RSU 3 staff undergo suicide prevention and awareness training
Thorndike — Staff members in Regional School Unit 3 have undergone suicide prevention and awareness training and will begin training other personnel.
Phil Shibles, chairman of the RSU 3 school board, said staff members have already attended the training, known as Gatekeepers Training, in order to satisfy a state law, LD 609, An Act to Increase Suicide Awareness and Prevention in Maine Public Schools. That law requires the training be completed by the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year for high schools.
Staff at elementary and middle schools must complete the training by the start of the 2015-2016 school year, according to the statute.
The statute states that all school personnel must complete a one to two hour in-service training module for suicide prevention awareness education, while at least two school personnel must complete a one-day course in suicide prevention and intervention training. The number of personnel that must complete the one-day training course increases relative to the number of students enrolled in the district, according to the statutes.
All of the trainings must be repeated every five years, as required by the statute.
Superintendent Heather Perry said 20 personnel have gone through the one-day training program and will begin the process of training other staff in the district. She said prior to the legislation requiring the training, staff members in the district had gone through the program before.
Shibles said he went through the training years previous and praised the program's effectiveness. He said the staff members who attend the suicide and prevention training are then able to bring the information back to the district to help train all of the school personnel.
“It's an outstanding training,” he said.
Perry said even though the district is not required to have elementary and middle school personnel go through the training for this upcoming school year, those staff members will still receive the training.
The district was directly impacted by suicide after a student took their life in March. Police and administrators launched an investigation into the student's death following allegations the student was bullied. However, no evidence was uncovered by police or administrators to substantiate those allegations.
As part of the RSU 3 investigation, a report was issued regarding the district's policies in addressing bullying that took into account student, staff and parent interviews, as well as what the district could do to further improve its policies that was presented to school board members in June. The report did not analyze the circumstances surrounding the student's death.
In other business:
Board members held and executive session to evaluate Perry. The evaluation was scheduled as a result of concerns raised by Mount View Middle School boys baseball coach Pat Cronin regarding the administration not responding to concerns brought by a coach and other issues. Shibles said no action was taken after the executive session was concluded.
Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ben Holbrook is a reporter for The Republican Journal covering general news.
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