House Education Committee Approves Public School Behavioral Health Improvements

Committee approves bills to  allow behavioral analysts in public schools and excuse absences for behavioral health issues

DENVER, CO– The House Committee on Education today considered a pair of bills, sponsored by Representatives Meg Froelich, Dafna Michaelson Jenet, and Lisa Cutter, to address behavioral health in public schools and support students with behavioral health issues. 

HB20-1058, sponsored by Rep. Froelich, would require local school boards and other education service providers to adopt a policy that will allow behavior health analysts to  provide medically necessary services to students in public schools by July, 2021. 

“Parents have long advocated for policies that allow their children to get the necessary behavioral services they need in public schools,” said Rep. Meg Froelich, D-Englewood. “This bill gives parents a path forward and aims to improve educational and behavioral health outcomes for all of Colorado’s students.”

SB20-014, Sponsored by Reps. Michaelson Jenet and Cutter, would require schools to excuse absences for behavioral health concerns in their attendance policies. This bill came out of the School Safety Interim Committee and already passed the Senate unanimously. 

“Faced with a mental health crisis, we need to finally acknowledge that behavioral health concerns can be just as serious as physical health concerns,” said Rep. Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City. “Ensuring that public schools allow excused behavioral health absences is an important step forward.”

“With Colorado’s youth suicide rate soaring, we need to explore every option available to get our kids the behavioral health support they need,” said Rep. Lisa Cutter, D-Jefferson County. “Allowing Colorado’s students to take the time off they need to seek care for or heal from behavioral health issues will help destigmatize mental health and move us forward.”

###