Friday, January 28, 2022

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The Indiana House passes a controversial bill barring schools from teaching about Critical Race Theory; and President Biden pledges to place a Black woman on the Supreme Court for the first time.

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Justice Stephen Breyer formally announces his retirement; the Dept. of Education will help students who fell behind during the pandemic; and AZ lawmakers consider a bill granting them control over elections.

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Free COVID tests by mail but some rural Americans need to go the extra mile; farmer storytellers join national campaign to battle corporate consolidation; specialty nurses want more authority; and rare bat gets credit for the mythic margarita.

Report: Fund Counselors, Mental-Health Support, Not Police in Schools

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Monday, October 4, 2021   

CONCORD, N.H. -- With the new school year in full swing, a new report from The Sentencing Project outlines key steps New Hampshire and other states could take to end what they call the school-to-prison pipeline.

Michelle Wangerin, youth law project director for New Hampshire Legal Assistance, said most school districts in the Granite State have police officers stationed in schools, known as school resource officers. She contended it often leads to more students getting arrested or referred to law enforcement for low-level offenses, pointing to data from the Office of Civil Rights.

"It's certainly still an issue in New Hampshire," Wangerin asserted. "And we certainly do have higher than national averages for referrals to law enforcement, even though we have lower than national averages of crime."

The report noted students suffered learning loss and disengagement while studying at home last school year, especially low-income, Black or Latinx students, English language learners and students with disabilities, who are also more likely to be suspended or expelled from school. It urged school officials to invest in new resources to keep young people out of prison and in the classroom.

Nate Balis, director of the juvenile justice strategy group for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, said federal COVID stimulus funding for education, totaling more than $120 billion, offers an unprecedented chance to launch services outside of law enforcement to help vulnerable children.

"There's opportunities for funding that have never been there before," Balis explained. "Where we can support young people and their families through tutoring and mentoring, or from community programs that may not exist in those districts right now."

The report also pointed out most schools do not have enough counselors or other mental-health professionals, despite evidence which shows, unlike police officers, their presence promotes safety and enhances student success.

Disclosure: Annie E Casey Foundation contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Education, Juvenile Justice, and Welfare Reform. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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