Begining the School Year Right

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EASE BACK INTO SCHOOL

The beginning of school may very well be parents’ most favorite time of the year. Even so, the transition for parents and kids can be a little rough. Here’s help to ease you and your child into the back-to-school groove.

SOURCE: PBS PARENTS

Good Reads

10 Things Parents Should Do at the Beginning of the School Year

Start Now, to Start the School Year Right by Arne Duncan Ex U.S. Secretary of Education

Back-to-School Resources for Parents – via Edutopia

Back to School Guide – via NEA

How Parents Can Prepare for Back to School Time Excerpt By: Janelle Cox

1. Get back into your sleep routine. To help eradicate those stressful school mornings, set up a regular bedtime and morning time routine to help prepare your child for school. Begin your usual school sleep routine about a week or so before school starts.
2. Shop for school supplies together. To get your child excited about starting a new grade, shop for supplies together. Allow them to pick out their own backpack, lunchbox, etc. This is a great way to give them a little bit of responsibility too!
3. Re­establish school routines. Have your child practice getting back into the rhythm of their daily school routine. You can do this by having them wake up at the same time every day, and eat around the same time they would at school. About a week or so before school starts, plan a few outside activities where your child will have to leave and come home around the same time they would if they were in school. This will help them be rested and ready for the big day.
4. Set up a homework station. Sit down with your child and together designate a time and place where he can do his homework each day. This can be somewhere quiet like in the den, or even in the kitchen while you are preparing dinner. Make sure to choose a time where you are available in case your child
needs your help.
5. Prepare for the unexpected. Working parents know that it can be difficult to find a sitter when your child is sick. Before school even begins, it’s a good idea to have a sitter already lined up in case you get that phone call home from the nurse saying your child is ill.
6. Make an after­school game plan. Make a plan for where your child will go after school lets out for the day. Depending upon the age of your child, figure
out if they will go to a neighbor’s house, an afterschool program, or be allowed to stay home by themselves. This will help eliminate any confusion during the
first few weeks.
7. Turn off the TV and video games. For a lot of children summertime is filled with endless video games and TV programs. Children are usually in shock when they begin school and realize that six hours of their day is going to spent learning and not playing games and watching TV. Ease your child into the learning process by turning off the electrics and encouraging them to read or play quietly.
8. Review school material and information. For most parents, schools send home a packet with a ton of information regarding their child’s new teacher, important dates to remember, emergency forms, and transportation routines. Make sure that you read through this information carefully, and mark down all
important dates on your calendar.
9. Get organized. The best way to prepare for back to school time is to be organized. With school comes a massive amount of paperwork which can consume your household. Designate a spot in your house for homework, permission slips, and any other school­related papers. This can help eliminate all of that paper clutter and make your life less stressful.
10. Get your child’s yearly checkup. School and germs go hand in hand, so it’s best to get your child’s yearly checkup before school even starts. Get any
required vaccinations and ask your pediatrician the best ways your child can stay healthy throughout the school year.

start-the-school-year-right

The Book: Start the School Year Right What parents, students, and teachers should know

Activity

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL MAGIC DUST

Kids Books for Starting School

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Inclusion on the Playground

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WHAT IS AN INCLUSIVE PLAYGROUND?
An inclusive playground addresses the needs of all people including those who have autism, intellectual disabilities, hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other disabilities. It also addresses the needs of typical children. An inclusive playground accommodates everyone and challenges them at their own developmental level. Source

After school how do I find an Inclusive Playground?

Playgrounds For Everyone A community-edited guide to accessible playgrounds. 

Resource list

(courtesy of AAA State of Play in the article “How-To Accommodate Special Needs Children on the Playground”)

Follow these links to learn more about accommodating special-needs children on the playground:

Gender Spectrum and School

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In our schools, gender awareness and the fluidity of gender attitudes are evolving. The understanding and acceptance of this gender continuum can be a barrier to student learning. This post is to help illuminate concepts, tools, and strategies to help ensure students are supported on campus.

Big Reads

A Resource Guide to Families of Transgender Youth

Glossary of Terms – Transgender

Sex
The classification of a person as male or female. At birth, infants are assigned a sex, usually based on the appearance of their external anatomy. (This is what is written on the birth certificate.) A person’s sex, however, is actually a combination of bodily characteristics including: chromosomes, hormones, internal and external reproductive organs, and secondary sex characteristics.
Gender Identity
A person’s internal, deeply held sense of their gender. For transgender people, their own internal gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. Most people have a gender identity of man or woman (or boy or girl). For some people, their gender identity does not fit neatly into one of those two choices (see non-binary and/or genderqueer below.) Unlike gender expression (see below) gender identity is not visible to others.
Gender Expression
External manifestations of gender, expressed through a person’s name, pronouns, clothing, haircut, behavior, voice, and/or body characteristics. Society identifies these cues as masculine and feminine, although what is considered masculine or feminine changes over time and varies by culture. Typically, transgender people seek to align their gender expression with their gender identity, rather than the sex they were assigned at birth.
Sexual Orientation
Describes a person’s enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to another person. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same. Transgender people may be straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer. For example, a person who transitions from male to female and is attracted solely to men would typically identify as a straight woman. 
Transgender (adj.)
An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. People under the transgender umbrella may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms – including transgender. Some of those terms are defined below. Use the descriptive term preferred by the person. Many transgender people are prescribed hormones by their doctors to bring their bodies into alignment with their gender identity. Some undergo surgery as well. But not all transgender people can or will take those steps, and a transgender identity is not dependent upon physical appearance or medical procedures.
Transsexual (adj.)
An older term that originated in the medical and psychological communities. Still preferred by some people who have permanently changed – or seek to change – their bodies through medical interventions, including but not limited to hormones and/or surgeries. Unlike transgender, transsexual is not an umbrella term. Many transgender people do not identify as transsexual and prefer the word transgender. It is best to ask which term a person prefers. If preferred, use as an adjective: transsexual woman or transsexual man.
Trans
Used as shorthand to mean transgender or transsexual – or sometimes to be inclusive of a wide variety of identities under the transgender umbrella. Because its meaning is not precise or widely understood, be careful when using it with audiences who may not understand what it means. Avoid unless used in a direct quote or in cases where you can clearly explain the term’s meaning in the context of your story.
Cross-dresser
While anyone may wear clothes associated with a different sex, the term cross-dresser is typically used to refer to men who occasionally wear clothes, makeup, and accessories culturally associated with women. Those men typically identify as heterosexual. This activity is a form of gender expression and not done for entertainment purposes. Cross-dressers do not wish to permanently change their sex or live full-time as women. Replaces the term “transvestite”.
Transition
Altering one’s birth sex is not a one-step procedure; it is a complex process that occurs over a long period of time. Transition can include some or all of the following personal, medical, and legal steps: telling one’s family, friends, and co-workers; using a different name and new pronouns; dressing differently; changing one’s name and/or sex on legal documents; hormone therapy; and possibly (though not always) one or more types of surgery. The exact steps involved in transition vary from person to person. Avoid the phrase “sex change”.
Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS)
Also called Gender Confirmation Surgery (GCS). Refers to doctor-supervised surgical interventions, and is only one small part of transition (see transition above). Avoid the phrase “sex change operation.” Do not refer to someone as being “pre-op” or “post-op.” Not all transgender people choose to, or can afford to, undergo medical surgeries. Journalists should avoid overemphasizing the role of surgeries in the transition process.
Gender Identity Disorder (GID)
outdated, see Gender Dysphoria
Gender Dysphoria
In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association released the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) which replaced the outdated entry “Gender Identity Disorder” with Gender Dysphoria, and changed the criteria for diagnosis. The necessity of a psychiatric diagnosis remains controversial, as both psychiatric and medical authorities recommend individualized medical treatment through hormones and/or surgeries to treat gender dysphoria. Some transgender advocates believe the inclusion of Gender Dysphoria in the DSM is necessary in order to advocate for health insurance that covers the medically necessary treatment recommended for transgender people.

 

Transgender women are not cross-dressers or drag queens. Drag queens are men, typically gay men, who dress like women for the purpose of entertainment. Be aware of the differences between transgender women, cross-dressers, and drag queens. Use the term preferred by the person. Do not use the word “transvestite” at all, unless someone specifically self-identifies that way.

OTHER TERMS YOU MAY HEAR

You may hear the following terms when doing research on transgender issues or speaking to an interview subject. As they are not commonly known outside the LGBTQ community, they will require context and definition if used in mainstream media.

Cisgender
A term used by some to describe people who are not transgender. “Cis-” is a Latin prefix meaning “on the same side as,” and is therefore an antonym of “trans-.” A more widely understood way to describe people who are not transgender is simply to say non-transgender people.
Gender Non-Conforming
A term used to describe some people whose gender expression is different from conventional expectations of masculinity and femininity. Please note that not all gender non-conforming people identify as transgender; nor are all transgender people gender non-conforming. Many people have gender expressions that are not entirely conventional – that fact alone does not make them transgender. Many transgender men and women have gender expressions that are conventionally masculine or feminine. Simply being transgender does not make someone gender non-conforming. The term is not a synonym for transgender or transsexual and should only be used if someone self-identifies as gender non-conforming.
Non-binary and/or genderqueer
Terms used by some people who experience their gender identity and/or gender expression as falling outside the categories of man and woman. They may define their gender as falling somewhere in between man and woman, or they may define it as wholly different from these terms. The term is not a synonym for transgender or transsexual and should only be used if someone self-identifies as non-binary and/or genderqueer.

TRANSGENDER NAMES, PRONOUN USAGE & DESCRIPTIONS

In 2015, The Washington Post updated its style guide to include the singular they to describe people who “identify as neither male nor female.” It is increasingly common for people who have a nonbinary gender identity to use they/them as their pronoun.

Always use a transgender person’s chosen name.
Many transgender people are able to obtain a legal name change from a court. However, some transgender people cannot afford a legal name change or are not yet old enough to legally change their name. They should be afforded the same respect for their chosen name as anyone else who uses a name other than their birth name (e.g., celebrities).
Use the pronoun that matches the person’s authentic gender.
A person who identifies as a certain gender, whether or not that person has taken hormones or undergone surgery, should be referred to using the pronouns appropriate for that gender. If you are not certain which pronoun to use, ask the person, “What pronouns do you use?”
If it is not possible to ask a transgender person which pronoun they use, use the pronoun that is consistent with the person’s appearance and gender expression or use the singular they.
For example, if a person wears a dress and uses the name Susan, feminine pronouns are usually appropriate. Or it is also acceptable to use the singular they to describe someone when you don’t wish to assign a gender. For example: “Every individual should be able to express their gender in a way that is comfortable for them.”
Some people use the singular they to reflect their non-binary gender identity.
In 2015, The Washington Post updated its style guide to include the singular they to describe people who “identify as neither male nor female.” It is increasingly common for people who have a non-binary gender identity to use they/them as their pronoun. For example: “Jacob writes eloquently about their non-binary identity. They have also appeared frequently in the media to talk about their family’s reaction to their gender expression.”
 

It is never appropriate to put quotation marks around either a transgender person’s chosen name or the pronoun that reflects that person’s gender identity.”

Terms to Avoid

PROBLEMATIC

PREFERRED

“transgenders,” “a transgender”
Transgender should be used as an adjective, not as a noun. Do not say, “Tony is a transgender,” or “The parade included many transgenders.”
 
“transgender people”,”a transgender person”
For example, “Tony is a transgender man,” or “The parade included many transgender people.”
 
“transgendered”
The adjective transgender should never have an extraneous “-ed” tacked onto the end. An “-ed” suffix adds unnecessary length to the word and can cause tense confusion and grammatical errors. It also brings transgender into alignment with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer. You would not say that Elton John is “gayed” or Ellen DeGeneres is “lesbianed,” therefore you would not say Chaz Bono is “transgendered.”
 
“transgender”
 
 
“transgenderism”
This is not a term commonly used by transgender people. This is a term used by anti-transgender activists to dehumanize transgender people and reduce who they are to “a condition.”
“being transgender”
Refer to being transgender instead, or refer to the transgender community. You can also refer to the movement for transgender equality and acceptance.
“sex change,” “pre-operative,” “post-operative
Referring to a “sex-change operation,” or using terms such as “pre-operative” or “post-operative,” inaccurately suggests that a person must have surgery in order to transition. Avoid overemphasizing surgery when discussing transgender people or the process of transition.
“transition”
“biologically male,” “biologically female,” “genetically male,” “genetically female,” “born a man,” “born a woman”
Problematic phrases like those above are reductive and overly-simplify a very complex subject. As mentioned above, a person’s sex is determined by a number of factors – not simply genetics – and a person’s biology does not “trump” a person’s gender identity. Finally, people are born babies: they are not “born a man” or “born a woman.”
“assigned male at birth,” “assigned female at birth” or “designated male at birth,” “designated female at birth”
“passing” and “stealth”
While some transgender people may use these terms among themselves, it is not appropriate to repeat them in mainstream media unless it’s in a direct quote. The terms refer to a transgender person’s ability to go through daily life without others making an assumption that they are transgender. However, the terms themselves are problematic because “passing” implies “passing as something you’re not,” while “stealth” connotes deceit. When transgender people are living as their authentic selves, and are not perceived as transgender by others, that does not make them deceptive or misleading.
“visibly transgender,” “not visibly transgender”
 

 

Defamatory Language

Defamatory: “deceptive,” “fooling,” “pretending,” “posing,” “trap,” or “masquerading”
Gender identity is an integral part of a person’s identity. Do not characterize transgender people as “deceptive,” as “fooling” or “trapping” others, or as “pretending” to be, “posing” or “masquerading” as a man or a woman. Such descriptions are inaccurate, defamatory and insulting. (See “passing” and “stealth” as problematic terms above.)
Defamatory: “tranny,” “she-male,” “he/she,” “it,” “shim”
These words dehumanize transgender people and should not be used in mainstream media. The criteria for using these derogatory terms should be the same as those applied to vulgar epithets used to target other groups: they should not be used except in a direct quote that reveals the bias of the person quoted. So that such words are not given credibility in the media, it is preferred that reporters say, “The person used a derogatory word for a transgender person.” Please note that while some transgender people may use “tranny” to describe themselves, others find it extremely offensive.
Defamatory: “bathroom bill”
A term created and used by far-right extremists to oppose nondiscrimination laws that protect transgender people. The term is geared to incite fear and panic at the thought of encountering transgender people in public restrooms. Simply refer to the nondiscrimination law/ ordinance instead. For additional resources on how to fairly and accurately report on nondiscrimination laws and bathrooms, please see “Debunking the ‘Bathroom Bill’ Myth – Accurate reporting on LGBT nondiscrimination: A guide for journalists.”
Source

At School

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Transgender rights at school

What Are My Rights at School?

General Resources

Gender Spectrum Resources for a variety of topics.

 

Sotos Syndrome

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Sotos Syndrome is also known as cerebral gigantism. It is a condition that occurs due to genetic reasons which leads to having physical overgrowth upon the first years of their life and having a head and facial appearance that are distinctive. The rapid physical overgrowth goes along with the delay of social, language, cognitive and motor development as well as the retardation of the mentality with ranges from mild to severe form.

Basics

Parent Guide-Original article written by Bridget Veitch (updated by Simon Lane)

Family Information Leaflet

Parent Support Group

Organized in 1988, the Sotos syndrome Support Association (SSSA) is made up of families, physicians, genetic counselors, and health care agencies throughout the United States and the world. The SSSA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization which is incorporated in the state of Missouri and run completely by volunteers.

The SSSA is a Member of the National Organization of Rare Disorders (NORD).

Other Groups

Email Community at Yahoo Groups

Sotos Syndrome Support Association of Canada

A Support Group for Sotos Syndrome in Australia

Sotos Syndrome Support Association of Finland.

The Arc

The Danish Association for Sotos Syndrome

Sotos Association – L’Eveil – France

Asociacion Sotos – Spain

ASSI Gulliver – Italy

Child Growth Foundation – UK

Videos

YouTube Video on the Basics of Sotos Syndrome

Sotos Syndrome- Longer more complete overview

School

School primer- Information on how to serve a student with Sotos Syndrome.

Behavioral and emotional characteristics in children with Sotos syndrome and learning disabilities

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Case Study

Hana Feels Good at School: An Example of Good Teaching Practice in Integrating a Girl with Sotos Syndrome into Primary School

Child Sexual Abuse

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So as many of you may know, I write my blog posts in conjunction with events that occur at my school sites. This post has been the most difficult to date. The size and scope of an incident like this occurring on an elementary campus is devastating. I really encourage that parents, teachers, and community members at large help to teach our kids the tools and skills to stay safe.

Fact Sheets

Child Sexual Abuse Fact Sheet

Child Sexual Abuse: YOU CAN PREVENT, RECOGNIZE AND REACT

Brochure English

Straight Talk About Child Sexual Abuse: A Prevention Guide for Parents

Spanish Resources

Abuso Sexual de Niños: UD. PUEDE PREVENIRLO, RECONOCERLO Y REACCIONAR

Hablando Claro Acerca Del Abuso Sexual Infantil: Una Guía Preventiva Para Los Padres

Brochure Spanish 

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Adult education is key to preventing child sexual abuse.

1 out of 10 children will be sexually abused before they turn 18. Chances are, someone you know has been impacted. Research shows that people who are sexually violated as children are far more likely to experience psychological problems often lasting into adulthood, including post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression, suicide, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, school dropout and relationship problems. (Source)

Parent Education

5 STEPS TO PROTECTING OUR CHILDREN  (PDF One Sheet)

Child Sexual Abuse Prevention FACTS:

 

 

Resources for recognizing sexual abuse:

Talking to your child about sexual abuse.

Talking to Children About Sexual Abuse Great sections on ages 4-8, 9-13, and 14-18. Explicitly lays out “What to do?” What to Say?”

By: Sean Brotherson, Ph.D., Family Science Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

10 WAYS TO TEACH YOUR CHILD BODY SAFETY: PREVENTING SEXUAL ABUSE

TALKING TO YOUR CHILD ABOUT MOLESTATION

How To Talk About Sexual Abuse Safety Webpage with more information

KidsPower Resources

7 Kidpower Strategies for Keeping Your Child Safe – Video Series

Four Strategies for Protecting Kids from Sexual Predators

Touch in Healthy Relationships

Circles of Intimacy

Circles of Intimacy-PDF

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Phone Apps

Stewards of Children Prevention Toolkit

Circles of Intimacy

Radio Show

LISTEN TO THE PARENTING TODAY RADIO SHOW: PREVENTING CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

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Books

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Body Smart, Body Safe: Talking with Young Children about their Bodies- Blog List of Books from A Mighty Girl

Books To Educate Children About Preventing Sexual Abuse

It’s My Body
by Lory Freeman (Parenting Press, 1984)

Keeping Kids Safe: A Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Manual
by Pnina Tobin, Sue Levinson Kessner (Hunter House Publishers; 2nd edition, 2002)

The Most Important Rule of All
by Pam Church
(Prevention And Motivation Programs, Inc., 1997) This book is a read-aloud storybook about child sexual abuse and protection skills for use with children ages 4-8 years.

Order here

My Body is Private
by Linda Walvoord Girard and Rodney Pate (Albert Whitman & Co., 1992)

The Right Touch: A Read-Aloud Book to Help Prevent Child Sexual Abuse
by Sandy Kleven (Illumination Arts Publishing, 1998)

Telling Isn’t Tattling
by Kathryn Hammerseng (Parenting Press, 1996)

Those are MY Private Parts
by Diane Hansen (Empowerment Productions, 2005)
Parents and care-givers can use this read-aloud rhyme as a tool to teach children sexual abuse prevention and empower their young children to say NO. Appropriate for ages 4-8.

Your Body Belongs To You
by Cornelia Spelman (Albert Whitman & Co., 2000)

When I Was Little Like You
by Jane Porett (CWLA Press, 2000)

Hotline

RAINN-The National Sexual Assault Online Hotline

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Here is NASP Position Statement on the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why”. I think that it is important to be careful with the information and discussions we have around suicide. This position statement is worth reading.

13 reasons NASP

Guidance for Educators

  1. While we do not recommend that all students view this series, it can be appreciated as an opportunity to better understand young people’s experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Children and youth who view this series will need supportive adults to process it. Take this opportunity to both prevent the risk of harm and identify ongoing social and behavior problems in the school community that may need to be addressed.
  2. Help students articulate their perceptions when viewing controversial content, such as 13 Reasons Why. The difficult issues portrayed do occur in schools and communities, and it is important for adults to listen, take adolescents’ concerns seriously, and be willing to offer to help.
  3. Reinforce that school-employed mental health professionals are available to help. Emphasize that the behavior of the second counselor in the series is understood by virtually all school-employed mental health professionals as inappropriate. It is important that all school-employed mental health professionals receive training in suicide risk assessment.
  4. Make sure parents, teachers, and students are aware of suicide risk warning signs. Always take warning signs seriously, and never promise to keep them secret. Establish a confidential reporting mechanism for students.Common signs include:
    • Suicide threats, both direct (“I am going to kill myself.” “I need life to stop.”) and indirect (“I need it to stop.” “I wish I could fall asleep and never wake up.”). Threats can be verbal or written, and they are often found in online postings.
    • Giving away prized possessions.
    • Preoccupation with death in conversation, writing, drawing, and social media.
    • Changes in behavior, appearance/hygiene, thoughts, and/or feelings. This can include someone who is typically sad who suddenly becomes extremely happy.
    • Emotional distress.
  5. Students who feel suicidal are not likely to seek help directly; however, parents, school personnel, and peers can recognize the warning signs and take immediate action to keep the youth safe. When a student gives signs that they may be considering suicide, take the following actions.
    • Remain calm, be nonjudgmental, and listen. Strive to understand the intolerable emotional pain that has resulted in suicidal thoughts.
    • Avoid statements that might be perceived as minimizing the student’s emotional pain (e.g., “You need to move on.” or “You should get over it.”).
    • Ask the student directly if they are thinking about suicide (i.e., “Are you thinking of suicide?”).
    • Focus on your concern for their well-being and avoid being accusatory.
    • Reassure the student that there is help and they will not feel like this forever.
    • Provide constant supervision. Do not leave the student alone.
    • Without putting yourself in danger, remove means for self-harm, including any weapons the person might find.
    • Get help. Never agree to keep a student’s suicidal thoughts a secret. Instead, school staff should take the student to a school-employed mental health professional. Parents should seek help from school or community mental health resources. Students should tell an appropriate caregiving adult, such as a school psychologist, administrator, parent, or teacher.
  6. School or district officials should determine how to handle memorials after a student has died. Promote memorials that benefit others (e.g., donations for a suicide prevention program) and activities that foster a sense of hope and encourage positive action. The memorial should not glorify, highlight, or accentuate the individual’s death. It may lead to imitative behaviors or a suicide contagion (Brock et al., 2016).
  7. Reinforcing resiliency factors can lessen the potential of risk factors that lead to suicidal ideation and behaviors. Once a child or adolescent is considered at risk, schools, families, and friends should work to build these factors in and around the youth.
    • Family support and cohesion, including good communication.
    • Peer support and close social networks.
    • School and community connectedness.
    • Cultural or religious beliefs that discourage suicide and promote healthy living.
    • Adaptive coping and problem-solving skills, including conflict resolution.
    • General life satisfaction, good self-esteem, and a sense of purpose.
    • Easy access to effective medical and mental health resources.
  8. Strive to ensure that all student spaces on campus are monitored and that the school environment is truly safe, supportive, and free of bullying.
  9. If additional guidance is needed, ask for support from your building- or district-level crisis team. The team may be able to assist with addressing unique situations affecting your building.

See Preventing Suicide: Guidelines for Administrators and Crisis Teams for additional guidance.

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) and the JED Foundation have created talking points for conversations with youth specific to the 13 Reasons Why series, available online.

Guidance for Families

  1. Ask your child if they have heard or seen the series 13 Reasons Why. While we don’t recommend that they be encouraged to view the series, do tell them you want to watch it, with them or to catch up, and discuss their thoughts.
  2. If they exhibit any of the warning signs above, don’t be afraid to ask if they have thought about suicide or if someone is hurting them. Raising the issue of suicide does not increase the risk or plant the idea. On the contrary, it creates the opportunity to offer help.
  3. Ask your child if they think any of their friends or classmates exhibit warning signs. Talk with them about how to seek help for their friend or classmate. Guide them on how to respond when they see or hear any of the warning signs.
  4. Listen to your children’s comments without judgment. Doing so requires that you fully concentrate, understand, respond, and then remember what is being said. Put your own agenda aside.
  5. Get help from a school-employed or community-based mental health professional if you are concerned for your child’s safety or the safety of one of their peers.

See Preventing Youth Suicide Brief Facts (also available in Spanish) and Preventing Youth Suicide: Tips or Parents and Educators for additional information.

Safe Messaging for Students

  1. Suicide is never a solution. It is an irreversible choice regarding a temporary problem. There is help. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or know someone who is, talk to a trusted adult, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text “START” to 741741.
  2. Don’t be afraid to talk to your friends about how they feel and let them know you care about them.
  3. Be an “upstander” and take actions to reduce bullying and increase positive connections among others. Report concerns.
  4. Never promise to keep secret behaviors that represent a danger toward another person.
  5. Suicide is preventable. People considering suicide typically say something or do something that is a warning sign. Always take warning signs seriously and know the warning signs.
    • Suicide threats, both direct (“I am going to kill myself.”) and indirect (“I wish I could fall asleep and never wake up.”). Can be verbal, written, or posted online.
    • Suicide notes and planning, including online postings.
    • Preoccupation with death in conversation, writing, drawing, and social media.
    • Changes in behavior, appearance/hygiene, thoughts, and/or feelings.
    • Emotional distress.
  6. Separate myths and facts.
    • MYTH: Talking about suicide will make someone want to commit suicide who has never thought about it before. FACT: There is no evidence to suggest that talking about suicide plants the idea. Talking with your friend about how they feel and letting them know that you care about them is important. This is the first step in getting your friend help.
    • MYTH: People who struggle with depression or other mental illness are just weak. FACT: Depression and other mental illnesses are serious health conditions and are treatable.
    • MYTH: People who talk about suicide won’t really do it. FACT: People, particularly young people who are thinking about suicide, typically demonstrate warning signs. Always take these warning signs seriously.
  7. Never leave the person alone; seek out a trusted adult immediately. School-employed mental health professionals like your school psychologist are trusted sources of help.
  8. Work with other students and the adults in the school if you want to develop a memorial for someone who has committed suicide. Although decorating a student’s locker, creating a memorial social media page, or other similar activities are quick ways to remember the student who has died, they may influence others to imitate or have thoughts of wanting to die as well. It is recommended that schools develop memorial activities that encourage hope and promote positive outcomes for others (e.g., suicide prevention programs).

Read these helpful points from SAVE.org and the JED Foundation to further understand how 13 Reasons Why dramatizes situations and the realities of suicide. See Save a Friend: Tips for Teens to Prevent Suicide for additional information.

Additional Resources

Websites

References

Brock, S. E., Nickerson, A. B., Louvar Reeves, M. A., Conolly, S., Jimerson, S., Pesce, R, & Lazarro, B. (2016). School crisis prevention and intervention: The PREPaRE model (2nd ed.). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.

Contributors: Christina Conolly, Kathy Cowan, Peter Faustino, Ben Fernandez, Stephen Brock, Melissa Reeves, Rich Lieberman


© 2017, National Association of School Psychologists, 4340 East West Highway, Suite 402, Bethesda, MD 20814, 301-657-0270, http://www.nasponline.org

Document may be adapted or excerpted with proper acknowledgement. Please cite as:

National Association of School Psychologists. (2017). 13 Reasons Why Netflix series: Considerations for educators [handout]. Bethesda, MD: Author.

Printable Version

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NASP Position Statement on the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why”

Childhood Cancer and School

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Fact Sheets/ Articles

Childhood Cancer and School – Fact Sheet

Types of Children’s Cancer

Educational Issues Following Treatment for Childhood Cancer

Collaborating With Physicians: A Guide for School Leaders (NASP)

Potential 504 Accommodations for a Student Undergoing Treatment for Childhood Cancer or a Hematologic Disorder (PDF)

Helping Schools Cope With Childhood Cancer Current Facts and Creative Solutions

Tips for Teachers: Helping the Child with Cancer

• If possible, visit or call the child in the hospital or at home. Let them know you are thinking of them.

• Children will benefit from talking with teachers, parents, or hospital personnel in preparation for the return to school. They will cope far better knowing what to expect, and how to respond. They also need a chance to express their worries and concerns and to know how these will be addressed.

• Be alert to rumours on the school yard and attempt to dispel them as soon as possible. It may be helpful to have a standard response to inquiries, with approval from the family (e.g., “He’s getting excellent care and we are hopeful he will get well.”).

• Work with families and hospital staff to develop an educational program that will meet the child’s needs. Let the child know that you will help them continue with their education and stay connected with their friends.

• When the child returns to school designate a person who the child knows well as a “go to” person. This individual can check in with the child regularly, and be available if the student needs to let someone know they are physically or emotionally uncomfortable.

• Most children who attend school report that they just want to be treated like everyone else. As hard as it may be, try not to be overprotective. Normalize the child’s school experience as much as possible, while adjusting expectations when needed.

• When the child cannot attend for longer periods of time, establish regular contact with the parents or a liaison from the treatment centre. Plan ways that classmates can maintain regular contact with the child.

• Encourage a supportive classroom environment

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CureSearch for Children’s Cancer Series-  Guidance for school personnel

When You First Learn a Child in Your School Has Been Diagnosed with Cancer

Supporting a Child During Treatment

Supporting a Child’s Return to School

Guidance for Parents

LIVESTRONG at School program

The LIVESTRONG at School program uses national standards-based lessons to teach your students about the realities of cancer. While it is a difficult subject to talk about with kids, it is important for students to understand what cancer is and how it can be treated. In addition, this program informs your students about ways that they can make a difference and help those with cancer. The downloadable lessons and printable worksheets below make it easy for you to share this valuable information with your class.  Questions and Answers about Cancer

 LIVESTRONG at School, Grades K-2

LIVESTRONG at School, Grades 3-6

LIVESTRONG at School, Grades 7-8

LIVESTRONG at School, Grades 9-12

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