State law encourages or requires districts to implement identification and referral processes to link students and families with needed resources.
Pennsylvania Unconsolidated Statutes 1949 Act 13. Section 1302-E. Threat assessment teams
(a) Duties of school entities and chief school administrators.— The following shall apply ... (3) A student assistance and behavioral health support assessment. The student assistance and behavioral health support assessment shall consist of an analysis of the school entity’s climate, including:
- (i) The availability of student assistance programs and behavioral health professionals to provide assistance to the school entity.
- (ii) A review of recommendations by behavioral and physical health professionals and consideration of their recommendations.
(1) Each school entity shall establish at least one team as provided under subsection (b) for the assessment of and intervention with students whose behavior may indicate a threat to the safety of the student, other students, school employees, school facilities, the community or others. ...
(c) Notification and referral.— Upon a preliminary determination that a student’s behavior may indicate a threat to the safety of the student, other students, school employees, school facilities, the community or others, the following shall apply: (1) The team shall immediately notify the chief school administrator or a designee, the student’s building principal and the school safety and security coordinator. The building principal or designee shall then immediately notify the student’s parent or guardian. (2) Following notification of the parent or guardian, the team may refer the student, as appropriate, to:
- (i) a student assistance program;
- (ii) a law enforcement agency;
- (iii) an evaluation under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (Public Law 91-230, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq.) or section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Public Law 93-112, 29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq.);
- (iv) a student’s existing individualized education program team established under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and 22 Pa. Code Ch. 14 (relating to special education services and programs); or
- (v) an existing team established to implement a student’s section 504 service agreement established under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and 22 Pa. Code Ch. 15 (relating to protected handicapped students). (3) A parent or guardian shall provide consent prior to a team referring a student to:
- (i) a behavioral service provider;
- (ii) a health care provider; or
- (iii) a county agency. (4) Nothing in this section shall:
- (i) Preclude school employees from acting immediately to address an imminent threat. Imminent threats and emergencies shall be promptly reported to a law enforcement agency.
- (ii) Limit the responsibilities of school employees or other mandated reporters to report suspected child abuse as required by law.
- (iii) Limit the authority of a school entity to refer a student to the student assistance program without referral by a team, so long as the student’s behavior does not indicate a threat to the safety of the student, other students, school employees, school facilities, the community or others.
Pennsylvania Unconsolidated Statutes 1949 Act 13. Section 1303-B. School safety and security assessment criteria
(a) Duty to establish. — No later than September 30, 2018, the committee shall establish criteria to be used when conducting school safety and security assessments that include the following: … (3) A student assistance and behavioral health support assessment. The student assistance and behavioral health support assessment shall consist of an analysis of the school entity’s climate, including: (i) The availability of student assistance programs and behavioral health professionals to provide assistance to the school entity. (ii) A review of recommendations by behavioral and physical health professionals and consideration of their recommendations.
Pennsylvania Unconsolidated Statutes 1949 Act 13. Section 1306-B. School safety and security grant program
(j) Specific purposes. — The committee shall provide grants to school entities for programs that address safety and security, including: … (14) Provision of specialized staff and student training programs, including training for Student Assistance Program team members in the referral of students at risk of violent behavior to appropriate community-based services and behavioral health services and training related to prevention and early intervention. ... (20) Administration of evidence-based screenings for adverse childhood experiences that are proven to be determinants of physical, social and behavioral health and provide trauma-informed counseling services as necessary to students based upon the screening results. ... (B) Developing collaborative efforts between the school entity and behavioral health professionals to identify students in need of trauma support and to provide prevention, screening, referral and treatment services to students potentially in need of services.
Pennsylvania Unconsolidated Statutes 1949 Act 14. Article XIII-A. Safe Schools. Section 1302-A. Office for Safe Schools.
a) There is hereby established in the Department of Education an Office for Safe Schools. (c) In addition to the powers and duties set forth under subsection (b), the office is authorized to make targeted grants to school entities, and to intermediate units on behalf of nonpublic schools, to fund programs which address school violence, including: ... (12) Provision of specialized staff and student training programs, including training for Student Assistance Program team members in elementary, middle and high schools in the referral of students at risk of violent behavior to appropriate community-based services, including mental health services.
Pennsylvania Unconsolidated Statutes 2014 Act 71. Section 1526. Youth Suicide Awareness and Prevention.
(c) The model policy developed by the department under subsection (b)(1) and any policy adopted by a school entity under subsection (a)(1) shall include the following:
- (1) A statement on youth suicide awareness and prevention.
- (2) Protocols for administering youth suicide awareness and prevention education to staff and students.
- (3) Methods of prevention, including procedures for early identification and referral of students at risk of suicide.
- (4) Methods of intervention, including procedures that address an emotional or mental health safety plan for students identified as being at increased risk of suicide.
- (5) Methods of responding to a student or staff suicide or suicide attempt.
The Pennsylvania Code § 12.41. Student services.
(b) Though the variety of student services offered will differ from school to school depending upon its size and the needs of its students, the following categories of services shall be provided by each school entity in planning its student services:
- (2) Diagnostic, intervention and referral services for students who are experiencing problems attaining educational achievement appropriate to their learning potential.
- (i) Student services staff use diagnostic services to identify barriers that limit a student's success in school. Intervention services actively engage student services staff in activities planned to reduce or eliminate specific barriers to student success.
- (ii) Student services staff may arrange for referrals to other school-based or school-linked professionals or may refer parents and guardians to appropriate community-based services for assistance.
- (3) Consultation and coordination services for students who are experiencing chronic problems that require multiple services by teams or specialists.
- (i) Consultation services are used by student services staff, in partnership with parents or guardians, to obtain assistance to address barriers and issues that are outside the scope of the student services professional.
- (ii) Consultation and coordination services may be used to assist in the diagnosis, intervention or referral of students who face barriers to success.
- (iii) Coordination services connect school resources with other available resources to assist students in meeting their educational objectives.
(c) Student services must:
- (1) Be an integral part of the instructional program at all levels of the school system.
- (2) Provide information to students and parents or guardians about educational opportunities of the school's instructional program and how to access these opportunities.
- (3) Provide career information and assessments so that students and parents or guardians might become aware of the world of work and of a variety of career options available to individual students.
- (4) Provide basic health services outlined in Article XIV of the Public School Code of 1949 (24 P.S. §§ 14-1401 -- 14-1423) for students and information to parents or guardians about the health needs of their children.
(d) When student assessments using individual surveys are administered, parents or guardians shall be informed of the nature and scope of the surveys and of their relationship to the educational program of their child, consistent with section 445 of the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C.A. § 1232h) regarding protection of pupil rights. Parents or guardians, or the student if the student is 18 years of age or older, shall have the right to refuse to participate in the survey by means of procedures established by the school entity.
(e) Persons delivering student services shall be specifically licensed or certified as required by Statuteor regulation.
(f) The Department will provide guidelines and technical assistance to local education agencies in planning student services.