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California law spurs reforms after suicide cluster

About 24 hours after a Clovis High School boy killed himself in early March, his cell phone buzzed. The incoming text was the latest in a conversation thread among the deceased boy and three teenage girls before he died. One of the girls, also from the Central Valley, was thinking of killing herself.

At the Fresno County coroner’s office, a deputy coroner discovered the text and launched a search for the girl that would reach into the records of the Clovis Unified School District, law enforcement cell phone tracking technology, a network of suicide prevention leaders and a school district in adjacent Tulare County. For Clovis Unified, stunned by the suicides of four high school boys this school year, a team approach to suicide prevention has brought relief and hope. Accelerating their work is a new state law that requires schools to have programs for grades 7 through 12 in suicide prevention, intervention and “postvention” by the start of the 2017-18 school year.

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