PS 120 Queen Student Safety


Identifying and Responding to Students in Crisis

Warning Signs

A key part of keeping our school community safe is establishing a culture in which we all play a part in being aware of signals of a student in distress that could potentially lead to an unsafe situation.  Be alert of the following warning signs of a student in crisis, as you play a crucial role in identifying, responding to, and reporting the presence of distressed students:

  • Sharp changes in academic performance or behavior

  • Physical signs such as a decline in personal hygiene

  • Social withdrawal

  • Strange behaviors or impaired thinking including delusional thinking, paranoia, agitation, noticeable restlessness, or hyperactivity

  • Exaggerated emotional responses including intense anxiety, extreme irritability, prolonged depressed mood, crying spells

  • Threatening statements or behaviors

  • Written or illustrated work that may indicate distress such as weapons, images or depictions of violence or death, and/or suicide

  • Indications of child abuse, maltreatment or neglect as outlined in Chancellor’s Regulation A-750.

Reporting Procedures

It is important for all staff to remember that teachers and school staff should not determine if a threat is credible on their own. Any threat that is made or presence of warning signs that could be indicative of a student in crisis should be reported to guidance or administration who will make a final determination about next steps. Staff should report these noticings immediately; nothing takes precedence over the safety of our students and school community.

“If you know something, say something”

In addition to staff being alert and aware of warning signs for a student in crisis, it is imperative that our students feel comfortable coming to an adult with issues or concerns.  Students may become aware of one or some of the warning signs through their interactions with their peers in school, in their neighborhood, or online. If a student has a suspicion that a classmate may be exhibiting potentially violent or dangerous behavior, they should come to school staff to report it. Be sure to maintain an environment of respect and rapport with your students so that they feel that you are a resource to them if they need to report. This is aligned with Chancellor Carranza’s mission of encouraging students to speak up if they become aware of a threat or situation involving bullying or harassment.  Students should be reminded of the motto “If you know something, say something.”