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It is time to acknowledge that access to guns plays an important role in many acts of serious violence in the United States.
Multiple lines of research have demonstrated a clear connection between local availability of guns and gun-related violent behaviors, with estimates of close to 2 million children and adolescents having access at home to loaded, unlocked guns.
Although guns are never the simple cause of a violent act, the availability of lethal weapons including assault type weapons to youth and adults with emotional disturbance and antisocial behavior poses a serious public health problem. Our political leaders need to find a reasonable and constitutional way to limit the widespread availability of guns to persons who are unwilling or unable to use them in a responsible, lawful manner.
CASP strongly endorses a renewed nationwide and local effort to address the problem of mass shootings that have occurred repeatedly in our schools and communities. Now is the time for our political leaders to take meaningful action to address the need to support positive mental health development for youths, which would mitigate (highly) negative reactions that lead to tragedies related gun violence. At the same time, concerned citizens in every community should engage in comprehensive planning and coordination to promote prosocial behavior and prevent violence in our schools and communities. These plans must include planned access to high quality mental health services for youth especially for those who show signs of being overwhelmed by psychological distress, including depression, anxiety, withdrawal, anger, and aggression as well as assistance for the families that support them. These plans should not include arming teachers. Doing so places an unrealistic, unreasonable burden on America’s educators, has the potential to cause more harm from unintentional or inaccurate discharge of firearms, and can undermine the sense of safe, supportive learning environments.
The bottom line is that we must all work together toward the common goal of nurturing youths for positive outcomes while keeping our schools and communities safe.
Meanwhile, California schools must update school safety plans by March 1. Information on updating school safety plans: https://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/el/le/yr18ltr0201.asp
Talking to children, no matter what age they are, about the recent mass shooting in Florida cannot be an easy task. However, school psychologists are uniquely trained to offer services to students and school staff after such tragedies.
The National Association of School Psychologists has a series of resource papers and other information
produced to assist school psychologists, teachers, administrators, parents and the media after mass shootings and other school crises occur. Also, if your school is in need of crisis services that require more help than your staff can provide, please call or email CASP (916/444-1595 or firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can send school psychologists to your site who will volunteer their services.
Don’t be left out! Get your name in front of special education professionals, school districts, administrators, SELPAs, and parents, as they will have free access to the CASP’s LEP Online Directory. Visit casponline.org/leps/lep-directory to see sample listings or sign up today. The directory is updated every February. Deadline to sign up is March 26.
What self-improvements do you make to improve your services to students? Share that by presenting a workshop, mini-skills workshop, paper or poster at CASP Convention 2018, to be held Nov. 8-10 in San Diego. Call for presentations and full instructions for Investing in You = Investing in Students can be found at casponline.org/events/#fall18. Deadline for applications is May 1.
CASP has two new position papers for your viewing. One lists reasons CDE and the State Board of Education should end the California ban on IQ testing of African American students for special education placement. The second looks into online psychoeducational assessments and the concerns CASP has with companies that are training “aides” who sit next to the students during the assessment process. You can view both papers on the Publication Page.
The Trump Administration had announced new crackdowns on immigrants living in this country illegally and California schools are seeing a recent increase in the number of families, or parents only, disappearing from schools. This CASP Resource/Position paper was developed in response to the federal administration’s travel ban, but is relevant to the recent deportations. It includes a list of resources, as well as how to speak with your students about the situation.