Wisconsin Laws Addressing Youth Suicide Prevention and Intervention
There are a variety of laws that pertain to youth suicide prevention. One law requires schools to educate students about suicide prevention using health curriculum. A different state law insulates all public and private school district employees and volunteers from civil liability for their acts and omissions when trying to intervene in a student’s suicide. The legislature found it so important that adults take action when a student is suicidal, that they insulated those adults from civil liability for their efforts with suicidal students. Staff members and volunteers should feel safe in doing their best to identify and help suicidal students.
- Download a fact sheet on laws pertaining to suicide prevention:
Wisconsin Statutes and Administrative Rules Related to School-Based Suicide Prevention
Required Notice of Youth Suicide Prevention Resources
In the spring of 2008, a new Wisconsin law governing school-based youth suicide prevention was passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Doyle. Wisconsin statute, s. 115.365, Assistance to schools for suicide prevention programs, requires that, "Each school board and the governing body of each private school annually shall inform their professional staff of the resources available from the department and other sources regarding suicide prevention." It also requires the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to create a model notice of suicide prevention resources and services available in the state. We encourage districts to use this model notice with all staff members; anyone who has a relationship with a student should be able to recognize suicide warning signs and know how to respond. There are a variety of changes districts can easily make to customize this model notice, including the addition of any local resources. Consider providing information about local mental health providers, county mental health boards and available crisis services, and local chapters of the organizations already listed. None of the material is covered by copyright; districts are free to put the notice on district letterhead and to make copies or forward it electronically to anyone.