Social Emotional Support
Though the possibility is painful to consider, our educators and school leaders step up to the challenge of preparing to protect children in the case of violence erupting at school. We also encourage any staff member who may need emotional support to reach out to someone at his or her school or access the employee assistance program available through AAPS Human Resources. We are fortunate in Ann Arbor to have access to mental health support services and we want to make that important connection for each other.
In addition, for parents and community members who may be suffering distress or need support in speaking with children, the American Psychological Association offers a variety of resources, including How To Talk With Children About Difficult News.
Support for Individuals Who Struggle
We understand the concerns that arise with student safety at school, and we want all our stakeholders to be reassured that we take the safety of our students and staff very seriously and work to provide a safe learning and working environment as well as connection to resources for those who are struggling.
We take reports of any kind of misconduct very seriously as well as reports of students or staff who may be at risk and immediately take steps to investigate these reports and take appropriate action. We are always working in close partnership with mental health partners as well as the Ann Arbor Police Department and other law enforcement agencies to ensure that all measures have been taken to assure the safety of our students and staff at school.
In addition, we are most fortunate to have professional and committed counseling and other mental health support team members dedicated to social emotional development in the Ann Arbor Public Schools. These individuals work tirelessly to observe and serve students, staff, and families and to meet them at their point of need. These professionals are vigilant in monitoring and engaging with our students, communicating with parents, and ensuring that students and parents are connected with outside resources when appropriate.
Steps that may be taken when we become aware of concerns at school include:
- Direct communication with students, parents, and staff as is appropriate
- Emergency removal from school for students and/or staff who may be at risk to themselves or others
- Conduct comprehensive threat assessment protocol
- Require a mental health assessment when particular situations of concern arise
- Report concerns to Child Protective Services, and
- Other protective measures appropriate to specific situations
In situations of concern, we remain in communication with parents of students involved.
For those who may prefer to share a concern without revealing their identity, we recommend using the OK2Say tool, where tips can be submitted 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week by telephone, text message, email, mobile app, or via the OK2SAY website at http://www.michigan.gov/ok2say