SUICIDE PREVENTION

BOARD POLICY - 5141.52

The Board of Education recognizes that mental health, including suicide prevention education, is a critical component of developing resilient and successful students. As part of districtwide efforts to reduce suicidal behavior and its impact on students and families, the Superintendent or designee shall develop preventive strategies and intervention procedures. Toward this end, this policy is meant to augment other District policies supporting the emotional and behavioral health of students more broadly.

The Superintendent or designee may involve school nurses, school counselors, school psychologists, administrators, other staff, parents/guardians, students, local health agencies and professionals, and community organizations in planning, implementing, and evaluating the District's strategies for suicide prevention and intervention.

Scope

This policy addresses actions that take place on school property during the school day, at school-sponsored functions and activities, on school vehicles, and at school-sponsored out of school events where school staff are present.

Prevention and Instruction

Suicide prevention strategies include efforts to promote a positive school climate enhancing students' feelings of connectedness with the school. This includes staff professional development on risk factors, warning signs, protective factors, response procedures, referrals and resources regarding youth suicide prevention and youth suicide prevention programming.

Staff Development

Suicide prevention and intervention training shall be provided to teachers, counselors, and other District employees who interact with students at the secondary level. They must act reasonably within the authorization and scope of their credential or license. Suicide prevention training for staff shall be designed to help staff identify, respond and/or refer students at risk of suicide. The training shall be offered under the direction of a District counselor/psychologist/licensed staff and/or in cooperation with one or more community mental health agencies and may include information on:

  1. Identifying risk factors with an emphasis on high risk groups including but not limited to: LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, intersex, questioning), homeless and foster youth
  2. Warning signs that may indicate suicidal intentions
  3. Research-based instructional strategies for teaching the suicide prevention curriculum and promoting mental and emotional health
  4. School and community resources and services
  5. District procedures for immediate referral and/or intervention when a student attempts, threatens, or discloses the desire to commit suicide.

Intervention

Whenever a staff member suspects or has knowledge of a student's suicidal intentions, he/she shall take reasonable steps to ensure student safety and then promptly notify a school mental health professional within the same school day. The school mental health professional shall follow the suicide assessment procedures to assess for risk and facilitate referral to mental health resources in the school or community. If there is no mental health professional available, a school nurse or administrator will fill this role until a mental health professional can be brought in.

Students shall be informed of support staff on campus and encouraged to notify a teacher, principal, counselor, mental health/wellness staff, or other adult when they are experiencing thoughts of suicide or when they suspect or have knowledge of another student's suicidal intentions.

The “Crisis Protocol Handbook” has established crisis intervention procedures to create a safe environment for students and appropriate communications if a suicide attempt is made by a student or adult on campus or at a school-sponsored activity.

Crisis Response

The “Crisis Protocol Handbook” has established crisis response procedures to assist school teams following a death by suicide. The action plan includes the following steps:

  1. Verify the death
  2. Assess the situation
  3. Share information
  4. Avoid suicide contagion
  5. Initiate support services.

The District Public Information Officer or designee will be the sole media spokesperson. Staff will refer all inquiries from the media directly to the spokesperson.

Legal Reference

EDUCATION CODE

215 Student suicide prevention policies

32280-32289 Comprehensive safety plan

49060-49079 Student records

49602 Confidentiality of student information

49604 Suicide prevention training for school counselors

GOVERNMENT CODE

810-996.6 Government Claims Act

PENAL CODE 11164-11174.3 Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act

WELFARE AND INSTITUTIONS CODE 5698 Emotionally disturbed youth; legislative intent 5850-5883 Mental Health Services Act

COURT DECISIONS Corales v. Bennett (Ontario-Montclair School District), (2009) 567 F.3d 554

 

Policy Adopted: June 27, 2017

(Per AB2639 Suicide Prevention policies must be updated every 5 years)

Administrative Regulation