Nation’s Top Suicide Prevention Organizations Partner to Release New Critical Resource for Schools

NEW YORKApril 17, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Although youth suicide prevention efforts have increased in schools over the past decade, suicide is a leading cause of death among young people. In 2011, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) collaborated to create a resource providing middle and high schools with guidance on how to support school communities after a suicide occurs. Today, these organizations have released a newly updated second edition of this free resource, After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools.

The updated toolkit includes best practices for how school administrators and staff should respond to a suicide death, with information on helping students cope, reaching out to parents, and working with the community—including coroners, police departments, funeral directors, faith leaders, and mental health professionals. It provides tips on working with the media, tools for deciding how to safely memorialize students, and sample social media messages. Also included is important information on how to reduce the risk of suicide contagion (i.e., when exposure to a suicide death may influence others to attempt suicide).

"It is critically important that schools have a plan for responding in the tragic event that a student ends his or her own life. Schools will need to communicate effectively, quickly and in accordance with best practices, while at the same time, supporting grieving students and faculty," said Dr. Doreen Marshall, AFSP Vice President of Programs. "The revised toolkit guides schools in the aftermath of suicide and can be used by schools to help them develop a response in advance of a suicide death. Written and reviewed by suicide prevention and school experts, it is a document that addresses many of the questions that schools have following a suicide death, while also giving them a framework through which to effectively respond. The last version of the toolkit released in 2011 is the premier resource schools turn to and we know this revision will be just as valuable."

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GUILTY! Female teacher sexually assaults young boy inside LOCKED classroom, sobs as jury reads verdict

An Ohio woman who previously worked as a middle school teacher broke down in tears in a courtroom on Friday after a jury convicted her of sexually assaulting a student in a locked classroom, as reported by Dayton Daily News.

Jessica Langford, 32, was convicted of six counts of sexual battery and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor after sexually assaulting a 14-year-old student in a locked classroom in May of last year, during the last day of school, as previously reported by CrimeOnline. Her open weeping carried on for several minutes after the verdict had been read aloud.

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Oklahoma middle school teacher confesses to raping student

An Oklahoma middle school teacher has been arrested for raping one of her students, officials said.

Keri Hoffman, 35, an algebra teacher at Clinton Middle School, was arrested Sunday for multiple counts of rape involving a student, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation reports.

State officials say Hoffman and her husband drove to the Clinton Police Department on Saturday, where she confessed to having a sexual relationship with one of her 15-year-old students.

Hoffman reportedly told authorities that she used Facebook messenger to communicate with the teenage boy and set up locations for sexual contact.

She allegedly admitted to having sex with the boy numerous times since March 30, 2018, inside her car and inside her father’s detached garage.

Hoffman also told authorities that she had sex with the boy before taking him to the Capitol for the teacher walkout last week and before she dropped him off at home later that evening.

She was booked into the Custer County Jail for facilitating sexual conduct or communication with a minor by use of technology, two counts of second degree rape, and pattern of criminal offenses.

Her bond is set at $30,000.

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Child Sodomized by Classmates; Assaults Recorded on School-Issued iPads: Lawsuit

A Grandville, Mich. kindergarten student was sodomized by fellow classmates, with portions of the assaults recorded and shared, leading the boy to “cover himself with mulch’’ to avoid more harassment, according to a lawsuit filed this week.

The disturbing allegations are contained in a 23-page federal lawsuit filed in Grand Rapids by the parents of a boy who attended Century Park Learning Center starting when the boy was five years old.

School officials did not protect the boy and turned a blind eye to the abuse once it was brought to light, parents of the boy, identified in court records as Jimmy Doe, claim.

“The assailants told Jimmy that if he did not cooperate with them, or if he told about the touching and pictures, they would not be his friends and they would say the sexual activity was Jimmy’s idea,’’ the lawsuit claims.

Grandville Public Schools Superintendent Roger Bearup released a statement Thursday saying the district cannot respond in detail to the allegations.

’’However, we assure you that our focus is and always will be on the safety and care of every student who walks through our doors,’’ the statement reads.

“Litigation is meant to be an avenue to the truth,’’ Bearup says in the statement. “We patiently wait for that truth to be revealed. Until then, we will have no further comment.’’

The lawsuit claims the abuse started in the fall of 2014 and continued until April, 2015. It says four boys took Jimmy Doe to the mudroom area of the classroom where they touched and sodomized him and took photos of his genitals using classroom iPads. It occurred when kindergarten teacher Hillary Huberts attended the classroom’s ‘free time,’ the suit claims.

“The four boys directed Jimmy as to what and how he was to pose and for how long while the boys used classroom iPads to take photographs,’’ the suit claims.

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MARYLAND HIGH SCHOOL SHOOTING LIVE UPDATES: ACTIVE SHOOTER REPORTED AT GREAT MILLS

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff shed new light on the high school shooting in Maryland on Tuesday afternoon, though the shooter's motive remains unclear.

Austin Wyatt Rollins, 17, allegedly opened fire with a Glock semi-automatic handgun after speaking with a 16-year-old girl, with whom he had a prior relationship, in a Great Mills High School hallway at about 7:55 a.m., Sheriff Timothy Cameron told reporters at a press briefing.

It was not clear what spurred the shooting, which also left a 14-year-old boy wounded, Cameron said. Both victims were later rushed to area hospitals. The girl was being treated in the intensive care unit with “life-threatening critical injuries,” Cameron said. The boy was listed in stable condition.

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Wicomico school cafeterias’ health violations outnumber those at restaurants

Many Wicomico County school cafeterias are struggling to provide a basic level of hygiene, putting thousands of students at risk of food-borne illness, according to a Delmarva Now analysis of health department records.

During the past two years, 92 percent of Wicomico school food facilities have received "critical" health violations at least once. Half, meanwhile, have gotten written up during at least three separate reviews.

What's striking about the analysis isn't that cafeterias are accruing critical violations. It's that they're doing so at a rate well above their peers in the county's private restaurant sector — on 57 percent of inspections compared with 50 percent.

The number of critical violations ranged from zero at Salisbury Middle and West Salisbury Elementary to seven at Fruitland Primary.

The supervisor of the Wicomico County Health Department's inspections branch said she was unaware of the disproportionately high rate of school violations until Delmarva Now raised them with her.

“I am a little surprised they’re that high," Diane Waller said. “I would love for the number to be much lower than that.”

By and large, she said, school cafeteria managers "try to do a good job." Further, she is unaware of any reports, she said, of school-related food-borne illnesses happening in Wicomico.

The school system takes its health department reports seriously and works alongside the department to correct its violations in a timely manner, said Eric Goslee, food services supervisor for Wicomico County public schools.

“Any and all findings brought to our attention by the health department are analyzed immediately," he said in a statement in response to Delmarva Now's questions. "Our Food and Nutrition Services Team develop the appropriate course of action, and if necessary depending on the violation, collaborate with our Facilities Team to develop a response and action plan to address each violation.”

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15-year-old student arrested for assaulting teacher in Richland County classroom

A 15-year-old student was arrested and charged for assaulting a teacher Wednesday.

The minor has been charged with assault, according to the Richland County Sheriff's Department.

The incident occurred at the Academy for Success, located at 11629 Broad River Road, which is a Lexington-Richland District 5 school.

After being removed from class, the student returned and struck the male teacher in the face with a closed fist multiple times, the sheriff's department said.

The student fled on foot, but was located on Peppers Way and arrested without incident, according to the sheriff's department.

The teacher suffered non-life threatening injuries and was treated by the school nurse, the sheriff's department reported.

The student was taken to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.

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Fairfax County middle school students caught vaping on school property

Multiple students are facing discipline for vaping on school property at Franklin Middle School, according to a spokesman for Fairfax County Public Schools.

The school district would not say specifically how many students were found to have been smoking e-cigarettes during the school day, but two parents told FOX 5 nearly 20 students were suspended as a result of the behavior.

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MS-13 is ‘taking over the school,’ one teen warned before she was killed

The old minivan appeared near the school on a Tuesday morning, its Illinois plates the only thing out of place in the blue-collar suburbs of central Long Island. But as backpack-toting teenagers passed by on their way to Brentwood High, the van's doors suddenly swung open.

Out sprang members of the violent street gang MS-13, armed with baseball bats.

They attacked three 16-year-old students they suspected of being rivals before driving off. When police spotted the van in the same neighborhood the following afternoon and surrounded it at gunpoint, the MS-13 members were in the midst of trying to abduct a fourth.

"We were going to take him somewhere private and beat him to death," said Miguel Rivera, 20, according to a Suffolk County indictment.

The Dec. 6 arrests of Rivera and four others thwarted what police say would have been the sixth murder of a Brentwood High School student by MS-13 in less than two years.

But the incident also shook the school for another reason.

All but one of those arrested attended Brentwood, according to Suffolk County police. Three were unaccompanied minors who had been caught at the border and then placed in the community by a federal refugee program.

From New York to Virginia to Texas, schools in areas racked by MS-13 violence are now struggling with a sobering question. What to do when the gang isn't just in your community, but in your classrooms?

For the past year, the Trump administration has waged a nationwide crackdown on MS-13. Nowhere has this effort been more intense than in Suffolk County, where police say the gang has committed 27 murders since a surge of unaccompanied minors began arriving in 2013.

In his January State of the Union address, Trump recounted the story of Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens, two Brentwood High students killed by MS-13 on Sept. 13, 2016.

"Many of these gang members took advantage of glaring loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors and wound up in Kayla and Nisa's high school," the president said as the girls' parents, who had been invited to watch the speech at the Capitol, wiped away tears.

Faced with an influx of scores of unaccompanied minors and an uptick in gang violence, Brentwood High has been criticized both for doing too little and too much to address the problem.

A $110 million federal lawsuit, filed in December by Kayla's mother, claims administrators failed to protect her 16-year-old, allowing MS-13 to create an "environment filled with fear within the school."

Meanwhile, a class-action suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against the Trump administration alleges the school went too far, hastily labeling kids as gang members and leading to their wrongful imprisonment.

School officials say they walk a fine line, reporting illegal activity while respecting students' rights.

"We can see a gang member coming a mile away," said Carlos Sanchez, safety director for the Brentwood Free Union School District. "The problem is that it's not against the law to be a gang member, even if they identify themselves as MS.

Located 50 miles from Manhattan's skyscrapers one way and the Hamptons' oceanfront estates the other, Brentwood High School serves a community of 60,000 that was once largely Irish and Italian, then Puerto Rican and now nearly half Central American.

The sprawling school's corridors are a maze adorned with inspirational messages like "Look for Rainbows" and "Believe and Succeed." Only a few signs on classroom doors hint at the school's transformation in recent years.

"I work with and for undocumented students and families," one reads.

Starting in 2013, thousands of unaccompanied minors – most from Central America – began entering the United States illegally from Mexico each month, many turning themselves in to authorities. More than 200,000 have been detained, screened and then placed with relatives by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Nearly 5,000 have been sent to Suffolk County.

Schools are required by law to enroll and educate these students. At Brentwood High, the student population soared to 4,500, making it one of the largest high schools in the state.

"We had to open many more classes and hire more teachers," recalled Wanda Ortiz-Rivera, the school district's head of bilingual education.

But the challenge went beyond language. Many of the new students were years behind in their education. Some had never gone to school and couldn't read or write in any language.

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Teen told teacher about bullies a day before she was attacked at school, family says

A 14-year-old girl allegedly told a teacher she was being bullied at Miami Killian High School in Kendall a day before she was attacked by a group of girls.

The attack happened Thursday in the lunchroom of the high school at 10655 SW 97th Ave.

Video posted on social media shows a group of teens surrounding the girl, with one teen pouring milk over the student's head before they all start to attack her.

Authorities were said to have spoken to the girls who attacked the teen ahead of the incident, but they carried out the attack anyway.

A Miami-Dade County Public Schools spokesperson said: "School administrators and security officers quickly intervened to de-escalate the situation. Sadly, the core values of respect and restraint we work so hard to instill in our students were lacking in this case. As a result, five students face charges and will be disciplined according to the Code of Student Conduct."

The teens involved in the attack are expected to appear in court in the coming days, where they will learn what charges they face.

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