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School District 6 implementing suicide prevention policy

Oct 16, 2015 - From staff reports

By Christina George

Staff Writer

The Wind River school district has implemented a new policy aimed at suicide prevention.

The Fremont County School District 6 Board of Education at a special meeting Oct. 8 unanimously approved the policy, which provides directives to the administration to develop guidelines or procedures to effectively intervene in life-threatening situations.

Administrators will also enlist the support, awareness and involvement of all district staff in identifying suicidal signals and have staff implement preventative programs.

The policy isn't a reactionary move triggered by a student committing suicide, but rather a proactive step to assure it doesn't happen, said superintendent Diana Clapp.

"I would say it is more state awareness and national awareness that is prompting us to do this," Clapp said.

"When one looks at the national statistics on suicide with youth and young adults, it must be an issue that not only schools but communities need to be aware of and take measures to prevent."

Clapp said School District 6 needed an underlying policy to support suicide preventative procedures already in place.

"The district has already put preventative measures in place including training in suicide assessment and intake procedures, suicide prevention training for all staff," she explained. "And we have an electronic hotline for reporting concerns regarding bullying or suicide issues. The reporting can be done anonymously."

In the suicide prevention policy, the School District 6 Board of Trustees asserts it "recognizes that self-destructive behavior and suicide occurs among children and adolescents in our country."

"Students who experience serious depression are unable to benefit fully from the educational program of the school. Moreover, such students pose a danger both to self and possibly to others," the policy states. "Students identified as self-destructive are in the need of appropriate help as quickly as possible."

According to the new policy, a student's confidentiality may be waived in life-threatening situations as school personnel working with a depressed or suicidal student may need to contact the student's parents or make a referral.

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