SUICIDE PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION
The following guidelines, addressing suicide intervention and prevention, represent district efforts to provide immediate support for a student in crisis.
When a staff member in the Litchfield Public School System is confronted with a situation in which a student expresses suicidal thoughts, or it appears that an attempt at suicide is possible, the following actions will take place:
1. The staff member will immediately refer the student to a member of the School Intervention Team (S.I.T.) who will notify a school administrator or designee as soon as possible.
2. In the event the staff member perceives that a student has taken action which creates a medical emergency, the school nurse or designee will be notified immediately and emergency medical procedures will be followed.
3. The counselor and/or another member of the School Intervention Team will meet with the student immediately for the purpose of establishing sequential facts or events leading to the crisis. At no time during this process is the student to be left alone.
4. The building administrator or other member of the school intervention team will coordinate the intervention process.
5. If the student is found to be at-risk immediate contact will be made with a parent or guardian and contact will be made the same day. Parents will be notified of the referral and of all conclusions reached. Follow-up contact with the student and the parents or guardians will be maintained until such time as the situation has stabilized. Documentation of all contacts with the student and the parent/guardian will be kept. The S.I.T. member will coordinate follow-up and documentation.
6. The parent or guardian will be advised of the team's concerns and encouraged to seek immediate mental health intervention. Community resources will be identified and suggestions to parents will be provided.
7. If determined to be at-risk, the student would not be allowed to go home alone. The student must be released only to a parent, guardian, or other responsible adult.
8. If reasonable attempts to reach the parent, guardian, or other responsible adult in whose custody the student may be released are not successful the case will be treated as a medical emergency and arrangements will be made to transport the student to an area hospital emergency room or mental health facility.
9. If the student requires medical attention he/she will be transported immediately to an area hospital by emergency transportation and accompanied by a designated staff member. Parents will be informed to meet the student at the hospital
10. An intervention report will be made by a designated S.I.T. member and kept in the cumulative health file.
Failure on the part on the family to provide for the safety of the student at-risk will be reported to the Department of Children and Families. These laws require that mandated reporters must report to DCF when they have reasonable cause to suspect or believe that a child is being neglected, abused, or placed in imminent risk of serious harm.
The designated S.I.T. member will maintain contact with the student's mental health professionals.
Management of Suicide in the Schools
If a suicide of a staff member or student occurs the Superintendent of Schools shall be notified immediately.
A. All requests for information will be directed to the building principal.
B. The building principal will assemble administrative staff to plan and implement an action plan. The Director of Special Services will participate in this meeting and coordinate resources if necessary.
2. Action Plan
A. Assemble staff prior to the opening of school to provide accurate information and to present the plans for the school day. The building principal will try to anticipate sensitive situations and inform all staff, permanent and itinerant accordingly.
B. The S.I.T. meeting will be called in order to assist the staff and students in dealing with the general school situation and any individual problems which may arise. Members of the team will assist the building staff in developing and implementing the action plan within the building.
C.The S.I.T. should identify those students who have the greatest potential for adverse reaction to this incident and interview them to assess their needs. The team should implement a monitoring plan for those students, if needed.
D.The action plan should include provisions for group discussions as well as individual sessions with students and staff.
3. Following a suicide, the atmosphere in school can be a critical factor in preventing additional suicides. Some students will be affected more than others, and the impact might surface in different ways. Students should be allowed to discuss their feelings of loss without embarrassment but should not be forced to participate in such discussions. Any discussions of a suicide should be tailored to the age, maturity and needs of theses student(s) involved.
Litchfield Board of Education
Regulation adopted: March 8, 2006