Student making suicidal / self injurious threats - no help from admin

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by RichardASarber, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. RichardASarber

    RichardASarber Rookie

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    Dec 4, 2017

    Hello, I’m a fourth grade teacher, but since September I’ve been covering a 7th grade history class. Since I’ve been doing that, I have a 7th grade student who’s been making quite graphic suicidal and self injurious statements with detail. It’s an every day occurance, and admin refuses to do anything about it. When counselor is called, they come and take the student out of class for a few minutes, and return her to class. I’ve documented everything I’ve seen. I am seriously concerned for the students safety. What is the next step? What can I do?
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Dec 4, 2017

    Call CPS. You are a mandated reporter.
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Dec 4, 2017

    Agreed. You do not need admin permission or approval to make that call. You should let them know, as a courtesy, but they don't need to okay it. Our admin will make arrangements for our class to be covered so that we can make that call. I have also made phone calls to parents and provided crisis hotline numbers to parents and students.
     
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  5. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Dec 4, 2017

    You’ve received good advice
     
  6. Obadiah

    Obadiah Habitué

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    Dec 5, 2017

    I agree with the above, to use your professional judgment. I would suggest that if the counselor has been notified, s/he might have determined that the threat is not realistic. Counselors (should) follow a protocol in such incidents. 7th graders and elementary students sometimes say things within their own childish context but the same statements would be in a different context if coming from an adult. Kids who find that certain statements agitate adults sometimes continue making those statements, although if the statements are about harming oneself or others, that's a more serious infraction and should be responded to in a more serious manner. Not that a child would say such stuff "just for attention", usually that's not the case, but sometimes a child will say stuff because it gives the child some sense of satisfaction--my fear in such a case would be that the child would then try for a greater "reward" by mocking an attempt at inflicting harm. In such a case, something could go wrong and harm could actually occur. Another possibility to keep in mind, self inflicted pain or similar stimulation sometimes becomes a habitual practice by teenagers, often in response to stress; a popular method is pricking the skin with sharp objects such as a pin.
     
  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    Dec 5, 2017

    If only you knew how many are into cutting, a little bit further on that spectrum than pricking. It doesn't take a lot of stress to cause some of these students to relapse.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
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  8. ms.irene

    ms.irene Groupie

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    Dec 5, 2017

    I would still report it to CPS or any other agency you can. I lost a student once to suicide after reporting it to admin who did nothing. I have never completely forgiven myself for not doing more.
     
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  9. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Dec 5, 2017

    It is not up to us, or the counselor, or admin, to decide whether a threat is credible or not. Report.
     
  10. Obadiah

    Obadiah Habitué

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    Dec 6, 2017

    To edit how I originally worded my statement, I agree with MrsC. A counselor would not be able to completely rule out the possibility of an actual or even a mock suicidal attempt. Although children do experiment and explore during various linguistic encounters, that does not negate the necessity of serious investigation concerning certain statements they might make, such as discussing self harm and suicide. So again, I agree, a teacher needs to respond on her/his professional judgment; if reporting to the counselor or administration seems insufficient, then further action is imperative.
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Laws about mandated reporting typically do not require the involvement of school counselors or administration. Most laws specifically state that the teacher's legal obligation is to report concerns to CPS directly and immediately. Notifying admin and counseling staff is a courtesy, not a part of the official process. Notifying counselors or admin IS NOT a legal substitute for mandated reporting to CPS.
     
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  12. Obadiah

    Obadiah Habitué

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    Dec 6, 2017

    Where I worked, teachers were to report to a central person in the school and that person was then responsible for the necessary course of action. But you brought up an important point, the laws could vary from place to place. The main point though is to ensure the child gets whatever help is needed.
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    That's curious. Do you mind sharing the state?
     
  14. Obadiah

    Obadiah Habitué

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    Dec 7, 2017

    I'm somewhat cautious how detailed I am on the Internet, however I was referring to a private school. Our central person would not hesitate to contact CPS for any appropriate situation.
     
  15. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oh, yeah, I don't think that's a thing. Mandated reporter laws are controlled by the county or state. A school's policy never trumps a county or state law.
     
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  16. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    I taught in a private school and there was no difference in reporting.
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    It's because it doesn't matter what setting you teach in. By virtue of being a teacher, you're considered (in most states, if not all) a mandated reporter, which means you are legally obligated to follow the state's mandated reporting laws. A school may have reporting policies separate from or in addition to the state's laws, but teachers still must follow, at minimum, the state's laws about mandated reporting.
     
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  18. ms.irene

    ms.irene Groupie

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    I was at a private school when I lost my student. I was a new teacher and I hoped I could trust the admin to take action.

    The truth is we can never ensure a student will not be harmed or harm themselves. But we can always at least know we did all we could.
     
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  19. RussianBlueMommy

    RussianBlueMommy Comrade

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    Dec 11, 2017 at 9:27 AM

    You need to take the responsibility and cover your bases. If it turns out to be a fake thing, you were acting in the best interest of the child.
     
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  20. Alyssa20

    Alyssa20 Rookie

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    Dec 12, 2017 at 11:21 AM

    In California (not sure about other states), being a mandated reporter is taken very seriously. The first step is to always contact CPS of ANY suspicion. If you don't contact CPS, and the child is harmed, then you can lose your credential and even go to prison!
     
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  21. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Comrade

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    Dec 12, 2017 at 11:31 AM

    Exactly! Specifically, you could lose your license, be fined $1,000, and even go to prison for six months!
     

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