By Oliver Lazenby
The Blaine School Board approved a new school district suicide prevention policy at its January 22 meeting. The new policy is more detailed and comprehensive than the school’s previous policy and is based on new recommendations from the Washington State School Director’s Association.
The new policy includes guidelines for student education, prevention planning, intervention, parent responsibility, more training for everyone from teachers to substitute school bus drivers, and what to do after a suicide or attempted suicide.
District policy about youth suicide prevention was formerly part of the school’s policy on guidance and counseling. That policy covered both mental health and career and academic guidance–two areas that have become more complex in recent years, school district superintendent Ron Spanjer said.
“Academic and career guidance has become much more intensified and we’re also adding more mental health support time into the district,” Spanjer said. “At some point, we reached this threshold where it warrants moving to a separate policy.”