2. Purpose

    The School  Board  of  the  City  of  Norfolk  believes  it  is  the  collective  responsibility  of  all  staff  and administration to protect the health, safety and well-being of all students, to promote healthy development, to safeguard against the risk or attempt of suicide among school-aged youth, and to address barriers to learning.

    1. Superintendent Authority

    The superintendent is hereby directed to promulgate comprehensive regulations consistent with this policy concerning student suicide, including but not limited to, regulations concerning attempted suicide, suicide, and training of students and staff.


    Students will receive age‐appropriate lessons in their classrooms through health education on the importance of safe and healthy choices, as well as help seeking strategies for self or others. Lessons will take place during the student’s 4th, 6th, and 9th grade years. Students will be taught appropriate supportive responses toward the goal of seeking help with suicidal ideation when they are concerned about a peer or significant other.

    Student support workers (counselor, psychologists, social workers) from Norfolk Public Schools will work with all educational sites to provide guidance, support, interventions, and assistance with connecting students in need with school and community resources as needs arrive. The student support workers will also be utilized to train school staff members regarding suicide prevention background information, recognitions of students in need, and appropriate processes and procedures once a student with suicidal ideation is identified.


    All faculty and staff will receive training annually regarding the school’s protocols for suicide prevention and awareness. School personnel will be educated on the importance of suicide prevention and recognition, risk factors, and warning signs of depression, as well as strategies to enhance protective factors, resilience, and school connectedness. The training will be provided by the school’s mental health support staff, such as the school counselor, school social worker, or school psychologist. In addition, all school personnel will receive additional training on a triennial cycle, regarding the importance of suicide prevention and recognition.   The division will monitor the need to provide additional professional development and support for division personnel as circumstances dictate.


     Norfolk City School Board Policies and Regulations Page 2 of 3


    If the section below titled “Abuse or Neglect” does not apply, then the staff member shall call at least one of the student’s parents/guardians. When contacting a parent/guardian, the staff member should:

    1. Provide his/her name and position in the school; 2. Tell the parent/guardian that he has reason to believe, as a result of direct communication from the student, that the student is at imminent risk of suicide; 3. Assure the parent/guardian that the student is currently safe; 4. State the legal requirement for the call, citing Va. Code § 22.1-272.1; 5. Ask the parent/guardian whether he or she is aware of the student’s mental state; 6. Ask the parent/guardian whether he or she wishes to obtain or has obtained mental counseling for the student; 7. Provide names of community counseling resources, if appropriate, and offer to facilitate the referral; and 8. Determine the parent/guardian’s intent to seek appropriate services for the student.
    2. Inability To Reach Parent/Guardian

    If the staff member is unable to make contact with the parent/guardian by the end of the school day, then he shall follow the school’s crisis management plan.

    1. Additional Concerns

    If parental/guardian contact is made and, in the course of this contact, relevant issues of abuse or neglect are discovered (e.g., a parent/guardian acknowledges the child’s suicidal intent but indicates no intent to act for the well‐being of the child), the staff member shall report the abuse or neglect in accordance with policy JHG/GAE. Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting.

    1. Duty To Keep Student Safe And Secure

    A student who is at imminent risk of suicide shall remain under adult supervision until a parent/guardian or other authorized individual accepts responsibility for the student’s safety.


    If the student has indicated that the reason for being at imminent risk of suicide relates to parental/guardian abuse or neglect, contact shall not be made with the parent/guardian. Instead, the staff person shall, as soon as practicable, notify the local department of social services of the county or city wherein the child resides or wherein the abuse or neglect is believed to have occurred or the state Department of Social Services' toll-free child abuse and neglect


    Policy Ref.: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (n.d.) Risk Factors and Warning Signs. Retrieved on December 19. 2016 from https://afsp.org/about‐suicide/risk‐factors‐and‐warning‐signs/ Jacobs, B. (2006). Suicide Prevention and Intervention in Schools. New Mexico State University, Cooperative Extension Service. Kerr, M. M. (2016). School Crisis Prevention and Intervention. Waveland Press. NASP Center (n.d.), After a Suicide: Answering Questions from Students. Retrieved on December 20, 2016 from http://www.naspcenter.org/principals/aftersuicide.html Trevor Project (n.d.), Model School Division Policy on Suicide Prevention. Model Language, Commentary, and Resources, retrieved on December 20. 2016 from http://b.3cdn.net/trevor/10a65fa42e6ebddc24_qem6bvseu.pdf Policy Ref. Updated: October 18, 2017

    Legal Ref.: Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-272.1 and 63.2-1509. Virginia Board of Education Suicide Prevention Guidelines (Revised 2003).


    Cross Ref.: JHG/GAE. Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting EB. School Crisis, Emergency Management and Medical Emergency Response Plan


    Adopted by the Norfolk City School Board January 20, 2016.