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Mental Hlth Professional Disclosure School Safety

Concerning an exception to the prohibition against disclosing confidential communications with a mental health professional when school safety is at risk.
2016 Regular Session
Civil Law
Education & School Finance (Pre & K-12)
Health Care & Health Insurance
Higher Education
Bill Summary

Except under limited circumstances, current law prohibits a licensed, registered, or certified mental health professional from disclosing, without the client's consent, confidential communications made by, or advice given to, the client in the course of the professional relationship.

The act grants an exception to the prohibition against disclosure when the mental health professional's client either:
  • Makes an articulable and significant threat against a school or its occupants; or
  • Exhibits behavior that, in the mental health professional's reasonable judgment, creates an articulable and significant threat to the health or safety of students, teachers, administrators, or other school personnel.

The mental health professional must:

  • Limit the disclosure to appropriate school or school district personnel and law enforcement agencies; and
  • Maintain confidentiality of the disclosed information consistent with the requirements of the federal 'Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act' (FERPA), but may disclose information in accordance with FERPA in order to protect the health or safety of students or others.

A mental health professional is not liable for disclosing or failing to disclose a confidential communication, except to the extent the mental health professional has a duty under current law to warn and protect.

The act defines 'school' to include any public or private preschool, elementary, middle, junior high, or high school, or higher education institution.

The department of human services is required to apply to the secretary of the United States department of health and human services for an exception to the privacy rule under the federal 'Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996', and the exception to the prohibition against disclosure of confidential communications is contingent on federal approval of the requested exception.

(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)


Became Law


Bill Text

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details