School Business Affairs February 2020 SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS | FEBRUARY 2020 25 SAFETY AND SECURITY T he facts were unsettling: In the fall of 2017, nearly 400 students in Oklahoma City Public Schools reported they had attempted suicide within the past 12 months. These weren’t college kids dealing with midterms— they were 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th graders who responded to a survey administered by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. Among those same students, about 10% reported using alcohol within the 30 prior days and about 6% reported binge drinking, with most stating they were permitted the alcohol by their parents. Many students who responded to the survey reported feeling hopeless, worthless, or so depressed that they believed nothing could make them feel happy. With more than 50% of students impacted by psycho- logical distress, it is not only hard for kids to learn, it also is so difficult for the teachers to instruct that they become stressed and eventually burn out. Consequently, districts need to ensure staff members have support as well. EmbraceOKC—A Community Partnership for Student Health Community partners are working with Oklahoma City Public Schools to bring more mental health supports to staff and students. By Molly Fleming Community partnerships with Oklahoma City Public Schools help provide support to students K–12. COURTESY OF OKLAHOMA CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS