For the parents and patrons of the Fulton School District
December 6, 2019
A message from the Superintendent
Dear Parents and Patrons,
One of the goals for Fulton Public Schools is to keep your student(s) safe and help them be productive school citizens every day. Consequently, this Focus issue is continuing to provide you with information regarding student health issues.
The Vaping YouTube (link below) is a local production of material researched and prepared by Lauren Jacobs our Coordinator of Student Health Services. Even though a lot of vaping material is bantered about in the general press, Mrs. Jacobs is providing information pertinent to your student in a quick format. Also, note the vaping items displayed on the table in the video were confiscated from Fulton students during school hours. Mrs. Jacobs can be reached at 573-590-8110.
Also, included in this issue is a follow up to the suicide video that was in the November 22 issue of the Fulton Focus. Our social workers compiled a quick list of suicide warning signs and response suggestions. Current Social Workers Brittany Clingman and George Garner can be reached at 573-590-8000 if you have questions.
As indicated, we wish to keep your student and his/her classmates safe and help them be productive school citizens every day. The FPS staff is always ready to answer your questions or provide assistance if requested.
Thank you for sending great students for us to work with!
Jacque A. Cowherd, Ed.D.
Warning signs of Suicide and How to Respond
Suicide Warning Signs
- Suicidal threats in the form of direct (“I am going to kill myself”) and indirect (“I wish I could fall asleep and never wake up again”) statements.
- Suicide notes and plans (including online postings)
- Prior suicidal behavior
- Making final arrangements (e.g., making funeral arrangements, writing a will, giving away prized possessions, saying out of place goodbyes).
- Preoccupation with death.
- Drastic and sudden changes in behavior, appearance, thoughts and/or feelings.
- A drastic drop in grades and performance
- Looking for a way to end their lives, such as searching online for methods
- Withdrawing from activities
- Isolating from family and friends
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Uncharacterized aggression
- Mood- People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:
- Loss of interest
- Relief/Sudden Improvement
How do I respond to a youth who may be suicidal?
Youth who are suicidal may not seek direct help, however recognizing the warning signs can be beneficial to start a conversation. Research shows that asking a youth directly if they are thinking about committing suicide does not increase their chances of contemplating or committing the act. When responding:
- Remain calm
- Ask them directly if they are thinking about suicide
- Focus on their well-being and do not be accusatory
- Be open to listening
- Do not judge
- Reassure them that there is help and that they will not feel like this forever
- Provide constant supervision, do not leave them alone until they are with a professional for help.
- Remove any means of self-harm.
Missouri Student Survey
School districts throughout Missouri have been asked to participate in the Missouri Student Survey every other year since 1991. With the inclusion of a violence component in 1995, the instrument became the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities (SDFSC) Survey. This year the Missouri Institute of Mental Health is asking districts to collect data from students at each grade level from sixth grade through twelfth grade.
The results of the survey are used to assist the school district in the evaluation and planning of its comprehensive school health program, prevention activities for students, and provide information necessary for local grant applications. Specifically, the results of the survey indicate the extent of tobacco, drug and alcohol use, as well as bullying, mental health, and other information. Here are two questions from the survey:
During the past 12 months, how many times were you in a physical fight?
During the past 30 days, on how many days did you smoke cigarettes?
Students are not asked to identify themselves and no individual student responses are reported or maintained.
If you would prefer that your child opt out of this survey, please contact the school counselor at your child’s building no later than January 10th, 2020.
Late Start Survey Results
Many suggestions are made that a late start, as other districts have implemented, might be an effective option for FPS on inclement weather days such as November 12th. Due to the potential effect on parent/caregiver work schedules, we have not arbitrarily considered a late start option. Hence, a brief survey to gather opinions from parents, faculty, and staff was sent last week. Thank you for responding to the ‘Late Start’ survey. The survey response rate was 41% with 67% indicating that a late start option should be considered.
The only Late Start Option that will be considered is a 2-hour option. If implemented, all start times will be adjusted by two hours. For example: If there is a 2-hour late start, START times would be pushed back by 2 hours with normal release times. If your child normally gets on the bus at 7:30, he/she would get on the bus at 9:30. If your child's building start time is 8:05, the start time for that building on the late start day would be 10:05. BacPac would open at 8 a.m. instead of 6 a.m. Breakfast would NOT be served.
Future inclement weather decisions will continue to be assessed based on current road conditions, the ability of various agencies clearing roads, FPS parking lot conditions, reasonably expected weather conditions and conditions of normal walkways. Our current practice of striving to make inclement weather cancellations by 5:30 a.m. will continue, when at all possible. Cancellations are announced via FPS text messaging, phone calls, and the web site. Local television news stations will also be notified.
Are you READY?????
Monday, December 9 --NO SCHOOL-- Professional Development Day
Wednesday, December 11-- Board of Education Meeting 7 p.m. FHS Library
Monday, December 23 -- Friday, January 3 -- Winter Break
Monday, January 6 --NO SCHOOL-- Professional Development Day
Tuesday, January 7 - Classes Resume for 2nd Semester