The department shall annually post each report
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under this section on the publicly accessible Internet website
of the department.
(d) Submittal.--The department shall submit copies of each
report under this section to:
(1) The Governor.
(2) The secretary.
(3) The President pro tempore of the Senate.
(4) The Speaker of the House of Representatives.
(5) The Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the
Senate.
(6) The Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the House
of Representatives.
Section 1417-C. Other schools.
(a) Participation.--A school in this Commonwealth that is
not a school entity may petition the department to participate
in the program. The following apply:
(1) The requirements under this article to become a
participating school entity shall apply to the school seeking
to participate in the program.
(2) If selected to participate in the program, the
school shall be considered a participating school entity for
the purposes of this article and shall have the same rights
and duties as other participating school entities, including
access to financial and technical grants as described in
section 1409-C.
(b) Opt out.--A school in this Commonwealth that is not a
school entity but is participating in the program may opt out of
participating in the program. The school shall:
(1) Inform the department in writing of the decision to
no longer participate in the program no later than the May 1
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prior to the ensuing school year.
(2) Either of the following:
(i) Post notice of the decision not to participate
in the program in future school years on the publicly
accessible Internet website of the school.
(ii) Directly notify all impacted students and their
parents or guardians.
Section 1418-C. Mental health screening for other students.
(a) Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be
construed to prohibit a participating school entity from
providing mental health screening to any student in kindergarten
through the fifth grade within the participating school entity.
(b) Funding and materials.--A participating school entity
may use program funding or materials to include any student who
is not in grades six through twelve.
Section 1419-C. Liability.
Nothing in this article shall be construed to create,
establish or expand civil or criminal liability on the part of a
school entity or school employee.
Section 1420-C. Rules and regulations.
The department shall adopt or promulgate any necessary rules
and regulations to implement, administer and enforce the
provisions of this article.
Section 1421-C. Appropriations.
The following amounts are appropriated from the General Fund
to the department for the program:
(1) Upon the effective date of this paragraph, for the
implementation of the program, $10,000,000.
(2) No later than January 1, 2025, for the
administration of the program during the 2025-2026 school
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year, $15,000,000.
(3) No later than January 1, 2026, for the
administration of the program during the 2026-2027 school
year, $20,000,000.
Section 2. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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