Poteau Daily News
Addressing student mental health needs
Last week, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill that I carried in the House to better address the mental health needs of our students. This makes three of my bills this session that have made it through both legislative chambers and were finalized by the Stitt’s signature.
Senate Bill 626, which I worked on with Sen. David Bullard of Durant, allows a student’s parent or guardian to disclose if their child has received inpatient or emergency outpatient mental health services from a mental health facility in the last 24 months.
If this information is disclosed, certain school personnel will meet with the parents and staff from the mental health facility to determine if any special accommodations are needed for the student. All disclosures and subsequent handling of student personal health information or other related records must comply with the Family Educational
Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
This law allows teachers and special education directors to address the unique needs of students who have been in a mental health crisis. It helps provide a healthy environment for their success in the classroom.
This measure was strategically organized in both the House and Senate. As a teacher, counselor and psychologist, I saw many years ago that this law was needed. Schools may be completely unaware of any mental health concerns their students have experienced, but SB626 will give schools more flexibility to work with the student and their parents to meet the student’s needs. I know this bill will make a significant difference in students’ lives, and I have already heard from multiple teachers and schools praising the bill.
Over the years, I have sat in many meetings in our public schools to work on establishing Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) to help students like this succeed. However, it is impossible to write an IEP without knowing the needs of the students. I look forward to this law going into effect on July 1.
As session wraps up, the Legislature sent our budget proposal to Stitt on Friday.
He has until midnight Thursday to sign, veto or line-item veto the budget bills. This will give the Legislature time on Friday to override any vetoes he may have and adjourn sine die as outlined in our state constitution.
As always, please reach out with any questions or thoughts you would like to share. You may reach me by telephone at (405) 557-7375 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for the honor of serving House District 15!
Randleman, a Republican, serves District 15 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which covers Haskell County and portions of Muskogee, Sequoyah, LeFlore, Pittsburg and McIntosh counties.