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 interventions. This policy is meant to augment other District policies supporting the emotional and behavioral health of students.
The Superintendent or designee may involve school nurses, school counselors, elementary resource counselors, mental health specialists, 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.
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 field trips or activities where school staff are present.
Prevention and Instruction
Suicide prevention strategies include efforts to promote a positive school climate and 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.
Suicide prevention and intervention training shall be provided to teachers, counselors, and other District employees who interact with students at the elementary and secondary levels. 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 counseling staff/school psychologist/licensed staff and/or in cooperation with one or more community mental health agencies and may include the following information:
- Identifying risk factors with an emphasis on high risk groups including but not limited to: LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual) homeless and foster youth
- Warning signs that may indicate suicidal intentions
- Research-based instructional strategies for promoting mental and emotional health
- School and community resources and services
- District procedures for immediate referral and/or intervention when a student attempts, threatens, or discloses the desire to commit suicide
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 immediately notify a school mental health professional. The school mental health professional shall follow the suicide screener/assessment procedures to assess for risk and facilitate referral to mental health resources in the school or community. If there is no District counseling staff/school psychologist/licensed staff available, a school nurse or administrator will fill this role until a mental health professional can be brought in. Contact parents/guardians/caregivers as soon as possible.
Students shall be informed of support staff on campus and encouraged to notify a teacher, principal, counselor, mental health staff, school psychologist 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 Response Protocols” include established crisis response procedures to assist school teams following a death by suicide. The action plan includes the following steps:
- Verify the death
- Assess the situation
- Share information
- Avoid suicide contagion
- 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.
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
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
Policy Revised: April 19, 2022
(Per AB2639 Suicide Prevention policies must be updated every 5 years)