What can I do if I suspect my student may be at risk of FGM/C?


If you believe there is an immediate risk to your student:

  • Alert school administrators immediately. They will determine if they should call your local police department or child protective services. However, if you and the school administrators believe that the student is at risk in the future, for example during a trip abroad during a school break, you should reach out to additional supporting personnel at the school, such as a counselor and a social worker if you have them on staff. Counselors or social workers should be able to establish the most appropriate routes for discussing preventive measures with families. We recommend reaching out to families and providing them with FGM/C resources.
  • When the school sets up a meeting with parents of students suspected to be at risk of FGM/C, ensure that all those who are present are able to explain in a respectful, culturally sensitive way that FGM/C is illegal in the US and transporting a child abroad to perform FGM/C is also illegal. Tell them, based on your state's laws, the potential consequences of performing FGM/C. We recommend having an administrator and social worker present when meeting with parents. If the school does not have a social worker on staff, a counselor or a behavioral health specialist may attend the meeting. Teachers are not required to attend the meeting. They may wish to remain anonymous.
  • It is difficult to know who is at risk of FGM/C. In many instances, students who believe they are at risk of undergoing cutting may not know they can come to you for help. While it would be ideal for students to be be educated on FGM/C and its physical and mental health consequences, this may not always be possible. Consider including FGM/C in your health curriculum. In many circumstances, you will only know your student is at risk of FGM/C if they come to you directly asking for help.
Use these questions to help you build trust:
  • Where were you born? What about your parents?

  • Did you grow up in the United States?

  • What ethnic group do you belong to? Do you have a community here?

  • Do you speak multiple languages? What are they?

  • What do you speak at home?

  • Tell me about some of your cultural traditions. How do you celebrate?

  • What are your spiritual and religious beliefs?

  • How do you celebrate religious holidays?

These questions were adapted from: National FGM Centre




Please review our infographic resource on what to do if your student is at risk or has undergone FGM/C here.


Page last reviewed: May 16, 2023
Page last updated: May 16, 2023