Susan Gorin, CAE
Executive Director - National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
School safety is vitally important for a climate that fosters learning and success at home, in school, and throughout life. Partnerships play a key role in fostering safe schools. That’s why a joint statement by six professional educational associations was developed to provide policy recommendations for improving school safety and increasing access to mental health supports for children and youth.
Efforts to improve school climate, safety, and learning are not separate endeavors. They must be designed, funded, and implemented as a comprehensive school-wide approach that facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration and builds on a multi-tiered system of supports. We caution against seemingly quick and potentially harmful solutions, such as arming school personnel, and urge policy leaders to support the following guidance to enact policies that will equip America’s schools to educate and safeguard our children over the long term.
POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS TO SUPPORT EFFECTIVE SCHOOL SAFETY
1. Allow for blended, flexible use of funding streams in education and mental health services;
2. Improve staffing ratios to allow for the delivery of a full range of services and effective school–community partnerships;
3. Develop evidence-based standards for district-level policies to promote effective school discipline and positive behavior;
4. Fund continuous and sustainable crisis and emergency preparedness, response, and recovery planning and training that uses evidence-based models;
5. Provide incentives for intra- and interagency collaboration; and
6. Support multitiered systems of support (MTSS).
Reference: A Framework for Safe and Successful Schools, NASP, March 2015, www.nasponline.org/schoolsafetyframework