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.)