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LA County: Schools to have 10 person mental health team to assess students

July 31, 2018, Northridge (CA) Patch: LA County Tackles School Violence As Start Of School Year Looms Back-to-school orientation in Los Angeles County will include training to prevent school violence, as the Board of Supervisors looks to expand a program that identifies and deals with threats on campus. Supervisors Janice Hahn and Kathryn Barger co-authored a motion aimed at strengthening the School Threat Assessment Response Team, a 10-person team of mental health professionals that helps principals, counselors, school security officers and parents who raise a red flag about individual students. … START team members evaluate students who talk about suicide, make threats or exhibit other alarming behavior, visiting the student's school and home as part of the assessment. In most cases, counseling is recommended, though more serious situations may lead to students being placed on a 72-hour hold in a psychiatric facility or arrested. "In partnership with law enforcement and our schools, the START program is an important tool that can work to prevent tragedies by responding to clear warning signs and cries for help by those who may be a danger to themselves or others," Barger said. … Barger said teachers are a critical part of the warning system around potential violence, because kids spend so much time in school. … Teaching kids, especially those with traumatic life experiences, how to handle their emotions is another important piece of training, Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told the board. …

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