Social/emotional support and intervention is a collaboration between administrators, teachers, parents, counselors, school & school psychologists. By building student skills in communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity we prepare students for learning and for life. Our work covers prevention, as well as targeted and intensive intervention for those who need additional support. KPS has a district crisis response team that responds when unfortunate situations occur in our schools.
KPS is staffed with a guidance counselor, nurse, psychologist, teachers, and administrators who are highly trained in supporting students. Through extensive training they are able to assess students at risk for suicide, conflict resolution, bullying, and drug and alcohol abuse education. In addition to these roles, all school staff are taught the signs and symptoms of at-risk behaviors. All staff are here to listen to students.
Further resources and information on bullying, suicide prevention, grief, and more can be found using the menu options on this page.
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived imbalance of power. Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
What is cyberbullying?
Instead of happening face-to-face, cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using computers, cell phones and other electronic devices. Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social media, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.
We all have a role — how to prevent and/or respond to bullying
All kids involved in bullying—whether they are bullied, bully others, or see bullying — may experience negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance use, and suicide.
Parents, school staff, and community members all play an important role in supporting our students when providing for their physical, social and emotional needs. A variety of resources are available regarding bullying/harassment prevention:
StopBullying.Gov (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services): This site provides information from various government agencies on how children, teens, young adults, parents, educators, and community members can prevent or stop bullying.
Cyberbullying.org (Cyberbullying Research Center): The Cyberbullying Research Center offers resources for parents, such as cyberbullying warning signs to watch for; tips for how to prevent cyberbullying; what to do when your child is cyberbullied; and what to do when your child cyberbullies others.
https://www.safe2helpne.org (Nebraska Anonymous Reporting System): provides a safe and easy way to anonymously report any threatening behaviors or activities endangering themselves or someone they know.
Supports in Schools
KPS staff are highly trained in supporting students. Through extensive training, they are able to assess students at risk for suicide, conflict resolution, bullying, and drug and alcohol abuse education. In addition to these roles, all school staff is taught the signs and symptoms of at-risk behaviors. Our professionals are here to listen to students.
Social-emotional learning (SEL) is not a one-size-fits-all approach in Kenesaw schools. Each school determines which SEL programs addressing bullying will be most effective when considering the needs of their specific school and the ages it serves. Examples of the variety of SEL programming addressing bullying offered throughout the district include Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), Rachel’s Challenge/ILoveUGuys, and Random Acts of Kindness.
In addition to programming, KPS reinforce protective factors for students and families such as:
Promoting positive relationships with adults in school and at home
Creating a positive and inclusive culture and climate at the school
Teaching adaptive coping and problem-solving skills, including conflict resolution
Providing easy access to mental health and health providers
Emphasizing the importance of open communication with youth and families
Death is part of life, but no matter our age, it can be a struggle to deal with the loss of a loved one. It can be especially difficult for young children who are unable to comprehend what has happened or teenagers who are struggling with overwhelming feelings.
Caring adults, whether parents, teachers, counselors or friends, can help children during this difficult time. If adults are open, honest and loving, experiencing the loss of someone loved can be a chance for young people to learn about both the joy and pain that comes from caring deeply for others.
Parents and guardians, you are the very best support system in meeting your child’s needs. You can provide the best explanation that fits with your values and beliefs. We encourage families to talk briefly following a loss of life and to acknowledge any feelings that may surface.
Children depend on adults. If we are unavailable for them, they have no one to turn to for help with their confusion, doubts, questions, and fears. Adults need to be able to comfort a child, even if it appears that the child is unaffected by death. Remember, it is more frightening for a child to be sent away than to stay and see a parent or other adult cry because of anguish. If you believe you are unable to comfort your child because of your own grief, find someone who can. Don’t try to deal with the grief of a child if you can’t deal with your own.
The needs of all children at this time include:
Clear, understandable, and developmentally appropriate information
Reassurance that they are safe
The feeling of being involved and cared for
Help in identifying and understanding the grief of others around them
Acknowledgment of, and respect for, their own thoughts and feelings
Continuation of usual interests and activities i.e. school, birthday parties, sports
What to Expect
During this period of sadness, you may notice a variety of reactions from your child. You may find your child unusually talkative or quiet. Your child may ask a lot of questions, be anxious, or may want to cling to you more than usual. These are all signals of the need for a little extra support. You may also notice no reaction from your child, and that is okay too. Children can experience a wide range of feelings and behaviors that are normal when dealing with this kind of tragedy.
Strive to recognize when children are in pain. Death hurts, and children need to be comforted and reassured that someone is there to help them through it. Reassurance is both physical and verbal. Hold your child to comfort them. Reassure them that it’s okay to cry, feel sorry for themselves and talk about their fears.
Check up periodically on how children are coping with their loss. Ask them directly if there is any help you can give. If you offer help, be sure to follow up on what you say you will do.
Remember, children are individuals. They will all grieve differently. Don’t be too quick to tell a child how to grieve. Don’t be surprised if children do not appear to be grieving. Sometimes they are trying to control their feelings.
Talk About It
Encourage children to talk about death. The real question is not whether we should talk to children about death, but when and how. When you talk about death, it is important to include feelings. Don’t be afraid of displaying emotions. In talking with children, especially young ones, it is important to use the words “death, dying, and dead,” and to explain that the body ceases to function. If we talk about death as “sleep,” the child might become afraid to go to bed. Children respect adults who are honest and open about death. Talk about death as permanent without euphemisms, myths, half-truths or fables. They need reassurance that death is NOT a result of their negative thought, feelings, wishes, or actions. If you select materials to help explain death and dying to children, please pay attention to your child’s age and intellectual development.
Suicide is a complicated matter that doesn’t have one main cause. Certain factors such as substance abuse, depression or anxiety may prevent a person from thinking clearly about the situation. Sometimes these conditions are not identified or noticed; other times, someone will show obvious symptoms or signs.
Know the signs — The more warning signs the greater the risk.
Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
Looking for a way to kill oneself
Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain
Talking about being a burden to others
Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
Acting anxious, agitated, or reckless
Sleeping too little or too much
Withdrawing or feeling isolated
Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
Displaying extreme mood swings
Risk Factors — Situations that could increase the likelihood of suicidal thoughts.
Previous suicide attempt
Loss of health
Death or illness of a loved one
Decrease in grades or performances
Family history of depression
Someone close to you has died by suicide
Talk about it — Asking the suicide question does not increase the risk.
Ask directly – “Are you thinking about killing yourself?”
How you ask the question is less important than that you ask it.
Talk to the person alone in a private setting.
How not to ask the question – “You’re not suicidal are you?”
Suicide is not the problem, only the solution to a perceived insolvable problem.
Listen to the problem and give them your full attention.
Offer help in any form.
Then ask, “Will you go with me to get help?” or “Will you let me help you?” and “Will you promise not to kill yourself until we’ve found some help?”
Any willingness to accept help, even if in the future, is a good outcome. The best referral involves taking the person directly to someone who can help. The next best referral is getting a commitment from them to accept help, and then making the arrangements to get that help.
A number of external resources are available to support students and their families in crisis. To name a few: