According to philly.com, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is reporting that their study shows too many disadvantaged students are being arrested instead of receiving preventive mental health aid.
Cops and No
Counselors: How the Lack of School Mental Health Staff is Harming Students is
an ACLU study that found that about 1.7 million children (30,000 in
Pennsylvania alone) attend US schools
with police officers, but no counselors; a trend that promotes
criminalization and eschews interventive measures. The ACLU also reports that
Pennsylvania has the third-highest student arrest rate in the nation as a
result of a 24 percent increase over the past just two
years. PA also has the second-highest arrest rate for African American and Hispanic students.
The ACLU used
the most recent USDE data, collected in 2015-16, for its study, which determined
that pupil services personnel were sorely lacking in the nation’s
public schools. For example, in addition to the 1.7 million students that
attend schools with police but no counselors, 10 million students are in
schools with police but no social workers, six million students are in schools
with police but no school psychologists, and three million students are in
schools with police but no school nurses.
According to Harold Jordan, a senior policy advocate for the Pennsylvania ACLU chapter, “The shortage of counselors, nurses, social workers, and school psychologists is a significant problem in Pennsylvania.”
The ACLU study also identified an alarming shortage of school counselors, school nurses, school psychologists, and social workers, which creates a lack of opportunity for professional help and intervention for students with serious mental health issues.
According to the ACLU, no state is meeting the recommended ratio of one social worker for every 250 students, only four states meet the recommended ratio of one school psychologist for every 700 students, and only about one-third of schools reported that they did not have a school nurse on staff.
“For a lot of our children — especially in urban areas with this
violence, in Chester and Philly…the mental trauma piece is missing,”
said Anthony Johnson, president of the Chester-Upland school board, when
asked about the ACLU’s finding that many U.S. schools lack needed
counselors, psychologists or nurses, even as the number of armed police