Administrative Procedure - Protocol for Responding to Students with Social, Emotional, or Mental Health Problems
Student Support Committee
Each Building Principal shall annually appoint a building-level Student Support Committee that shall have the tasks described in this Administrative Procedure. Committee members must be school staff members who are qualified by professional licensing or experience to address issues concerning students who may have social, emotional, or mental health problems. As needed on a case-by-case basis, the Student Support Committee may request the involvement of the Building Principal, relevant teachers, and the parents/guardians. Records produced and shared among Committee members may be subject to laws governing student records. Confidential information given by a student to a therapist is governed by the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act, 740 ILCS 110/1 et seq.
Staff members should refer a student suspected of having social, emotional, or mental health problems to the building-level Student Support Committee. The Student Support Committee will review information about a referred student, including prior interventions, and suggest appropriate steps for referral and follow-up. The Student Support Committee may offer strategies to a referred student’s classroom teachers and parents/guardians about ways they can manage, address, and/or enhance the student’s social and emotional development and mental health. In addition, the Student Support Committee may recommend coordinated educational, social work, school counseling, and/or student assistance services within the school as well as referrals to outside agencies.
Referrals under this procedure are unrelated to the special education evaluation process and do not trigger the District’s timeline for evaluations. However, the use of these procedures shall not circumvent the special education process. See Administrative Procedure 6:120-AP, Special Education Procedures Assuring the Implementation of Comprehensive Programming for Children with Disabilities and Suspected Disabilities.
School Counseling, Social Work, and Psychological Services
The Student Support Committee may request school counselors, social workers, psychologists, and school nurses to provide support and consultation to teachers and school staff about strategies to promote the social and emotional development and mental health of all students. They may also be requested to provide screening and early detection approaches to identify students with social, emotional, and mental health problems.
Written permission from the parent/guardian is required for any on-going social work and psychological services. “On-going” is defined as more than 5 contacts in which the student receivedcurriculum-based services, progress monitoring, assessments or consultation services. Written consent may be obtained through an IEP or other designated form. That consent does not entitle parents/guardians to know the contents of all that is discussed. School counselors, social workers, and psychologists will inform parents/guardians of all issues that pose a serious health and/or safety risk; they will inform the Building Principal of any health or safety risks that are present in the school
As appropriate, the Student Support Committee may recommend that a student participate in a variety of psycho-educational groups. These groups are typically led by school counselors, social workers, or psychologists, but are not structured as therapeutic services. Groups are designed to help students better understand issues and develop strategies to manage issues of concern to them that may, if not addressed, interfere significantly with the students’ educational progress or school adjustment. Groups have a written curriculum that guides discussion over a set period of time, generally 5 weeks. A student may participate in a group without parent/guardian permission for one such time period; subsequent enrollment in the same group requires parent/guardian permission.
Students in a group who present significant concern and for whom therapeutic services must be considered will be referred to the social workers, psychologists, or school counselors for individual consultation. (See above description of these services).
School and Community Linkages
When possible, the Student Support Committee shall seek to establish linkages and partnerships with diverse community organizations to provide a coordinated approach to addressing children’s social and emotional development and mental health needs.
LEGAL REF.: Children’s Mental Health Act of 2003, 405 ILCS 49/1 et seq.
Reviewed & Adopted: August 23, 2004
Revisions Adopted: February 27, 2006