Student Safety Concerns

Are you concernced about a student?

I need immediate help:

Call Public Safety at 802.654.2911


Saint Michael’s is known for caring well for our students. Caring well means making an effort to get to know our students, supporting them in their successes and disappointments, challenging them to stretch beyond their comfort zone to grow and flourish into adulthood.

We notice our students, and with that, we notice when our students are struggling.  If you are concerned about a student, please let the resources on this page reassure you and guide your response.

What behavior could I see?

Often we just know when something doesn’t seem right. Our concern can be traced to a gut reaction. In order to pinpoint that concern, here are a few ways to articulate your specific concern(s) to others.

Academic indicators

Decline in the quality of work
Repeated absences
Disturbing content in work
Continuous classroom disruptions

Safety Risk Indicators

Unprovoked anger or hostility
Making implied or direct threats to harm self and/or others
Academic assignments dominated by themes of rage, extreme hostility, hopelessness, worthlessness, despair, acting out, suicide, or other violence

Psychological Indicators

Self-disclosure of personal distress that could include family problems, financial problems, depression, grief, or thoughts of suicide
Excessive tearfulness, panicked reactions, irritability or unusual apathy
Verbal abuse
Expressions of concern about the student by their peers

Physical Indicators

Marked changes in physical appearance including hygiene, or weight loss/gain
Excessive fatigue/sleep disturbance
Intoxication, hangovers, or smelling of alcohol
Disoriented or “out of it”

What do I say?

Speaking with students is as hard and as easy as it sounds. If you’re feeling concerned about how to approach a student, here are a few helpful ideas:

Talking with a student when I am concerned about them

Speak to the student 1:1.

Ask open-ended questions like: “can you tell me a bit about what is going on?”

Reflect their thoughts and feelings back to them: “You’re thinking that you don’t have what it takes to get through this.” (thought) and “You’re feeling pretty frustrated.” (feeling)

Provide empathy and validation: “I’ve been there too.”  “It’s okay that you are having a hard time.  This is hard material.”

Highlight strengths and successes: “You’ve made it through hard times before, and I know you can make it through this too.”  “You can do this.”

Helping a student get to counseling or academic enrichment

Start with their thoughts and experiences: “Have you ever thought about counseling/academic supports before?”

Normalize the counseling/academic support experience: “A lot of students find it helpful to talk to a counselor/academic support person when they’re having these kinds of things going on.”

Explore their reluctance: “What has gotten in the way of you getting help?”  “What would keep you from talking to a counselor/academic support person about these things?”  “Could it be worth taking that step even though it is difficult?”

Provide hope and support: “A lot of students use the services at Bergeron/Academic Enrichment Commons and find it helpful.”   “I think counseling/academic support might be really beneficial to you at this time.”  “If you’d like, I can help you make the call/get online/go to the office to schedule an appointment.

A few other helpful notes

Be proactive: notice signs of distress, engage students early on, reach out, set limits on disruptive behavior.

Be direct: ask students directly and 1:1 if they are struggling, are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs in your class, are feeling confused and overwhelmed, or are having thoughts of harming themselves or others.

Listen sensitively and carefully: distressed students need to be heard and helped, and it might be hard for them to articulate their real concerns and feelings. Ask open-ended questions and offer words that convey hope and your desire to help.

Offer support and avoid escalation: distressed students may be sensitive to criticism and/or easily provoked. Be non-confrontational and calm.  Avoid being threatening, humiliating, or intimidating.

Follow through:  Direct the student to the physical location of the resource you have referred them to and then follow up to see if they were able to connect there.  If it makes sense, call ahead or walk them there.

Consultation and documentation: Document your interactions with distressed students and follow up with your department chair/area director after any incident.

Safety first: the safety of the campus community is the top priority when a student is displaying threatening or violent behavior.  Do not hesitate to call for help.  

FERPA and HIPPA

How do FERPA and HIPPA fit in?

Neither FERPA nor HIPPA prohibits the disclosure of behavioral observations of students in the classroom. Both FERPA and HIPPA allows faculty and staff the discretion to consult with appropriate members of the Saint Michael’s community when in need of perspective, suggestions, resources, referrals or assistance. FERPA allows this sharing as part of an “educational need to know.” HIPPA allows the sharing of information from non-confidential resources to confidential resources.

More information on FERPA 

Resources

We believe there is much we can do individually.  Noticing a student, caring for a student, simply showing concern through empathetic questions alleviates a lot of loneliness, anxiety, and stress. Sometimes a caring conversation or email is all that is needed.  But if you’ve tried these avenues and the situation still seems amiss, or if you are concerned about a student’s health, safety, or even retention, there are other resources here to help our students:

On-Campus Resources

24/7

Switchboard: 802-654-2000
Assistant Dean on Duty: Call Switchboard at 802-654-2000 ask for the AD on duty

Monday-Friday, daytime hours

Associate Dean of the College: 802-654-2347
Academic Enrichment Commons: 802-654-2262
*Bergeron Wellness Center: 802-654-2234*
Center for Multicultural Affairs and Services: 802-654-2663
*Edmundite Campus Ministry (clergy): 802.654.2333*
Public Safety: 802-654-2374
Residential Life: 802-654-2566
Title IX Coordinator: 802-654-2271

* confidential

Many of the above offices collaborate with regularly scheduled meetings to confer about students needing extra support, academically and otherwise. Know when you share your concerns, this group is notified to widen the support net for our students.

Local Resources

Emergency 911

First Call Crisis Hotline: 802.488.7777
Crisis Text Line: Text HELP to 741741

Online Resources

There are so many good resources to be found online to complement our on-campus work.

Bergeron Wellness Center has a number of mental health and wellness resources and tools. The full list can be found at http://www.zora-living.com/student-life/health-and-safety/bergeron-wellness-center/personal-counseling/resources/

There are also resources for students as they transition from high school to college.

Adjusting to College

College and Your Mental Health – Coming soon

Set To Go: A Guide to the transition from high school to college

 

Need help immediately?

If you need immediate help, or feel you or a student are in imminent danger, contact PUBLIC SAFETY at (802) 654-2911

When should I seek assistance?

  • Violent Acts
  • Weapons
  • Bizarre Behaviors
  • Thoughts of Suicide or Self-Harm
  • Hate Crime & Hate Incidents
  • Sexual Assault
  • Extreme Distress
  • Family/Domestic Problems
  • Alcohol/Drug Abuse
  • Whenever you wonder, “Should I…?”

Behaviors to Look Out for:

Below are just some of the behaviors to look out for.  Please use this list as a guide.

  • A sudden change in behavior
  • Extremely disruptive behavior
  • Suicidal or self-destructive thoughts
  • Any threats of violence
  • A loss of contact with reality
  • Disturbing social media postings, e-mails (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter)

Student After Hours Crisis Consultation

Students needing advice after hours, including weekends, during holidays or campus closures, call:

First Call Crisis Hotline: 802.488.7777
Crisis Text Line: Text HELP to 741741

What behavior could I see?

Often we just know when something doesn’t seem right. Our concern can be traced to a gut reaction. In order to pinpoint that concern, here are a few ways to articulate your specific concern(s) to others.

Academic indicators

Decline in the quality of work
Repeated absences
Disturbing content in work
Continuous classroom disruptions

Safety Risk Indicators

Unprovoked anger or hostility
Making implied or direct threats to harm self and/or others
Academic assignments dominated by themes of rage, extreme hostility, hopelessness, worthlessness, despair, acting out, suicide, or other violence

Psychological Indicators

Self-disclosure of personal distress that could include family problems, financial problems, depression, grief, or thoughts of suicide
Excessive tearfulness, panicked reactions, irritability or unusual apathy
Verbal abuse
Expressions of concern about the student by their peers

Physical Indicators

Marked changes in physical appearance including hygiene, or weight loss/gain
Excessive fatigue/sleep disturbance
Intoxication, hangovers, or smelling of alcohol
Disoriented or “out of it”

What do I say?

Speaking with students is as hard and as easy as it sounds. If you’re feeling concerned about how to approach a student, here are a few helpful ideas:

Talking with a student when I am concerned about them

Speak to the student 1:1.

Ask open-ended questions like: “can you tell me a bit about what is going on?”

Reflect their thoughts and feelings back to them: “You’re thinking that you don’t have what it takes to get through this.” (thought) and “You’re feeling pretty frustrated.” (feeling)

Provide empathy and validation: “I’ve been there too.”  “It’s okay that you are having a hard time.  This is hard material.”

Highlight strengths and successes: “You’ve made it through hard times before, and I know you can make it through this too.”  “You can do this.”

Helping a student get to counseling or academic enrichment

Start with their thoughts and experiences: “Have you ever thought about counseling/academic supports before?”

Normalize the counseling/academic support experience: “A lot of students find it helpful to talk to a counselor/academic support person when they’re having these kinds of things going on.”

Explore their reluctance: “What has gotten in the way of you getting help?”  “What would keep you from talking to a counselor/academic support person about these things?”  “Could it be worth taking that step even though it is difficult?”

Provide hope and support: “A lot of students use the services at Bergeron/Academic Enrichment Commons and find it helpful.”   “I think counseling/academic support might be really beneficial to you at this time.”  “If you’d like, I can help you make the call/get online/go to the office to schedule an appointment.

A few other helpful notes

Be proactive: notice signs of distress, engage students early on, reach out, set limits on disruptive behavior.

Be direct: ask students directly and 1:1 if they are struggling, are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs in your class, are feeling confused and overwhelmed, or are having thoughts of harming themselves or others.

Listen sensitively and carefully: distressed students need to be heard and helped, and it might be hard for them to articulate their real concerns and feelings. Ask open-ended questions and offer words that convey hope and your desire to help.

Offer support and avoid escalation: distressed students may be sensitive to criticism and/or easily provoked. Be non-confrontational and calm.  Avoid being threatening, humiliating, or intimidating.

Follow through:  Direct the student to the physical location of the resource you have referred them to and then follow up to see if they were able to connect there.  If it makes sense, call ahead or walk them there.

Consultation and documentation: Document your interactions with distressed students and follow up with your department chair/area director after any incident.

Safety first: the safety of the campus community is the top priority when a student is displaying threatening or violent behavior.  Do not hesitate to call for help.  

FERPA and HIPPA

How do FERPA and HIPPA fit in?

Neither FERPA nor HIPPA prohibits the disclosure of behavioral observations of students in the classroom. Both FERPA and HIPPA allows faculty and staff the discretion to consult with appropriate members of the Saint Michael’s community when in need of perspective, suggestions, resources, referrals or assistance. FERPA allows this sharing as part of an “educational need to know.” HIPPA allows the sharing of information from non-confidential resources to confidential resources.

More information on FERPA 

Resources

We believe there is much we can do individually.  Noticing a student, caring for a student, simply showing concern through empathetic questions alleviates a lot of loneliness, anxiety, and stress. Sometimes a caring conversation or email is all that is needed.  But if you’ve tried these avenues and the situation still seems amiss, or if you are concerned about a student’s health, safety, or even retention, there are other resources here to help our students:

On-Campus Resources

24/7

Switchboard: 802-654-2000
Assistant Dean on Duty: Call Switchboard at 802-654-2000 ask for the AD on duty

Monday-Friday, daytime hours

Associate Dean of the College: 802-654-2347
Academic Enrichment Commons: 802-654-2262
*Bergeron Wellness Center: 802-654-2234*
Center for Multicultural Affairs and Services: 802-654-2663
*Edmundite Campus Ministry (clergy): 802.654.2333*
Public Safety: 802-654-2374
Residential Life: 802-654-2566
Title IX Coordinator: 802-654-2271

* confidential

Many of the above offices collaborate with regularly scheduled meetings to confer about students needing extra support, academically and otherwise. Know when you share your concerns, this group is notified to widen the support net for our students.

Local Resources

Emergency 911

First Call Crisis Hotline: 802.488.7777
Crisis Text Line: Text HELP to 741741

Online Resources

There are so many good resources to be found online to complement our on-campus work.

Bergeron Wellness Center has a number of mental health and wellness resources and tools. The full list can be found at http://www.zora-living.com/student-life/health-and-safety/bergeron-wellness-center/personal-counseling/resources/

There are also resources for students as they transition from high school to college.

Adjusting to College

College and Your Mental Health – Coming soon

Set To Go: A Guide to the transition from high school to college

 

Need help immediately?

If you need immediate help, or feel you or a student are in imminent danger, contact PUBLIC SAFETY at (802) 654-2911

When should I seek assistance?

  • Violent Acts
  • Weapons
  • Bizarre Behaviors
  • Thoughts of Suicide or Self-Harm
  • Hate Crime & Hate Incidents
  • Sexual Assault
  • Extreme Distress
  • Family/Domestic Problems
  • Alcohol/Drug Abuse
  • Whenever you wonder, “Should I…?”

Behaviors to Look Out for:

Below are just some of the behaviors to look out for.  Please use this list as a guide.

  • A sudden change in behavior
  • Extremely disruptive behavior
  • Suicidal or self-destructive thoughts
  • Any threats of violence
  • A loss of contact with reality
  • Disturbing social media postings, e-mails (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter)

Student After Hours Crisis Consultation

Students needing advice after hours, including weekends, during holidays or campus closures, call:

First Call Crisis Hotline: 802.488.7777
Crisis Text Line: Text HELP to 741741