State law encourages districts to provide professional development for school personnel on youth mental health.
Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-3004. School term.
- (A) In-service days shall be used according to a plan recommended by the local director of schools in accordance with this section and other applicable statutes and adopted by the local board of education, a copy of which plan shall be filed with the commissioner of education on or before June 1 of the preceding school year and approved by the commissioner. The commissioner shall require that in-service training include the teaching of the components of the Juvenile Offender Act, compiled in title 55, chapter 10, part 7, to all teachers and principals in grades seven through twelve (7-12). The commissioner shall require that in-service training include at least two (2) hours of suicide prevention education for all teachers and principals each school year. This education may be accomplished through self-review of suitable suicide prevention materials. The commissioner shall also encourage the use of two (2) of the in-service training days to provide training to teachers, principals and other school personnel, and, to the extent possible, school board members, on issues of prevention and intervention strategies for students in the area of behavioral/emotional disorders. The training shall place an emphasis on understanding the warning signs of early-onset mental illness in children and adolescents and may be conducted by school counseling personnel, such as psychologists, social workers, guidance counselors or health faculty, by mental health clinicians or by approved personnel from mental health advocacy organizations using curricula approved by the departments of education and mental health and substance abuse services. In addition to other training and resources authorized by this chapter, the department of education shall, within available resources, collaborate with institutions of higher education to formally address dyslexia and similar reading disorders by providing kindergarten through twelfth grade (K-12) educators and teachers web-based or in-person training providing effective instruction for teaching students with dyslexia using appropriate scientific research and brain-based multisensory intervention methods and strategies.