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Clark family keeps up fight

Teen’s suicide fuels push for legislation over school special education resources

The Clark family continues to pursue getting a law passed that would change the school suspension process for students with mental illness following the suicide of Jerry Clark.

The Clark family continues to pursue getting a law passed that would change the school suspension process for students with mental illness following the suicide of Jerry Clark.

— The information provided would include contact details for the chairperson of the school district’s Committee on Special Education or another committee member in charge of referrals. As the bill is written, the law would become effective July 1. Mary Clark lobbied for the bill last year, but it didn’t make it to the floor. She’s hoping for better results in the 2013 session, which wraps up in June.

Clark claims she and other family members were not aware they could have gone to the committee for an evaluation of her grandson.

Voorheesville Central School District Superintendent Teresa Snyder previously said the family’s claim about not being provided information is not accurate.

“Their information was not correct. People are made aware. That particular family, they were aware,” Snyder told The Spotlight last year.

Clark was pleased to see the district place information on its website about the Committee on Special Education and she has since joined the school’s task force focusing on mental health issues. She believes schools in general are also more aware of mental health issues facing students.

“If we can help another family, even one … the students deserve it,” Clark said. “They are our future.”

To learn about the legislation and the life of Jerry Clark visit jerryslaw.org.

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