Vista USD | BP 5141.52 Students
The Board of Education recognizes that suicide is a major cause of death among youth and should be taken seriously. In order to attempt to reduce suicidal behavior and its impact on students and families, the Superintendent or designee shall develop preventative strategies and intervention procedures.
The Superintendent or designee may involve school health professionals, school counselors, 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.
Prevention and Instruction
Suicide prevention strategies may include, but not be limited to, efforts to promote a positive school climate that enhances students' feelings of connectedness with the school and is characterized by caring staff and harmonious interrelationships among students.
The district's comprehensive health education program shall promote the healthy mental, emotional, and social development of students including, but not limited to, the development of problem-solving skills, coping skills, and self-esteem. Suicide prevention instruction shall be incorporated into the health education curriculum in the secondary grades. Such instruction shall be aligned with state content standards and shall be designed to help students analyze signs of depressions and self-destructive behaviors, including potential suicide, and to identify suicide prevention strategies.
The Superintendent or designee may offer parents/guardians education or information which describes the severity of the youth suicide problem, the district's suicide prevention curriculum, risk factors and warning signs of suicide, basic steps for helping suicidal youth, and/or school and community resources that can help youth in crisis.
Suicide prevention training for staff shall be designed to help staff identify and respond to students at risk of suicide. The training shall be offered under the direction of a district counselor/psychologist and/or in cooperation with one or more community mental health agencies and may include information on:
1. Research identifying risk factors, such as previous suicide attempt(s), history of depression or mental illness, substance abuse problems, family history of suicide or violence, feelings of isolation, interpersonal conflicts, a recent severe stressor or loss, family instability, and other factors.
2. Warning signs that may indicate suicidal intentions, including changes in students' appearance, personality or behavior.
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 intervening when a student attempts, threatens, or discloses the desire to commit suicide.
Whenever a staff member suspects or had knowledge of a student's suicidal intentions, he/she shall promptly notify the principal or school counselor. The principal or counselor shall then notify the student's parents/guardians as soon as possible and may refer the student to mental health resources in the school or community.
Students shall be encouraged to notify a teacher, principal, counselor, or other adult when they are experiencing thoughts of suicide or when they suspect or have knowledge of another student's suicidal intentions.
Whenever schools establish a peer counseling system to provide support for students, peer counselors shall complete the suicide prevention curriculum, including identification of the warning signs of suicidal behavior and referral of a suicidal student to appropriate adults.
The Superintendent or designee shall establish crisis intervention procedures to ensure student safety and appropriate communications in the event that a suicide occurs or an attempt is made on campus or at a school-sponsored activity.
49602 Confidentiality of student information
49604 Suicide prevention training for school counselors
WELFARE AND INSTITUTIONS CODE
5698 Emotionally disturbed youth; legislative intent
Corales v. Bennett (Ontario-Montclair School District), (2009) 567 F.3d 554
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION PUBLICATIONS
Health Education Content Standards for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve, 2008
Youth Suicide-Prevention Guidelines for California Schools, 2005
Health Framework for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve, 2003
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH PUBLICATIONS
California Strategic Plan for Suicide Prevention: Every Californian is Part of the Solution, 2008
CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION PUBLICATIONS
School Connectedness: Strategies for Increasing Protective Factors Among Youth, 2009
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES PUBLICATIONS
National Strategy for Suicide Prevention: Goals and Objectives for Action, 2001
American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org
California Department of Education, Mental Health: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/cg/mh
California Department of Mental Health, Children and Youth Programs: http://www.dmh.ca.gov/Services_and_Programs/Children_and_Youth
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mental Health: http://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth
National Institute for Mental Health: http://www.nimh.nih.gov
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: http://www.samhsa.gov
Policy VISTA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
adopted: November 20, 2014 Vista, California