Florida School Toolkit for K-12 Educators to Prevent Suicide

ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND CONTRIBUTOR Scott Poland, Ed.D. A professor at the Nova Southeastern University (NSU) College of Psychology in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Scott Poland is also the director of NSU’s Suicide and Violence Prevention Office. He has worked in schools as a psychologist and a director of psychological services for 26 years. Poland is still very involved in school crisis response and consultation. He has recently provided on-site assistance after suicides in several school districts across the nation. As a survivor of the suicide of his father, he is among those who never believed a suicide could happen in their own family. After facing the suicides of several students while serving as director of psychological services in Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District in Houston, Texas, Poland became dedicated to suicide prevention. In 1982, the district superintendent asked him what he was going to do about student suicide. Figuring out how to prevent youth suicide has been his chief professional priority ever since, and he has presented more than 1,000 times on the topics of school crisis and suicide intervention. A licensed psychologist and an internationally recognized expert on youth suicide and school crisis, Poland has authored and coauthored five books on the subject. His first book, Suicide in Schools , was published in 1989 and has been translated into several languages. Additionally, he and his wife, Donna, a former educator and school principal, wrote the Texas Suicide Safer Schools report for the state of Texas, as well as the Montana Crisis Action School Toolkit on Suicide ( Montana CAST-S ). Poland is a past president of the National Association of School Psychologists and a past director of the Prevention Division of the American Association of Suicidology. He has testified about the mental health needs of children before the U.S. Congress on four occasions. He has also assisted school communities after 16 school shootings and after acts of terrorism, natural disasters, and numerous suicide clusters. Most recently, he provided suicide prevention training attended by personnel representing every school district in Florida. Additionally, for providing psychological strategic planning and training for staff members and parents immediately after the Parkland school shootings, he received the Helping Parkland Heal Award from the City of Parkland. Currently, Poland is also helping New Jersey develop a suicide prevention toolkit. Florida S.T.E.P.S.