January 28th, 2010

Protocol for dealing with a self-harming teen in U.S. school

Very quick question; it’s literally one sentence I need to amend, but it’s a sentence with significant ramifications. Short story.

Time period: unspecified, modern day (late 90s to present)
Location: unspecified, New York City or similar large urban center

If a child (around age 15) is caught causing themselves physical injury in school, what is an educator or staff person required to do? Notify parents? Send the chlild home? Require the kid to go to counseling on-campus? Require the parents to send the kid to counseling? Or just, “Go to the principal’s office right now!” The character in question is in an altered state of mind (let’s say “magically” or “supernaturally” altered, just for purposes of discussion) and is not fully aware of what she is doing to herself. The school is a private religious one (religion unspecified, Protestant). The damage is relatively minor — the girl is drawing on her arm with a pen and doesn’t realize she has broken skin when she is stopped by a teacher.

protocol public school child self harm new york city

protocol private school child self harm new york city

protocol public school teen self harm new york city

protocol private school child self harm new york city

What I’m finding are instructions geared toward hospital staff and guidelines for what educators SHOULD do (in order to be understanding and effective), not what rules/procedures they are REQUIRED to follow.

Likely the protocol would differ by area, county, city, or state — I just need some idea so that the characters in the story aren’t blatantly flouting a reasonable, general expectation of law.

Thank you!

ETA: Thanks for all this, everyone. I think I can cobble together something plausible based on your answers here (although it will likely need more than "one sentence" this time around).

Thanks again!