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Wisconsin student ID cards now required to feature suicide prevention hotlines

Public schools and universities in the state of Wisconsin now have an official date that they will be required to issue student IDs featuring suicide prevention hotline numbers. The student ID card measure, which has been in process for some time, was made final this week after Governor Tony Evers signed the bill into law.

According to the official bill transcript, the mandate takes full effect July 1, 2020 and applies to any institution of higher education in the state that issues ID cards to students.

A report from The Badger Herald suggests that the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Wiscard will take the bill a step beyond just suicide prevention by also including contact info for the Rape Crisis Center and UWPD. The University of Wisconsin-Madison is expected to have updated card designs ready for the new WisCards by March 15. State legislature has set a deadline of June 2020 for the rest of the schools in the state.

As laid out in the bill, institutions “shall include on each identification card issued to a student the telephone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or one of its affiliate crisis centers or, if the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ceases operations, another national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to individuals in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.”

Universities in Wisconsin also have the option to include on their campus card any of the following information:

  1. A statement that the text-based emotional support service of the Crisis Text Line may be accessed by texting HOPELINE to 741741.
  2. Instructions for contacting a text-based state or national organization that provides free support to individuals in crisis 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
  3. The telephone number for a local suicide prevention hotline, which can be either printed on the student identification cards, or affixed to cards via a sticker that contains the information.

With regards to any potential recarding efforts, the bill does state that any university that “has a supply of unissued identification cards that do not comply with the requirements may continue issuing cards from the supply until the supply is depleted.”

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