Senator† TROY SINGLETON
District 7 (Burlington)
Senator† M. TERESA RUIZ
District 29 (Essex)
†††† Requires public schools to administer written screenings for depression for students in certain grades.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
†††† As introduced.
An Act concerning student mental health and supplementing chapter 40 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.
†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
†††† 1.††† a.†††† A board of education shall ensure that each student in grades seven through 12 annually receives a health screening for depression.† The screening shall be administered by a school physician or school nurse and shall consist of a written self-report tool containing a range of questions for students to complete.† The Commissioner of Health shall select the screening tool to be utilized by each school district.† The screenings shall be conducted in a manner that ensures the privacy of the student during the screening process and the confidentiality of the results. The Department of Education and the Department of Health shall jointly establish standards on the procedures to be implemented to conduct the screenings.
†††† b.††† A board of education shall notify the parent or guardian of a student whose screening for depression detects a suspected deviation from the recommended standard.† The board shall inform the parent or guardian that the screening is not a diagnosis and shall encourage the parent or guardian to share the results of the screening with the studentís primary care physician.
†††† c.†††† A student shall be exempt from the depression screening upon the written request of his parent or guardian.
†††† 2.††† The State Board of Education, in consultation with the Commissioner of Health, shall promulgate regulations pursuant to the ďAdministrative Procedure Act,Ē P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), necessary to effectuate the provisions of this act.
†††† 3.††† This act shall take effect in the first full school year following the date of enactment.
†††† This bill requires a board of education to ensure that students in grades seven through 12 annually receive a health screening for depression. The screening will be administered by the school physician or school nurse and will consist of a written self-report questionnaire to be selected by the Commissioner of Health.† Under the bill, the Department of Education and the Department of Health will jointly establish standards on the procedures to be implemented to conduct the screenings.† The screenings must be conducted in a manner that ensures the privacy of the student and the confidentiality of the results.† The bill requires a board of education to notify the parent or guardian of a student whose screening for depression detects a suspected deviation from the recommended standard and to encourage the parent or guardian to share the results of the screening with the studentís primary care physician. A student may be exempt from the depression screening upon written request of the studentís parent or guardian.
†††† In March 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics published updated guidelines on adolescent depression, which recommend that adolescents ages 12 and older should be screened annually for depression using a formal self-report screening tool.