The San Benito High School Board of Trustees on July 11 approved the first reading and public hearing of a suicide prevention program mandated by the state.
“This is a new board policy for us," said Director of Educational Services Cindi Krokower, who noted that it is based on a new state law, Assembly Bill 2246, scheduled to go into effect at the beginning of this school year. "It’s looking at strategies for suicide prevention, intervention and post-vention at schools."
The bill requires schools serving students in grades 7 to 12 to adopt a state-mandated program in which district personnel develop measures and strategies for suicide prevention. Staff development on suicide awareness and prevention will be provided for teachers, counselors and district staff.
Board member Patty Nehme said she appreciated what was being done, noting, “Especially since we did have a suicide this year, so it’s definitely nothing that hasn’t touched us.”
Earlier this year a 16-year-old student committed suicide, prompting the SBHS officials and the Hollister Police Department to recommend suicide prevention resources and encouraging the community to know what signs to look out for.
The board will conduct a second hearing about the proposed policy and is expected to adopt the policies at the next regular meeting.
The board also approved a motion to hire a public information and community relations officer to handle internal and external communication including “communication with the press, communication via social media, drafting letters on behalf of the superintendent and the principal, press releases and building an alumni network,” said Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum.
The applicant must have a California teaching credential, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and five years of experience.