The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TCC forming teams for student safety

By Rhiannon Saegert/managing editor

Each campus has a Consultation, Assessment, Resources and Education, or CARE, team dedicated to providing support to students slipping through the cracks before tragedy strikes.

“Sometimes even in writing, a student may say something directly… or very indirect that would be considered a possible threat to themselves,” TR counseling director Louann Schulze said.

CARE teams rank situations as mild, moderate or elevated risks. Most cases are only considered a mild risk. This includes cases where a student appears distressed but doesn’t seem to be a threat to anyone.

If students are dealing with some kind of emotional distress, the cases are given to counselors who can provide them with resources or help them contact agencies equipped to help the students. Students could be dealing with anything from depression to domestic violence.

“There was a student who mentioned something about domestic violence,” Schulze said. “After it was reported to the CARE team, we had a dean take some information to the teacher.”

CARE teams members come from a variety of offices on each campus: student support services, counseling/advising, disability support services, student development services and campus police.

Each team meets once a week to discuss and assess referrals. Once a course of action has been decided, each case is assigned a case manager, depending on the situation. The team could supply anything from crisis hotlines to contact information for shelters in the area.

“We keep it as local as possible,” Schulze said.

TR Campus’ CARE Team was the first in the district. Schulze said the team met with experts, attended conferences and studied what other colleges were doing to develop risk assessment procedures.

“It’s basically become a professional specialty,” Schulze said.

NE student development services director Paula Vastine works to gather as many resources as possible. 

“I’m a nurse and a counselor, but that’s not why I’m on there,” she said.

Vastine said she started with the Tarrant County Blue Book Directory of Community Resources and went from there, compiling lists of resources and agencies in North Texas.

“We’ve tried to establish contacts through MHMR [Mental Health Mental Retardation] and other counseling services,” she said.

Vastine said every case is different, and in cases where students are considered high-risk, they may need help after they’ve already been confronted.

“We’ve had cases where a student is acting out in class or in public on campus,” she said. “A lot of the time, police will be the first to see this.”

NE counseling director Condoa Parrent said the CARE teams are a direct result of the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, when 32 people were killed.

“We work with faculty and staff in educating them,” she said. “We try to educate the staff what the process is.”

The teams seek to teach faculty and staff how to assess a student’s mental state before the student does something drastic.

“We want to prevent students from getting to that point,” Parrent said. “In the counseling office, we respond to crises on a weekly, sometimes daily basis.”

Aside from determining risk levels, Parrent said the CARE team’s goal is to share as much information with the community as possible.

“You shouldn’t be afraid of asking if someone is thinking of committing suicide,” she said. “It’s not set up for students to do referrals yet, but, obviously, we want students to come forward if they have concerns.”

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