Browsing articles in "School Violence"
Jun 20, 2018
ELW

The National Pulse – Obama’s School Discipline Policies Still Causing Widespread Chaos

 

Dr Effrem’s latest article at the National Pulse contrasts the views of pro-family organizations who see the Obama era school discipline policy as a danger to student and staff safety and those who want to keep the policy  along with expanded mental screening and social emotional learning. Here is an excerpt:

Conservative, pro-family and pro-school safety groups continue to duke it out with progressive, pro-gun control, social justice warriors over the contentious school discipline issue. In general, the conservatives see the federal government’s Obama-era school discipline guidance as dangerous and want it repealed, while the progressives see it as a matter of “equity” and “social justice,” wanting it continued. The raging debate and stark contrast was on full display when one compares a letter sent to Betsy DeVos by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) and an op-ed at Forbes.com by a liberal supporter of social emotional learning (SEL) and Common Core, Professor Linda Darling Hammond.

Read the full article here.

The National Pulse – “Stunning” Report: Parkland Superintendent Misled Public About Shooter’s Past

In this article, Dr. Effrem discusses accusations against Broward County authorities for not recognizing shooter Nicolas Cruz’s harmful tendencies,

Despite statements to the contrary by Broward County, Fla., Superintendent Robert Runcie and Sheriff Scott Israel, it has now been reported by WLRN that the Parkland school shooter, Nikolas Cruz, had in fact been involved in the controversial PROMISE school discipline program. PROMISE, launched in 2013, stands for Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Supports and Education.

Runcie had stated in April, “Nikolas Cruz, the shooter that was involved in this horrific accident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, had no connection to the PROMISE program.” Yet, according to an admission by Broward district officials this past Sunday, Cruz did in fact receive a “referral to PROMISE after he vandalized a bathroom at the middle school on Nov. 25, 2013.”

This revelation also comes after some of the survivors have announced their intention to sue the school district and sheriff’s office for negligence related to their handling of the massacre, the lack of safety in Broward schools due to the PROMISE program, and the failure to act on the many violent and threatening incidents involving Cruz.

Continue reading »

The National Pulse – Florida Seeks to Expand Ineffective Mental Health Screening in Schools

 

In her recent article for the National Pulse, Dr. Effrem discusses the failings of mental health data collection surrounding recent school violence.

The Florida Association of District School Superintendents (FADSS) held a conference to discuss how to expand school-based mental health that was attended by the state’s 67 superintendents as well as several legislators and agency heads.

Broward County Superintendent and FADSS president Robert Runcie led the meeting. Runcie was superintendent during the February 2018 shooting that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Runcie and Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel are under intense scrutiny for ignoring or downplaying violent acts and threats by many students, including shooter Nikolas Cruz.

School officials ignored multiple felonious threats that Cruz made to various students, despite reports of them to those officials. Teachers and other school staff all over the country have noted how unsafe schools have become since the trend of not reporting school violence based on race and disability status — an approach pioneered in Broward County — spread nationwide under the Obama administration. Also, as previously reported, Cruz was well known to the mental health system, having been in an alternative school due to behavior problems; had been medicated for ADHD; and was being treated for depression, possibly with medication, at the time of his crimes.

As in the Texas situation, mental health data mining is a big deal. Superintendents from small, rural counties were told that in order to keep the money spigot open, the outcomes data for their mental health programs is “essential.” What the superintendents and legislators do not understand is how subjective and inaccurate mental health data and surveys that pull students into these programs — particularly screening and social emotional learning (SEL) surveys, as well as universal behavioral modification and outcome data — can be. We have previously discussed the Columbia Teen Screen survey that was only correct about 16 percent of time in accurately finding teens that actually had mental health issues requiring follow-up (called the Positive Predictive Value or PPV). Another review showed that only two of nine commonly used depression screening scales had a PPV at fifty percent, or no better than a coin flip.

You may read the full article here.

Apr 4, 2018
ELW

The National Pulse: One Thing President Trump Can Do Now to Make Schools Safer

 

The President’s School Safety Commission held it’s first meeting and the focus was on the Obama-era lax discipline policies. Here is an excerpt from Dr. Effrem’s review of the meeting and the dangerous situation for students and teachers due to this ill-considered  and unconstitutional guidance:

Review of the guidance and grants have all shown that the Broward County Public Schools and Sheriff’s office have ignored a great deal of criminal behavior — including that of the Parkland shooter — in concert with receiving this guidance, the Promise program, and millions of dollars in School Climate grants.

Although Superintendent Robert Runcie has protested in a Sun-Sentinel op-ed that this cause of the shooting is “fake news,” an interview of Max Eden, a school violence expert from the Manhattan Institute, by Dr. Susan Berry strongly refuted that notion:

“Runcie’s careful formulation contains a falsehood, several omissions, and obfuscations,” Eden says. “It doesn’t cover middle school, where Cruz racked up about two dozen offenses and was transferred into an intensive behavior management school – without ever getting an arrest record.”

“Runcie claims that PROMISE only covered ‘non-violent’ offenses,” Eden observes. “That’s just straight false. The 2013 version covered assault and fighting; the 2016 version covered ‘affray,’ i.e., fighting. That means Cruz’s fights were only deemed non-PROMISE eligible based on administrator discretion, not policy.”

“Given that Cruz is alleged to have threatened students, it’s also worth noting that ‘threats’ are a PROMISE-eligible offense,” he continues. “Perhaps those incidents weren’t recorded as threats. Students have reported that Cruz brought bullets and knives to school. Perhaps those incidents weren’t recorded at all. Or perhaps they were and Runcie’s statement eludes them; the discipline matrix doesn’t highlight Class B Weapons as a PROMISE-eligible Incident.”

Ann Coulter quoted the threats that Cruz allegedly made to kill other students at school that were ignored by school officials:

At least three students showed school administrators Cruz’s near-constant messages threatening to kill them — e.g., “I am going to enjoy seeing you down on the grass,” “Im going to watch ypu bleed,” “iam going to shoot you dead” — including one that came with a photo of Cruz’s guns. They warned school authorities that he was bringing weapons to school. They filed written reports.

The excellent testimony of Eden to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on School Violence painted a stark picture of the dangerous atmosphere for students, especially vulnerable students and staff, created by the Obama guidance that threatened and started investigations in hundreds of school districts for “unlawful discrimination” if students of different races broke the rules at different rates — all without even a regulation:

At Lincoln High School in San Diego, a male student with cerebral palsy was raped in the bathroom. The teacher who caught the rapist in the act tried to raise the alarm. But the administration downgraded the event to an “obscene act.” They did not even attempt expulsion. For their part, the police did not even inform the mother that her son had been raped.

Eden also quoted teachers from around the country who have dramatic stories of the life threatening environments in which they are forced to work:

“Students are threatening teachers with violence and in many cases are physically attacking teachers without consequences.”

“School environment is unsafe. I do not feel safe. Teachers are afraid. Students have little or no consequences for behavior that is often outright violent toward students and staff. Please help us!”


…Given all of the damage this policy and these grants have done to student and teacher safety, local control, and school district costs, repealing this guidance is an incredibly wise idea. It is something that the Trump administration can do without pursuing the complicated legislative process and will have great benefits.

Read the full article HERE.

 

Pages:12»