27 January 2016

Schools to Investigate Students, Assign Case Managers

 

A school social worker "would communicate with everyone... from the soccer coach and the pediatrician to the youth minister, to develop a complete picture of the student’s needs" under a Connecticut proposal to extensively evaluate all special needs and prospective homeschool students. Newtown School Superintendent Joseph Erardi expressed hope that this extensive data-collection and reporting system be implemented nationwide.
 
My take on it:

School officials are worried about another horrific shooting happening again.  I have older children in public schools and I worry, too! 

But they failed with Adam Lanza, not the homeschool community*.  I won't say that if the school did everything right, that 27 innocent people would not have died.  I'm not saying that.  I'm just saying they failed.  They admit as much when they get 'round to being honest.  We never will know what would've/ could've happened if everyone did things differently.  But what I am saying is that the answer isn't to investigate everyone with a mental health or special needs diagnosis, as well as all homeschoolers.

Why?

Well, first off, people have rights.  It should be obvious, but people forget after something like this happens.  If we're talking of students who haven't been suspended on multiple occasions for violent offenses, or who have not brought deadly weapons to school, it's simply not a reasonable jump to investigate their private lives uninvited. 

And second, how much is this really going to cost?  Calculate how much the paperwork and the investigations would cost with staff time, building costs and computer systems and updates.  It isn't "free" as the article implies.  Even if one were to surmise that they had the staff anyway, that's staff time that could be used on other projects or eliminated to save taxpayer funds.  

The "if it saves just one child" argument can be stretched too far, and has been here.

I think a better course of action would be to propose to offer certain services to families whose children have been suspended for violence or who meet certain worrisome criteria.  Pass a budget that will actually fund real help, not some data tracking system with family and community interviews.  Families often ask for help when they need it.  Nancy Lanza begged for help and the school failed her and every person who died in that shooting.  Is the school going to provide real help next time, or will they be too busy collecting data for their computer system to listen?












*Public schools do not award diplomas to homeschoolers.  Adam Lanza was not even a homeschooler.  He did public school at home.  It shouldn't matter but right now, politically, it does.

2 comments:

  1. I don't think it's possible for schools, or anyone else for that matter, to get 'everything right'. They can investigate students as much as they like, but what they'll find is there is no 'one size fits all', solution. Each is an individual and what works for some won't work for all. The best they can do is a blanket approach and hope everyone fits on the blanket. Some won't.

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    1. Well, I see it more as, unless someone does something really nutty it isn't their place anyway. Especially in high school, there is an insane amount of paper-work and record-keeping already. I am glad I don't have to manage transcripts, I'll tell ya.

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