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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Missing the Bigger Picture

As school psychologists, we are always concerned with the well-being of our students. I think this especially holds true when the student is suspected of abusing alcohol or drugs. And with SACs becoming less and less of a presence in the school systems, substance abuse counseling for all students will likely fall to the school psychologist.

It is the job all school personnel to ensure the safety of all students. However, when does protecting students from the harm of drugs or alcohol cross the line into invasion of privacy?

In a recent decision, the Supreme Court ruled that an 8th grade student who was stripped searched for suspicion of possession of prescription ibuprofen indeed suffered a violation of her right to privacy. (Safford Unified School District v. Redding (Case No. 08-479) )

Is it okay to strip-search our students in the name of safety? Should a 13 year old girl be subject to slipping her bra and underwear out of her clothes for inspection, or are we missing the bigger picture here?

Posted by Jessica Szybowski.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'm Sending Out an S.O.S.

The following article was written by a school psychologist as his message to teachers in his school:

As future school psychologists, what do you feel your obligations are when dealing with situations

of difficult students? Do you feel that giving information and guidance to teachers on how to treat children or adolescents and handle these situations is enough? Sometimes teachers are very quick to refer students for evaluation, but how much are they doing in their classrooms before resorting to this? As school personnel as a whole, we should be treating each and every student with the idea that he or she needs that extra care to succeed. The article said:
"This type of caring extends beyond a call home to parents when homework or papers aren't completed. It's the quality of caring that challenges us to look beyond the traditional markers of educational excellence. It invites us to try and connect with the humanity in even the most difficult of students."

How do we, then, deal with teachers that do not put forth as much effort as we would like? How can we make up for this in another way?
Posted by Susan Bartolozzi.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Beyond Logical...

While completing my practicum hours as a school psychology candidate, I've found my placement district to be a very punitive environment. I think the logic behind the discipline policies is that consistency, clearly defined consequences, and regiment will yield desirable behavioral results. However, there is a plethora of research to suggest that using punishment to shape behavior is ineffective and often yields the opposite of the desired result. Clearly, their policies are ineffective because their rate of suspensions is near surpassing the state average. So, how do we as school psychologists, being familiar with empirical data on discipline, persuade our schools to change their policies?

Posted by Jessica Szybowski