The New Jersey Senate approved bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senators Jon Bramnick and Joseph Cryan that instructs school districts to teach students how to cope with grief and loss.
Sen. Bramnick with student Ava Quezada after the New Jersey Senate approved bipartisan legislation that instructs school districts to teach students how to cope with grief and loss. (SenateNJ.com)
“Grief is one of the hardest emotions to understand and manage as an adolescent,” said 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.”
Senator Bramnick worked with Imagine, a Center for Coping with Loss on this legislation (S-3330) to require public school districts to add instruction on grief for students in grades eight through twelve as part of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education.
Under the bill, the State Board of Education would adopt the new learning standards and require the Commissioner of Education to provide age-appropriate resources to public school districts. This includes information on mechanisms and techniques to use while dealing with the symptoms of grief. Public school districts would also be instructed to provide in-school support, mental health crisis support, and individual and group therapy for students.
The bill’s sponsors, Senator Jon Bramnick and Senator Joseph Cryan held a press conference in November with students and parents who support the bill.
“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.”