TRENTON – The Senate today approved legislation that would have New Jersey schools provide instruction on how to handle grief and loss.
The bipartisan bill, S-3330, sponsored by Senator Joe Cryan and Senator Jon Bramnick, would require school districts to provide instruction on grief for students in health classes in eighth through 12th grades.
“The youth mental health crisis is real and troubling,” said Senator Cryan (D-Union). “Their exposure to stress, loss and trauma has increased in recent years, making them more vulnerable to negative consequences that, in some cases, can be tragic. Making them aware of the impact of trauma, offering coping techniques, and informing them of other helpful resources can make a difference. Giving them the opportunity to express their grief is a real benefit.”
“Grief is one of the hardest emotions to understand and manage as an adolescent,” said Senator Bramnick (R-21). “Although grief and loss are difficult for any person to go through, we have the tools to teach kids healthy ways to cope and teachers who are eager to provide support. This legislation ensures that our high school students learn how to effectively manage the physical, emotional, and behavioral impacts of grief.”
Under the bill, the state Department of Education would be required to create and provide to school districts age-appropriate sample learning activities and resources for the schools to use in grief instruction. Schools would teach the students how to recognize physical, emotional and behavioral symptoms of grief, and inform them about coping mechanisms, in-school support, available therapy and other resources.
The Senate vote was 36-0.