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PollyCarp PollyCarp is offline
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 222
Full Member

Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 222
Full Member
Suicidal Student
Old 03-16-2017, 08:30 PM
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Warning: this is long.

So I have a suicidal student . . . I teach second grade.

He comes from a rough home background but *seems* to be in a safe spot now. He has very low self-esteem and is very emotional. This whole year he's not taken criticism well (a simple, you have earned a consequence for tipping your chair could send him into a tailspin, he describes it as "melting"). He went from quiet and sad to self-harming in November. Scratching himself so deeply it left marks, trying to strangle himself with his coat or a jumprope at PE.

So I took the proper steps. Called home. Notified the school counselor and the principals, made sure all the specialists were aware of what to look for. He's in counseling outside of school as well.

It got better.

Then just yesterday it completely escalated. (The trigger? I told him we were calling home for behavior, an ordinary consequence I have given him and others before.) I gave him a consequence and he started running around the classroom, hissing and making animals noises, actively trying to get away from me. It terrified my other kiddos. He tried to pull heavy furniture (desk, shelves, coatracks) down on himself. I had to call and have him removed from my room. He went to the office and drew pictures of himself dead and himself in a trash can.

Today it happened again. I told him we had to call home. Less running and frenetic behavior, but continual banging his head forcefully against my metal desk. That was six hours ago and I can still hear that BONG, BONG, BONG sound and my whole stomach twists.

Counselor and the associate admin are taking this seriously. The main admin is more concerned that the office called home and I didn't make first contact with the family. (I wasn't sure what to say, and also since saying I would call home triggered it both times, I wasn't sure it was safe for him if I did.) Anyway, the counselor and associate admin, together with family, should be enough of a support network as my main admin is pretty laissez-faire.

We made a plan for two check-ins a day and established that in the future, I should call the office ASAP and then make contact home once he's been removed and my class is calm.

I'm at a loss for what to do or how to handle this with my other kids who have seen this happen twice now and are worried. (I didn't mask my worry as well as I should have, though I used the appropriate words to address and move past the situation.) I'm also not sure how to distance myself from the situation to be quite honest.

Any thoughts from afar?

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