A new initiative makes it easy for anyone with concerns about a student’s behavior to get that information to MCC officials who can check on the student.
On the MCC Cares web page, there’s an online form to report concerns including sudden declines in a student’s academic performance, disruptive or violent behavior, verbal or written threatening comments, bullying, stalking or harassment, or self-harming behaviors such as threats of suicide.
Before this, such concerns typically made it to a campus dean of students through a phone call or email, says Yvette Sweeney, dean of student development at MCC-Penn Valley and administration liaison to the College’s counseling staff.
But the online form is easier. “Here’s a quick way for students, faculty or staff to share their concerns about another student who could be helped if they had support and services,” Sweeney says.
Submitting an MCC Cares report can be done anonymously, but it’s helpful to include contact information so the person reviewing the form can ask more questions if needed.
Keep in mind, too, that just because you share a concern doesn’t mean you’ll learn how the situation was resolved. Student privacy is respected.
When in doubt about a situation, submit an MCC Cares report.
“We’d rather get things when they’re really low-level” in hopes of averting a bigger problem, Sweeney says.
Sometimes, of course, a report will turn out not to be valid.
MCC Cares reports might stop in the office of the dean of students or be shared with a campus Behavioral Intervention Team. That team typically includes representatives of the counseling department, Disability Support Services and MCC Police. Some campus teams meet weekly.
Having “different lenses at the table” in a BIT meeting means information can be easily shared. A counselor might realize that student behavior documented by a police officer is likely linked to problems at home, for instance. Sometimes alarming behavior is signaling that a student is in distress.
Now that MCC Cares is set up, deans of students are spreading the word to faculty and staff as well as student leaders.
The big goal, Sweeney says, is to “put resources around a student” who’s potentially in trouble.
Another goal: to reduce the stigma often associated with making a report about someone else. The “cares” part is key — you’re sharing concerns because you care about the student.
As always, if there’s a medical emergency or you think a person is an immediate threat to self or others, call 911 and MCC Police.
The MCC Police emergency number is 816.604.1200. MCC Police non-emergency: 816.604.1111.
MCC Cares web page: mcckc.edu/mcc-cares