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Mental Health Survey Stalls School Safety Bill

Negotiators seek balance between addressing mental health issues, recognizing parental rights

(INDIANAPOLIS) - A school safety bill is going down to the wire at the statehouse as legislators try to address concerns about parental rights.

The House passed a bill 96-2 encouraging schools to administer a Centers for Disease Control survey on drug and alcohol use, sexual orientation, and violent behaviors -- asking students if they've ever been cyberbullied or brought a weapon to school. The Senate deleted that provision, and instead voted to require written parental consent for any mental health treatment or screening.

Senate President Pro Tem Rod Bray (R-Martinsville) says negotiators are looking for the "sweet spot" that balances both interests. House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says he'd like to see mental health addressed in the bill, but says there are valid concerns about parental rights as well. While the bill faced no opposition in the House, Bosma says bills' full import isn't always clear from the beginning.

Indiana is one of seven states with only limited participation in the CDC report. Four states don't do it at all.

(Photo: lenzjona/Getty Images)

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