LRHSD BOE discusses student suicide and transgender policies

During the latest meeting, the board approved a revised student suicide policy and discussed a transgender policy.

During the latest Lenape Regional High School District Board of Education meeting, the board approved a revised policy that includes the prevention of student suicide.

The policy was revised to allow a change of practice for counselors. A school counselor now has the ability to conduct a preliminary assessment. According to Assistant Superintendent Matthew Webb, the former policy did not allow any room for discretion. 

For example, if a student vents that they did horrible on a calculus test and says, “I just want to kill myself,” then under the former policy, if a student makes an ideation like that, they would of had to get picked up by their parents and be given an assessment by a professional, according to Webb. 

“We wanted to give the counselors some ability to make that determination,” said Webb. 

The board also approved policies on first reading: 

  • The district is considering a new policy to ensure the fair treatment of transgender students. The policy, titled Policy 5756 Transgender Students, will follow the guidelines released in the state Department of Education that describes accurate definitions and terms, such as gender expression and gender identity, sexual orientation, cisgender, binary, and gender expansion, among others. The document will be a frame of reference for teachers, staff and students, according to Webb.  
  • In Policy 2431.3, titled Practice and Pre-Season Heat-Acclimation for School-Sponsored Athletics and Extra-curricular Activities, the school would have a new tool to measure the safety of hot weather during sports. The policy is based on guidelines from the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. It recommends that districts use a wet bulb globe temperature meter – a type of apparent temperature used to estimate the effect of temperature, humidity, wind speed, and visible and infrared radiation (sunlight) on humans – allowing the athletic department to determine if the temperature is safe for students to practice or play a game.
    “It’s just another measure to make sure we’re keeping our kids healthy and safe, especially in the summer,” said Webb.

These policies will be considered on second reading during the next BOE meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 21, at 7:30 p.m. at the Lenape District Administration Building, located at 93 Willow Grove Road, Shamong.