Bonsall Unified School District believes in the importance of prioritizing mental health and wellness in our schools. We are working to increase awareness of the mental health issues our students face to reduce the number of student suicides.
California Education Code (EC) Section 215, as added by Assembly Bill 2246, (Chapter 642, Statutes of 2016) mandates that School District serving pupils in grades seven to twelve, adopt a policy on pupil suicide prevention, intervention, and post-prevention. The attached Board Policy has been approved by the Bonsall Board of Trustee March 2017.
- Parents as Partners: A Suicide Prevention Guide for Parents is a booklet that contains useful information for parents/guardians/caregivers who are concerned that their children may be at risk for suicide. It is available from Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE). See the SAVE Web page at https://www.save.org/product/parents-as-partners/
Information for Students
Students Mobilizing Awareness and Reducing Tragedies (SMART) is a program comprised of student-led groups in high schools designed to give students the freedom to implement a suicide prevention on their campus that best fits their school’s needs. See the SAVE Web page at https://www.save.org/what-we-do/education/smart-schools-program-2/
Action Plan for In-School Suicide Attempts
If a suicide attempt is made during the school day on campus, it is important to remember that the health and safety of the student and those around him/her is critical.
- Remain calm, remember the student is overwhelmed, confused, and emotionally distressed;
- Move all other students out of the immediate area;
- Immediately contact the administrator or suicide prevention liaison;
- Call 911 and give them as much information about any suicide note, medications taken, and access to weapons, if applicable;
- If needed, provide medical first aid until a medical professional is available;
- Parents/guardians/caregivers should be contacted as soon as possible;
- Do not send the student away or leave them alone, even if they need to go to the restroom;
- Listen and prompt the student to talk;
- Review options and resources of people who can help;
- Be comfortable with moments of silence as you and the student will need time to process the situation;
- Provide comfort to the student;
- Promise privacy and help, and be respectful, but do not promise confidentiality;
- Student should only be released to parents/guardians/caregivers or to a person who is qualified and trained to provide help.
Action Plan for Out-of-School Suicide Attempts
If a suicide attempt by a student is outside of Bonsall Unified School District property, it is crucial that the LEA protects the privacy of the student and maintain a confidential record of the actions taken to intervene, support, and protect the student.
- Contact the parents/guardians/caregivers and offer support to the family;
- Discuss with the family how they would like the school to respond to the attempt while minimizing widespread rumors among teachers, staff, and students;
- Obtain permission from the parents/guardians/caregivers to share information to ensure the facts regarding the crisis is correct;
- Designate a staff member to handle media requests;
- Provide care and determine appropriate support to affected students;
- Offer to the student and parents/guardians/caregivers steps for re-integration to school.
Supporting Students after a Mental Health Crisis
It is crucial that careful steps are taken to help provide the mental health support for the student and to monitor their actions for any signs of suicide. The following steps should be implemented after the crisis has happened:
- Treat every threat with seriousness and approach with a calm manner; make the student a priority;
- Listen actively and non-judgmental to the student. Let the student express his or her feelings;
- Acknowledge the feelings and do not argue with the student;
- Offer hope and let the student know they are safe and that help is provided. Do not promise confidentiality or cause stress;
- Explain calmly and get the student to a trained professional, guidance counselor, or designated staff to further support the student;
- Keep close contact with the parents/guardians/caregivers and mental health professionals working with the student.
Re-Entry to School After a Suicide Attempt
To ensure the safety and reduce the risk of another suicide attempt, the Bonsall Unified School District will utilize the re-entry process. Bonsall believes in involving students in planning for their return to school to provide them with a sense of control, personal responsibility, and empowerment. The following steps shall be implemented upon re-entry:
- Obtain a written release of information signed by parents/guardians/caregivers and providers;
- Confer with student and parents/guardians/caregivers about any specific requests on how to handle the situation;
- Inform the student’s teachers about possible days of absences;
- Allow accommodations for student to make up work (be understanding that missed assignments may add stress to student);
- Mental health professionals or trusted staff members should maintain ongoing contact to monitor student’s actions and mood;
- Work with parents/guardians/caregivers to involve the student in an aftercare plan.