Federal Report Misses Opportunity for Leadership on School Violence Prevention
The new report by the federal Commission on School Safety misses a high-profile opportunity to bring leadership and resources to social-emotional and mental health needs in K-12 schools. Simply talking about the need for something to be done without creating the ability for schools to have the tools to reach more students in need avoids a core responsibility, the Learning First Alliance said in a response to the December 18 report.
“The federal commission should have put forth a more comprehensive effort that supports schools in their attempts to prevent violence and address the mental health needs of their students and staff,” said Nathan R. Monell, CAE, executive director of the National PTA and 2018-19 chair of the Learning First Alliance. “We are hopeful that the federal agencies will go further than issuing a report that will not only recommend best practices, which well-resourced districts can adopt and implement quickly, but also dedicate federal funds to ensure underserved districts get the support they need.”
Several of LFA's 12 member associations released statements that found both praise and criticism for the 177-page report, which included many recommendations advocated by LFA members, including a federal clearinghouse of information, support for school counselors, improved access to school-based mental and behavioral health services, threat assessments protocols, and comprehensive school safety plans.
Many LFA members were disappointed to see that the report recommended rescinding 2014 guidance on student discipline that sought to protect students of color and special needs students from being unfairly targeted. Most criticized the panel’s perceived lack of leadership on guns and the issue of allowing teachers to be trained to carry firearms in schools. And all were concerned that the recommendations did not include funding and other resources. Read more.