Suicide Awareness and Prevention
Staff members shall be made aware of their responsibilities in the event of a potential or imminent suicide incident. Staff is expected to follow the procedures as specified. Three steps are vital in a suicide prevention program:
- ensuring the short-term physical safety of the student;
- communicating with appropriate school personnel, parents/guardians, and local support personnel and establishing an interim plan of action; and
- referring to appropriate professional or agency and implementing a long-term plan of action.
The following procedures are intended to serve these purposes.
Crisis Intervention Team
A Crisis Intervention Team shall be established in each of the secondary schools. Members shall be staff adults employed in that building who volunteer for the additional responsibility. All members of the team shall receive appropriate training at district expense.
Potential Suicide--No Physical Evidence
Any staff member who receives or discovers information about a potential suicide (notes, threats, conversations, etc.) will immediately notify the principal or designee.
Suicidal Ideation (Verbal threat or communication of possible suicidal intent--Having thoughts of killing oneself).
- Any suggestion, demonstration, or communication of an intention to commit suicide must be taken seriously.
- Such behavior shall be reported to the principal, counselor, and/or a member of the Crisis Intervention Team. The situation will be evaluated by this team through contacts with the student, parents, and other staff.
- The principal or designee shall be apprised of the situation and of the plan for monitoring the student's behavior.
- Confidentiality is not applicable when the student threatens himself (or others). In such circumstances, no matter what guarantees of privacy have been given the student, the information must be discussed with the appropriate staff. The Crisis Intervention Team will notify the parent. Referral to an outside agency or private professional shall be made in cooperation with the parents. If the Crisis Intervention Team deems the student seriously in need of professional intervention, and the parent refuses to cooperate, appropriate agencies shall be contacted by the school administration and/or the Crisis Intervention Team to intervene on the student's behalf.
- By law (WAC 275-54-030), any student, age 13 or above, may request treatment regardless of parental permission.
- The school administration is responsible to monitor the student's functioning in school until a positive adjustment is evident.
Physical Evidence of Attempted Suicide
Any staff member who discovers or is informed of physical evidence relating to an attempted suicide (drug overdose, self-mutilation, etc.) will take the student to the nurse's office; inform the nurse, leave the student in care of the nurse or other appropriate adult; and, immediately inform the principal or designee.
Actual Attempt of Suicide
The following actions shall be taken:
- Call for emergency medical assistance if there is any question that a life-threatening situation is involved.
- Contact the parent or guardian and advise them of the situation and what actions are being taken.
- Notify Emergency Mental Health.
- Assign a staff member to remain with the person at all times.
- Notify the superintendent.
- Accompany the student to the hospital, if such action is considered necessary.
- Notify members of the Crisis Intervention Team for consultation during the crisis. Following the crisis, the Crisis Intervention Team will:
- contact the parents for follow-up
- contact other professionals involved in the case for educational planning and follow-up services
- Readmit the student upon the recommendation of the mental health practitioner. Homebound instruction may be used on an interim basis.
In the event of an actual suicide, the school must exercise care to avoid contagion and to help deal with the grieving, guilt, and shock of students and staff. The superintendent shall be contacted immediately. Contacts shall also be made with members of the Crisis Intervention Team. The police department also must be notified. The superintendent's office will respond to all requests for information.
Initially Adopted: October 10, 1988
Adopted: February 22, 2010