The safety and security of our students, staff, and schools continues to be a top priority. In collaboration with our students, families and community partners, we have made a number of shifts to ensure that we are aligned with best practices and keeping our schools as safe as possible. Keep reading below for information on a few important safety initiatives being implemented across our network and helpful emergency communications information.
Standard Response Protocols
Simple, straightforward Standard Response Protocols are among the best ways to organize a safety plan that staff and students can remember and act on. We have aligned our emergency response protocols with the I Love You Guys Foundation Standard Response Protocols. These protocols are a national best practice and are supported by local first responders. A short summary can be found here.
GoGuardian Beacon notifies KIPP DC’s mental health practitioners if the system detects that a child searches, creates, views, or interacts with online content that could be related to suicide, self-harm, or threats of violence while using KIPP DC computers.
Why did our school decide to use GoGuardian Beacon?
Students spend much of their time online on school-owned devices and accounts, and school staff often serve as first responders when a student’s mental health is suffering. In 2015, 8.6 percent of high school students reported having made a suicide attempt over the past 12 months. Suicide is now one of the most pressing issues facing our youth, and schools are choosing to combat this issue by taking various measures including monitoring using GoGuardian Beacon. GoGuardian Beacon is a technology that helps compliment an existing suicide prevention program.
GoGuardian Beacon was selected as one resource to help identify early warning signs of potential suicide and self-harm behavior among students. Neither GoGuardian Beacon nor any school/district can ever detect every sign of suicide or every instance when a student is suicidal. If we suspect a student is at risk, we want to take measures to notify whoever is taking care of the child at any given moment when that student may need someone to talk to. During school hours, counselors can locate and ensure the student is safe. Outside of school hours, that might be parents or guardians to step in as the closest and most available caretaker at that time.
What is GoGuardian Beacon?
Beacon is a suicide and self-harm prevention software for schools designed to help staff proactively identify at-risk students so they can quickly get them assistance. Specifically, Beacon is built to identify when a student accesses content or exhibits online behaviors that may be related to self-harm or suicide. This software helps notify the school officials that are assigned to the escalation list in Beacon. As a reminder, it is important to know that neither the district/school nor GoGuardian Beacon cannot detect every sign of suicide or every instance in which a student is suicidal.
How does Beacon allow schools to get parents/guardians involved?
Beacon allows schools to turn on a feature that will notify parents/guardians via email after school hours. This means different things for each school depending on the notifications they set. We recommend reaching out to your school/district for their parent notifications settings.
How do I talk with my child about suicide?
Please contact your school/district for their recommendations.
To access online videos, tips and advice for parents, please visit the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide at http://www.sptsusa.org .
How does GoGuardian protect my child’s data?
While GoGuardian provides some important information that parents can access directly, please contact your school/district if you have specific questions about how your school is using GoGuardian such as which products and settings that your child’s school has selected. Each organization decides which GoGuardian products and settings to select according to their school policies and community.
GoGuardian has also partnered with school suicide prevention efforts in developing, designing, and supporting its GoGuardian Beacon product from the ground up. For example, GoGuardian has partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (a nationally-recognized not-for-profit organization dedicated to suicide prevention), and the American Association of Suicidology. These suicide prevention experts have helped GoGuardian understand best practices for student suicide prevention efforts and substantially informed GoGuardian’s products and practices.
Why are Parent/Guardian Notifications available only after school hours?
GoGuardian attempts to notify the person who is taking care of the student at any given moment, especially when that student needs someone to talk to immediately. Outside of school hours, a student’s parent(s)/guardian(s), are often the closest and most available caretaker. An important part of this process is for parents to learn how to support kids in distress in a way that allows them to feel safe, and help students get professional help when needed.
Emergency Communications Guidelines
KIPP DC is committed to communicating with families in a timely manner about emergency or crisis situations. The information below can help families understand when and how to expect communications from KIPP DC.
Update Your Contact Information
Make sure your child’s school has the correct contact details for you is critical to notifying you. This includes current email and phone number. This information is gathered during the enrollment or re-enrollment process. Any changes after that should be done by contacting your child’s school. We cannot stress enough how important your support with this is as we will use multiple outlets to share updates with you (phone, text, email, social media).
Follow Us & Stay Informed
Ensure you are following KIPP DC on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as we will also communicate critical information there. In addition, please bookmark our website as certain notices and alerts are posted there.
See Something, Say Something
If you notice anything that could endanger the school community, notify school officials immediately. Encourage your child to do the same. Talk to your child about the importance of following instructions during emergencies and share your family’s emergency plans with them.
In any emergency, our primary focus is the safety of students and staff. Please stay calm and follow our recommended guidelines. It’s crucial not to call the school during emergencies, as it may disrupt critical communication. Equally important, refrain from rushing to your child’s school. Emergency responders depend on access to phone lines, offices, and parking areas. Calls and visits to the school could potentially jeopardize your safety and that of others. You will be notified of a reunification location, if necessary. Your cooperation is essential for the most effective response to any emergency situation.
After the Emergency
In the aftermath of an emergency, we recommend parents to:
- Listen to your child’s worries, validate their feelings, and reassure your child’s safety.
- If concerns persist, don’t hesitate to reach out to school staff or our mental health team for assistance.