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with support from The California Endowment 


Feb. 1,
Issue 58
School Discipline
New California legislation would restrict police involvement in low-level school infractions
Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, has introduced a bill to define and limit the role of police officers in low-level school discipline matters. The bill, Assembly Bill 163, would require schools to create "memorandums of understanding" with police agencies stating that police officers should not discipline or arrest students for "low-level misconduct." The memorandum would specify that school staff should handle bullying, disruptive behavior, drug and alcohol abuse and other nonviolent incidents, the bill states.

The measure would apply to "school resource officers" who are stationed at schools by a district's own police force or a local police force, and police officers who are called into schools from their communities. School resource officers are bona fide police officers.

"It's important that we clarify the roles of these resource officers and other officers so that they are not dragged into enforcing school policies and actually are able devote their time to dealing with criminal actions," said Joe Kocurek, a spokesman for Weber.

The National Association of School Resource Officers agrees. Administering school discipline "belongs solely in the hands of educators" who should be "well trained to address behavioral issues through a variety of interventions" that do not involve law enforcement, said Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, in a statement last fall.

Canady's statement followed a guidance letter from the U.S. Department of Education that encouraged school administrators to create memorandums with police agencies and to train staff in techniques to address student behavioral issues and create a positive learning environment.

Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-South L.A., also has proposed a bill to limit the interactions between police and students over violations of school rules, such as inappropriate public displays of affection, profanity or absenteeism. Assembly Bill 173 would require schools to create policies to define the role and procedures of police on campus. The bill would apply only to police officers who are not stationed at schools.

A report by the ACLU of California last October found that school districts in California vary widely in their policies regarding when and why to call police, and how police, students, parents and school staff communicate about a student being interviewed or arrested.

Among other concerns, the report found that in cases of minor violations, students of color are more likely to be arrested than white students for the same or similar offenses.
Social-Emotional Learning
'Growth Mindset' researcher says evidence supports concepts
Carol Dweck, the researcher at Stanford who introduced "growth mindset" into the lingua franca of social-emotional learning, defended the science behind the concept following questions from researchers about findings in three papers.

"In each case, we showed that the conclusions reached in the paper were sound," Dweck wrote in a post on the Mindset Scholars Network, an online research forum. She added, "It is highly unlikely that mindset is a phantom phenomenon."

A growth mindset is present when teachers and students believe that intelligence can be developed; intelligence is not a trait that is fixed at birth. When teachers apply the principles of growth mindset, students are disabused of the notion they are either "smart" or "dumb." Instead, they are taught that academic supports and hard work can improve their abilities. Research by Dweck and others has found that students with growth mindsets work longer to solve problems and increase their academic scores.
Special Needs
Betsy DeVos, whose nomination as secretary of education is heading toward a vote by the full U.S. Senate, and her husband are leading financial backers of a company that claims success in training children to control their brain waves and improve their symptoms of autism and attention deficit disorder. DeVos said that if approved as secretary of education, she and her husband will retain their financial stake in the company, Neurocore.

The treatment, a form of biofeedback called neurofeedback, involves attaching brain-wave monitoring sensors to children's scalps and ear lobes as they watch a movie on television. The movie freezes when brain waves indicate distraction. "With neurofeedback, you watch a movie that plays when your brain speed is within the therapeutic range," the company said on its website. "When it goes out of range, the movie pauses, which tells you that something is out of balance." The treatment also monitors heart rate as a way to encourage individuals to breathe more slowly and deeply.

Neurocore has not published its data in peer-reviewed journals, the New York Times reported. The company stands by its claim that neurofeedback is an effective treatment to relieve symptoms of ADHD and autism, the Times reported.The company says on its website that 76 percent of its clients who are treated for ADHD achieve "non-clinical status," meaning they no longer meet the diagnosis for ADHD according to an assessment measure. Ninety percent of clients with ADHD report improvement, the company said.

A January article in Education Week quoted the company's website as describing neurofeedback for people with autism as a "drug-free solution to curb the negative behaviors" associated with the condition. The company appears to be stepping back a bit from that claim and its website on Feb. 1 stated that its methods are a "drug-free program to help curb the symptoms associated with autism."
School Climate
The "Redskins" are finished, sort of, at the last four high schools in California that used the term as a team name, mascot or nickname. But to the surprise of some, the Jan. 1 first-in-the nation law banning the word has left intact school logos depicting stoic male Indians in profile, football fans tomahawk-chopping in the stands, students yelling war whoops and a Tulare Union High School teenage girl wearing a fake war bonnet.

Read more at EdSource.
Webinars: Suicide prevention, teen health advocates and a state and federal policy update on school-based health care

Preventing suicide for LGBTQ youth and promoting resiliency for all
Facilitating student advocacy for school health care 
Preparing for policy changes in student health services
The Trevor Project and the American School Counselor Association will present practical steps to reduce the suicide risk among all youth, particularly lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students. Bullying and rejection make LGBTQ students statistically more likely to commit suicide, the Trevor Project said.

What: "Suicide Prevention for LGBTQ Youth"

When: Wednesday, Feb. 15, 1 p.m. PT
Register here.
Training students to advocate for health services they value at school can make a difference in ensuring those services continue, according to the California School-Based Health Alliance. The group will present ideas about how staff at school-based health centers can empower students to speak up for health care for themselves and their peers.

What: "Empowering Youth to Advocate for Their Peers"

When: Thursday, Feb. 2, 11 a.m. PT
Register here.

New federal health care, education and immigration policies are expected to have an impact on the delivery of health care services at school, according to the California School-Based Health Alliance. The group will discuss how school health practitioners and advocates can plan and respond to anticipated changes.

What: "What Now for School Health? State & Federal Policy Update"
When: Monday, Feb. 6, 2 p.m. PT
Register here.
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