Florida School Toolkit for K-12 Educators to Prevent Suicide

63. What do you think about a student not being allowed in school until there has been an evaluation in the community and a mental health provider says the student is safe to return to school? A suicidal student needs to receive a thorough suicide assessment performed by a community- based mental health professional. All students have a right to a free and appropriate education. I do not believe a school has any legal right to deny a suicidal student access to school unless they are believed to be a threat to others. A suicidal student who is not allowed at school is out of their routine, likely to be unsupervised and to feel that they are being punished. Schools need to convince parents of the need for treatment without denying the student access to their school. I encourage school personnel to coordinate with the student’s parents and community-based providers to avoid or minimize the student being out of school. 64. Is there a mental health instruction requirement for Florida school students? Y es. Starting with the 2019–2020 school year, all grade 6 through 12 students receive five hours of instruction on mental health issues, annually. In addition to warning signs and coping mechanisms, students learn how to use crisis lines and make anonymous reports on cyberbullying, substance abuse, and suicide via the Fortify Florida app. More information can be found at fldoe.org . Numerous Florida school districts are also using the Suite 360 Mental Health and Prevention Program described at navigate360.com. Florida S.T.E.P.S.