The Bayou State will implement the SAVE Students Act for the 2023-24 school year
In the ever-changing landscape of public education, some things never change. Giving students the tools they need to create a safe and inclusive environment is one of these things. As young people continue to face challenges to their safety, mental health, and well-being, providing these solutions has become even more important. With support from our local Promise Leaders, our policy team recently helped Louisiana pass the SAVE Students Act. This lifesaving new law will empower students to take full advantage of training that will help in school and after graduation.
Louisiana Students Will Benefit Greatly from the SAVE Students Act
The SAVE Students Act requires that public elementary and secondary students receive grade-appropriate evidence-based training on two topics:
1) Suicide Prevention and Student Safety and
2) Violence and Social Isolation Prevention.
This means students will annually receive at least one hour or one class period of training. The trainings include how to identify warning signs in classmates who may be at risk of harming themselves or others. They’ll also learn about taking these threats seriously and where to turn to for help.
This comprehensive set of trainings give students the tools to understand when someone might need help and how to find that help. Combined with teaching skills in how to identify social isolation and its importance, students learn how to create a more socially inclusive classroom and community.
SAVE Students Act Goes Beyond Trainings to Create Change
Students also can create sustainable, year-round change in their school. Many join student-led clubs focusing on student safety and preventing suicide, violence and social isolation.
The SAVE Students Act encourages schools to offer student-led clubs open to all students with a school employee The SAVE Students Act encourages schools to offer student-led clubs open to all students with a school employee serving as advisor. Youth leadership is key to creating a safe school environment. Student-led clubs can foster youth leadership. They also help create an enduring culture that promotes student safety and social inclusion. In other words, youth-led clubs can sustain the teachings of a training beyond the classroom. Many existing school-based clubs would meet the recommendations of the SAVE Students Act.
Schools Are Not Alone in Implementing Trainings
The Louisiana Department of Education will assist schools by maintaining a list of organizations that provide evidence-based training including no-cost options. The list will give schools a good starting point for identifying a training provider that best fits their needs.
Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is one of these providers. We offer training to schools at no-cost. These trainings also satisfy the requirements of the SAVE Students Act. To date, SHP has had 18M+ nationwide participants in our Know the Signs trainings. Additionally, SHP empowers students through SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere) Promise Clubs. These clubs satisfy the student-led club section of the SAVE Students Act. Currently, there are 4,000+ SAVE Promise Clubs across 49 states.
Thank You Rep. Schlegel and the Louisiana State Legislature
The SAVE Students Act received tremendous support in the Louisiana State Legislature. The effort to pass the legislation was led by Rep. Laurie Schlegel (R, D-82). As the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Schlegel helped guide the legislation to unanimous vote in the House and Senate. Rep. Schlegel helped secure nearly 50 co-sponsors in the Senate.
Louisiana joins Ohio in a growing number of states passing SAVE and creating a safer, more inclusive environment for students to learn in. For a summary of the SAVE Students Act and what it means for Louisiana, visit the Ohio Department of Education.
Bring Model School Safety Legislation to Your State
Our model legislation is also known as the Safety and Violence Education for Students Act (SAVE Students Act). It focuses on social inclusion, suicide and violence prevention, student leadership, and anonymous reporting systems.