Wilk’s ‘Saugus Strong Act’ advances out of state Senate

Politics and government

News release 

Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, announced the Senate has approved his “Saugus Strong Act,” aimed at addressing student mental health and school safety. 

“As we continue to shine a light on the mental health crisis in our society, it becomes abundantly clear that early intervention is critical to avoiding future instances of violence,” Wilk said in a prepared statement. “The 2019 Saugus High School shooting was a tragic consequence of serious unaddressed mental health issues. Perhaps if students had a safe way to report their concerns, violence and death could have been avoided.” 

The measure, Senate Bill 643, would require education agencies to create a system that would allow students, parents, or concerned community members to anonymously report potential threats or violence. 

Each public school would be required to prominently post on their website an anonymous tip line, which could be a phone hotline, website, email address, mobile application, or any combination of the four. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, emergency room visits for suicide attempts among adolescents jumped over 30% in 2020 compared to 2019. In school shooting incidents, 80% of perpetrators had previously notified others of their intentions, according to findings by the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education. 

SB 643 will next be considered in the Assembly. 

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