23 Days in August: What on earth has happened to our kids?

Special education numbers for children in the developed world are off the charts. Schools are drowning with discipline issues, deadly allergies, expulsions, budget shortfalls, and stressed-out teachers. It’s an unmitigated disaster. Why is no one asking the most important question of all: where in the world did all these sick children come from?

BY J.B. HANDLEY August 25, 2017

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wisconsin— Anne Dachel is a relentless advocate for the health of America’s children. The mother of an adult son on the autism spectrum, Anne has been a teacher for three decades and has seen the stunning increase in the number of sick children (both mentally and physically) in America’s schools. She writes:

“We keep looking for ways to explain what’s happening to our children, while we pretend nothing has changed. I’ve heard lots of teachers say things like, ‘they come with so many issues from home,’ ‘they used to be kept at home,’ and ‘they used to be in institutions.’
The truth is, kids today live in a chemical soup. Toxins are everywhere. They breathe toxins, eat toxins, and have toxins injected into their bodies. It’s amazing they’re doing as well as they are.
When you look at the number of chronically sick kids that fill our schools, is it such a stretch to realize that their developmental health (social and behavioral) has been equally impaired?”

Anne unfailingly audits the media and how they report on the epidemic rise in autism and other neurological disorders. Her book, The Big Autism Cover-Up: How and Why the Media Is Lying to the American Public is an excellent critique of the mainstream media’s handling of the autism epidemic.


13% of Children are in Special Education!

In the United States, 13% of children are in special education today, with many counties and schools reporting numbers of 25% or higher. And, these numbers are probably understated, according to Anne:

“Our schools are filled with disabled kids who weren’t here 25 years ago. Look at the accommodations on IEPs for students just in regular ed. I’ve had students who are allowed to pace in the back of the classroom or walk out and sit in the hall if they feel overwhelmed. Large numbers of kids couldn’t function in school if they weren’t medicated. We modify tests and assignments for kids who can’t deal with regular work. And that’s just what’s happening in the mainstream classroom.”

News reports are breathtaking, astonishing, and scary

Anne reads and compiles news stories from all over the world — both local and national news — and shares the compiled list with parents in the autism community. I am one of the lucky beneficiaries of her daily emails, and I took the time recently to read the lengthy list of stories she compiled, just for the first 23 days of August. Anne has a gift for putting together all the trees to show everyone the forest, which is what I have tried to do in the compilation of her articles below.

I don’t expect you to read every article, just scan them, and keep the following points in mind:

  • This is only 23 days of news! I am simply presenting them to you (in reverse chronological order) — I highlighted certain quotes to make your scan a bit quicker.
  • No matter where you look, the stories are the same: there is a massive physical and mental health deterioration happening in this generation of children. Rising special education, anxiety disorders, ADHD/Autism, depression, anaphylactic food allergies, behavioral issues, etc. Name it, they have all exploded.
  • Schools are breaking down, struggling to keep up. Teachers are stressed out, over-worked, and in short supply.

And, perhaps the most important point:

For all the articles included, almost no journalist is asking what should be the most obvious question: where in the world did all these sick children come from?
Are you ready to face reality, or does this look like a better idea?

Are today’s children actually sicker? Have the numbers really changed?

This is the multi-trillion dollar question facing our planet, and all you need to do is ask anyone who has been working with children for 20–30 years to get your answer: our children have NEVER been this sick. Childhood has NEVER been this challenging. Parenthood has NEVER been this hard. Something very real has CHANGED.

While autism is just one of the many conditions facing today’s schools, it’s perhaps the most challenging, and it’s growth in numbers perhaps the most horrifying.

From an estimated 1 in 10,000 children with autism in the 1970s and 1980s, autism today impacts 1 in 48 children. This means the rate of autism is up 200-times in 30 years, a 20,000% (that’s not a typo) increase! 20,000%!

Despite the overwhelming data stating that, yes, the rates of all these childhood issues have skyrocketed, there are still some who will try to deny the numbers are really up, or explain them away with pop-psychology. I’m happy to see a new book by Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill dealing with this complex topic that they have labeled “Epidemic Denialism”:

I think this quote from the book makes clear how absurd it is to try and make a case that “these children have always been here at the same rate.”

“Epidemic denial doesn’t add up. Take the US population of 124 million in 1931 — the year the oldest child in that first report on autism was born. Divide that number by the current autism prevalence of one in sixty-eight children. There should have been 1.8 million Americans with autism in 1931.
There weren’t. We have scoured the medical literature for cases before then, and there are essentially none to be found. This may seem counterintuitive — surely such children have always been around, misdiagnosed by a less sophisticated medical establishment or simply missed because they were hidden away in the attic or mental institution — but it’s the simple truth.
Back up a bit more: how many people have ever lived on Earth? About 100 billion by 1931. Again, simple math yields about 1.5 billion autistic individuals who have lived before 1930.
Now we begin to glimpse the emptiness behind the Epidemic Denier’s claims.”

Special education teachers are heroic!

I want to make one point very clear before you scan all these articles: I think many of the people mentioned in these articles are heroes. I applaud teachers and administrators doing their best to help all these sick children. They didn’t create these problems, they are simply doing their best to address them.

What’s deeply distressing is the lack of urgency or interest in trying to get to the bottom of WHY by all these journalists. Why are all these kids sick? What has changed to make the numbers skyrocket? And, most importantly, what can we do to reverse the trend?

I have my own strongly held opinions, scroll to the bottom to see.

Please find 23 days of news about the children of the developed world (note that these articles are exclusively from English-speaking countries for obvious reasons). After scanning these articles, I hope it horrifies you as much as it horrified me. Click on the underlined title to see the whole article, excerpts from the articles are presented below each title to give you a feel for the article’s contents.


Aug 23, 2017

Scientists must find out why anaphylactic reactions are skyrocketing, food allergies an epidemic Inquisitor [United States]

As a civilized society, we can no longer pretend like the increase in food allergies is not a terrifying epidemic…

When I socialize, I wouldn’t have to worry if I forgot an EpiPen, because there is at least one person with a food allergy living at almost all of the homes I visit.

Peanut-free is such a way of life in our community that I was frankly shocked when I went to eat at an Olga’s Kitchen and you could still add peanuts to your sundae…One study though, published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, should frighten each of us. This study was reported on by Robin Gelburd, the president of FAIR Health, and featured this week in the Wall Street Journal. Published in 2015, it looked at the number of emergency room visits and hospital admissions due to anaphylaxis caused by food between 2008 and 2012. Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening, allergic reaction. The analysis found that severe, life-threatening food reactions are increasing in prevalence at an alarming rate. They rose annually by 29.1 percent between 2008 and 2012. That is not OK. There is a life-threatening epidemic affecting American children and adults, and it needs to be addressed and discussed with the magnitude of importance that it deserves.

Flexible learning: Mixing math and reading with stability balls and scoop rockers MinnPost.com [Minnesota]

By the end of September, the tables on wheels will pale in comparison to the stability ball chairs, wobbly stools, scoop rockers and colorful mini-rugs that they can choose to sit on while doing their school work…All of these sensory seats are part of Deris’ years-long adoption of a flexible learning strategy…Deris’ room is outfitted with a wide assortment of supply bins, non-stationary seating items, Google Chromebooks and a Lego wall. He goes over guidelines for each seating item so students know how to fidget or recline in a productive manner. He also holds classroom meetings with all of his students to decide on table configurations.

…Jennifer Molitor, the new principal at Glendale Elementary, is a big supporter of flexible learning. When she worked as a teacher — and later a principal — in the Faribault Public Schools district, she had already begun experimenting with things like bouncy ball chairs, stand-up desks and beanbag chairs, she said.

“I think students today are not your traditional students,” she said. “And for them to have ways to be able to sit or stand or lay, just to be successful, that’s how they learn today.

North Baltimore schools report smooth start Findlay Courier [Ohio]

North Baltimore school officials on Tuesday noted a smooth start to another school year…

He also said the nurse’s office at the elementary school now carries an emergency EpiPen supply.

School health clinics are growing in number in St. Louis region St. Louis Post-Dispatch [Missouri]

This month, Normandy High joined a growing number of public schools around the St. Louis region that are opening on-campus health clinics.

Services at these clinics include not just immunizations and checkups, but also chronic disease management care for conditions such as asthma and diabetes; counseling for behavioral, emotional and mental health issues such as anger, bullying and depression; dental cleanings; and reproductive health services including contraception, pregnancy tests and screenings for sexually transmitted infections…“Students who are in school and not having their physical needs met and are not healthy and well are not in a position to learn,” Carl said.

Researchers move closer to peanut allergy cure CBS News [United States]

Scientists say they have taken a major step forward in finding a cure for peanut allergies. A new study, published in the journal The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, finds that a new therapy being used to treat peanut allergies has kept patients from experiencing an allergic reaction to peanuts over a four-year period…Currently, there is no cure for food allergies, which are on the rise in the U.S. and around the world.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies among children in this country increased approximately 50 percent between 1997 and 2011. The number of children with peanut allergies specifically more than tripled to 1.4 percent of kids in 2008, up from 0.4 percent in 1997, a 2010 study from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine found.

Get a big start for a new experience Echuca VIC Riverine Herald [Australia]

KCLC Child Care co-ordinator Emily Edgar said the idea for the studio room came in response to the district’s results in recent Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) data.

“The census showed that in 2015, 19.5 per cent of kids were entering school well below where they should be in physical health and wellbeing, compared to five per cent in 2012,” she said. “Poor social competence has also gone up from 5.9 per cent to 16.1 per cent. Emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills and communication skills have also suffered. As educators we are aware of how these declining results can impact future learning.”

Aug 22, 2017

Calaveras Unified School District Parents Rally for Safer Classrooms Fox 40 Sacramento [California]

Parents in the Calaveras Unified School District protested outside district headquarters Tuesday evening, upset about what they say is a string of violence at district schools. “We have personally seen students attack faculty and a principal,” said parent Lauren Millmoore.

Parents say on August 9 the sheriff’s department was called to Valley Springs Elementary after a student threw a rock at a teacher’s aide. Another incident was also reported at the campus.

“These issues are being swept under the rug,” said parent Jaime Cole.

Parents told FOX40 the issue is with students who are classified as having behavioral disabilities and are integrated into special education classes as well as traditional classes. Jennifer Chavez-Ochoa says her son has a learning disability and is in one of the special education classes with a student prone to violence.

“Where is my child’s learning environment?” Chavez-Ochoa told FOX40. “It’s not a good learning environment at all; there’s a lot of disruptions.”…

“We are torn between protecting the rights of students with disabilities, as well as the rights of all students, and trying to keep everybody safe,” Campbell told FOX40.

Food allergy reactions skyrocket over last decade Fox 9 Eden Prairie [Minnesota]

A recent study shows the number of insurance claims from people diagnosed with severe allergic reactions to food has jumped almost 400 percent in the last decade..Nearly two-thirds of allergic reactions involved people under 18-years-old. Among the top listed foods were peanuts, tree nuts and seeds.

“It’s becoming a huge issue. I’ve had some school districts contact me this year saying we have so many kids with food allergies now,” said Dr. Douglas McMahon, University of Minnesota Dir. of Outpatient Allergy.

Children with complex issues need complex assessments in order to get treatment Cambridge Times

Special assessments of children with mental health issues helped 25 children last year in the Encompass Learning Program, but more funding is needed in order to help more children.

“We’ve been running intensive treatment programs for children with complex mental health issues and significant trauma for many years … but more and more over the years we saw children coming to us with puzzle pieces missing,” Barraball said. Some were experiencing serious, reoccurring problems associated with learning disabilities and mental health issues….

“Very often our children are facing an array of learning disabilities, mental health diagnoses, family related challenges, a history of trauma … their worlds are complicated,” she said.

They hope to be able to provide more assessments in the future for the children enrolled in their program, and make changes to accommodate the costs necessary if they can’t find more funding.

‘Pupils struggle because their understanding of the world is different’ Herald [Scotland]

There are many common conditions associated with learning difficulties such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, autism, dyslexia and Tourette syndrome. But while most teachers will have heard of these conditions it can be difficult to understand what these terms mean for those who have been diagnosed.

At The Salvesen Mindroom Centre we describe a learning difficulty as a problem of understanding or an emotional difficulty that affects a person’s ability to learn, get along with others and follow convention.

For pupils that may mean they struggle to manage in school because their understanding of, and response to, the world around them is different from that of other children.

Schoolwork can be affected, but personal relationships can also be very hard to maintain, which leaves children feeling lonely and isolated, even in the classroom. Often, they can be more vulnerable to bullying and to developing mental health problems.

Sadly, children with an ASN are four times more likely to be excluded from school. A child being excluded frequently from school adds pressure on the family….Many teachers we engage with tell us they have had little formal training in learning difficulties. This is a gap that needs to be addressed. We hope our guide will help staff in schools to recognise pupils who may be struggling because of a learning difficulty.

New guide for student teachers on pupils with learning difficulties Herald [Scotland]

Every student teacher in Scotland will be issued with new guidance on how to support pupils. The guide, developed with Edinburgh charity the Salvesen Mindroom Centre, explains key conditions associated with learning difficulties such as autism or dyslexia. It also offers teachers practical tips on the different ways they can support pupils in the classroom.

The guide has been issued by professional watchdog the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) following concerns over the quality of information trainee teachers are given on supporting pupils with Additional Support Needs (ASN).

In May an enquiry by the Scottish Parliament’s education committee heard from a number of student teachers who highlighted problems with ASN training. One trainee told the committee they had received “next to nothing” on classroom behaviour management and “absolutely nothing on ASN”.

“This guide will address the issue of inconsistent teacher training in the short term, but we need to ensure all staff enter schools having been trained to a similarly high standard and not just teachers.”…

She said: “This will help to dispel some of the myths and misunderstandings around these conditions which affect so many of our children.

“However, we know that since 2012 the number of pupils with ASN has increased against a backdrop over the same period of a 16 per cent fall in the number of specialist ASN teachers.

“This lack of resources has seen many children and young people ending up poorly supported and even excluded from school altogether, which has a profound effect on the teachers as well as the rest of the class.”…

Figures published in February show a quarter of pupils in Scotland now require extra support. There are now 170,000 pupils in primary, secondary and special schools who were identified with ASN [Additional Support Needs], up 45 per cent since 2012.

ASN covers a wide range of issues including learning difficulties, autism, dyslexia, visual and hearing impairment, language problems and mental health issue…The number of children diagnosed with autism rose 13,423 — an increase of 55 per cent in four years.

Gurley community vision of HEALS Inc. clinic becomes reality WHNT [Alabama]

“The parents can drop their kids off at school and by the time they pick them up their child has had their medical check up, and the things that they need to be successful in that classroom,” said Patnaik.

He said every child deserves the most accessible, quality medical care possible. “It’s unarguable that you can’t expect a child to do successfully in the classroom if they are not physically and mentally well. So for us, it’s being able to fulfill a basic human need.”

RCS board hears special education report Champaign-Urbana News Gazette [Illinois]

In the RCS district, the percentage of students with individualized education programs rose steadily each year, growing from 16.7 percent in 2011–12 to 19.7 percent in 2015–16.

Is Labour’s promise to boost mental health support in schools a win for Canterbury? Stuff.co.nz [New Zealand]

Labour’s pledge to fund another 80 mental health workers for Canterbury primary and secondary schools was well received last week. One youth leader said it was a “good start”, while a principal added it was “an acknowledgement our schools are really struggling”.

Absent from the communal backslapping was any examination of whether the plan was the best way to spend $30 million over three years in a widely under-resourced health system, or if the manpower even existed for an eleven-fold increase of current staffing levels.

It’s easy to overlook such questions. Demand for youth mental health services in Canterbury has increased 73 per cent since the earthquakes and long wait times mean it often falls to schools to fill in the gaps. Only seven full-time mental health workers cover 136 primary and secondary schools in the region, with principals reporting issues including children wetting themselves, learning and behavioural difficulties, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Labour saw an area of unambiguous need and acted.

Teachers go above and beyond Portsmouth Daily Times [Ohio]

Most children pay little attention to the amount of sound or even light in a room, but the children in Anna Whitt and Crystal McCain’s classroom may very well. These are Portsmouth Elementary teachers who teach children with multiple disabilities. Their classes consist of grades kindergarten through fourth grade students with different needs. They have students with autism, hearing impaired, and visual impairments; just a variety of needs.

A sensory room is defined as a special room, designed to develop a person’s sense, usually through special lighting, music, and objects. It can be used as a therapy for children. “Sensory Room” is characterized by spaces specifically designed and utilized to promote self-organization and positive change.

Their needs have gotten higher, so their units had more kids in them and they were trying to figure out how to better meet their needs, because doing it by themselves is a difficult job.

At the end of the school year, they got together and thought about combining their classrooms. They wanted to create a big sensory room, to meet the behavioral and social needs of their students. It would also help students needing help in gross motor and fine motor skills.

Aug 21, 2017

Emotions run high as new bikes presented Morwell VIC Express [United Kingdom]

It was an emotional scene at Traralgon Football Club on Friday afternoon when 42 school-aged children were presented with bikes thanks to Australia’s longest running motoring event, the Variety Bash.

The handful of students from Grey Street Primary School, Noah’s Arc and Latrobe Special Developmental School were selected to receive the bikes for a range of circumstances….

“In this area we gave a $22,000 cheque to Latrobe Special Development School to help with their sensory room which helps with things like a magic carpet, a mirror ball and a number of other things.

“That will allow them to create a sensory room within their school for the special needs students…. it will give them a quiet space to go if they’re a bit anxious.”

AISD parents surprised with school nursing changes first day back KXAN TV [Texas]

On the first day of school, parents in the Austin Independent School District tell KXAN they were hit with a surprise.

Stephanie Miller says parents are telling each other Registered Nurses were going away at all elementary school campuses, including Davis Elementary where her daughter, Amber, is a fourth grader.

“I’m concerned for all the other children who are like my son who have life-threatening food allergies, who have asthma, who have diabetes or other types of conditions that require immediate medical care,” said Miller.

KXAN first started digging into potential changes to health care at AISD schools in March of 2017 after receiving an anonymous tip that the total number of school nurses were being cut. Seton Healthcare Family has contracted with the district since 1995 to provide health care services at all schools. At the time, KXAN learned Seton would be charging $2 million more than what AISD budgeted, but no decisions had been made.

Schools throughout the country are grappling with teacher shortage, data show WENY-TV [New York]

As students head back to school, Sorrells’ district is one of hundreds across the country grappling with a growing teacher shortage — especially in key areas such as math and special ed. “Currently, there are not enough qualified teachers applying for teaching jobs to meet the demand in all locations and fields,” said the Learning Policy Institute, a national education think tank, in a research brief in September.

Some schools, such as in New York City, are being forced to increase class sizes, which some studies show can reduce how much a student learns. The institute estimated last year that if trends continue, there could be a nationwide shortfall of 112,000 teachers by 2018. What subjects are most affected?

Public schools in 48 states and the District of Columbia report teacher shortages in math for the 2017–18 school year, according to the US Department of Education. Forty-six states report shortages in special education, 43 in science and 41 in foreign languages…Is there help on the way? Probably not soon. The supply of aspiring teachers has been dwindling. This turnover is especially high in subjects such as special education, which can place additional demands on teachers. …

Changing student discipline with Restorative Justice practices ABC 12 [Michigan]

Schools across Michigan are being asked to change the way they discipline students. The “zero tolerance” offenses will now have a different outcome. Instead of immediately suspending or expelling a student, the district has to come up with a Restorative Justice policy…They include student’s age and disciplinary history, whether or not they have a disability, the seriousness of the violation or their behavior, whether what they did threatened anyone else’s safety, if restorative practices will be used to address their wrongdoing and if a lesser intervention would properly address their actions..

“The difference now is that we’re also going to be providing those students an opportunity to increase their empathy to hear how this affected other people,” Halabicky said. “And, then there has to be a joint collaboration agreement on how is that harm going to be repaired.”

“Instead of automatically kicking students out, we are now provided the opportunity to teach them a life lesson that could actually change their lives as opposed to having sitting at home probably unsupervised, if you’re a teenager, doing who knows what, but certainly not learning and not working to become a productive contributing member of our community and society,” Halabicky said.

A Striking Rise in Serious Allergy Cases Wall Street Journal [United States]

The rate of reports of severe allergic reactions to foods like peanuts has increased by nearly five times over the past decade, according to a new analysis of private insurance claims.

The analysis looked at private insurance claims with a diagnosis of an anaphylactic food reaction from 2007 to 2016. Anaphylaxis is a systemic allergic reaction in which the immune system affects multiple parts of the body at the same time, often leading to trouble breathing. It can be fatal if not treated promptly and requires an injection of epinephrine and a trip to the emergency room.

“This is an incredibly important study,” says James Baker, chief executive officer and chief medical officer for the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), a Virginia-based advocacy group. “Clearly our own information suggests that not just the frequency of people having food allergy but the severity of food allergy in individuals has increased dramatically.”

The proliferation of food allergies in the western world, particularly to peanuts, has baffled medical experts who struggle with how to advise parents and children for a condition with no permanent cure. Studies have found that as many as 8% of children have a food allergy, with nearly 40% having a history of severe reactions.

The increase could be related to the increasing use of antibiotics, rising rates of C-sections that affect the microbiomes of babies, and an increasingly sterile environment, says Hugh Sampson, director of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. All have altered the good bacteria in our intestinal tracts, which alters the programming of our immune systems.

With principals in ‘crisis mode,’ new Washington state law taps into thousands of potential teacher recruits Seattle Times [Washington]

The Washington Legislature this year agreed to help principals struggling with a teacher shortage — especially in special-education classrooms — by tapping into a deep recruiting pool of thousands of paraeducators who already work with at-risk students.

In Washington state, one in five principals last fall said they were in a “crisis mode” as they tried to find enough teachers to fill every classroom.

The most challenging position they struggled to fill, according to a state survey, was for teachers in special-education programs. Nearly two-thirds of principals said they found it difficult to find teachers for those classrooms.

Huntley alternative school helps students with anxiety, focus problems, more Huntley Daily Herald [Illinois]

…yet social anxiety, an inability to focus or keep up with the expected pace, a lack of self confidence or any number of other reasons can keep some students from experiencing success in high school. That’s what Huntley Community School District 158’s new alternative school aims to fix.

The Huntley High School Alternative School, which began in January, helps students who are falling behind with earning credits to catch up, providing them individualized instruction in a smaller classroom setting, and extra social-emotional support.

“Kids aren’t there because of discipline issues,” said Danyce Letkewicz, Huntley High School associate principal. “Kids that are experiencing anxiety or school avoidance … it’s kind of a wide variety. Some kids just never fit in the standard model of a high school, some have severe ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder), severe anxiety or don’t love high school.”

Such students tend to fall through the cracks in a traditional setting like that of Huntley High, which has more than 3,000 students, she added. “They needed something more flexible,” Letkewicz said.

SEND: ‘Special school places will be more oversubscribed — mainstream needs to be ready’ UK TES [United Kingdom]

In its latest pupil number projections, the Department for Education indicated that it expects there to be an increase in special school places of 13,000 over the period 2017 to 2026, reflecting an upward trend in the special schools population of 29 per cent since 2007.

This will equate to approximately 130 new schools, requiring approximately 6,500 staff, of whom around 1,600 will need to be teachers, within the next nine years.

However, currently there is not enough additional capacity being created, which is likely to result in a greater number of children who would ordinarily access specialist provision being unable to do so

This means that those children with complex special educational needs and disability, whose family may have elected to request access to a special school, are more likely to remain in mainstream. They will, of course, continue to be entitled to have their requirements met.

Will More Nurses in Hawaii Schools Help Keep Kids In Class? Honolulu Civil Beat [Hawaii]

Officials believe student health concerns play a major role in kids missing school. Common health issues among students on the Leeward Coast range from asthma to severe allergies…The Legislature provided $2.8 million during the last session to expand Hawaii Keiki, which is overseen by the state Department of Education and University of Hawaii Manoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene, into all 15 complex areas in the state. …

This school year, the goal is for each complex area — which consists of a cluster of high schools, plus their feeder elementary and middle schools — to have its own advanced practice registered nurse, or APRN, who has the ability to diagnose conditions and prescribe medication.

The $2.8 million will fund the salaries of the 15 nurses, pay for supplies and equipment for school health centers and support the creation of an electronic record system to track student health data, according to Mary Boland, dean of the UH Manoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene. …

Hawaii has been slow to establish school-based health centers because of limited resources and challenges in finding the proper staff, according to health professionals…Housed in a converted classroom, the clinic is staffed by a physician, dentist, two nurse practitioners and support staff. The facility includes two medical rooms, two dental examination areas and a small reception area.

Aug 20, 2017

Cy-Fair’s The Speech Emporium helps clients overcome speech problems Community Impact [Texas]

Speech language pathologist Jennifer Swearengin opened The Speech Emporium in September 2004 after seeing the need among children for speech therapy while working in local elementary schools.

“My business partner and I were both working in the schools, and we felt like we weren’t doing enough with the kids,” she said. “We would be working with five different children at the same time. So, we wanted to open a practice where we could really collaborate with the parents and help the kids with a one-on-one setting.”

… Many patients are children with autism, which Swearengin said is becoming more common.

Should Texas schools allowing paddling? Houston Chronicle [Texas]

Recently in Three Rivers, Texas, the school board voted to allow their designated administrators to paddle students who continually disrupt class instruction. Their 6–0 vote shows overwhelming support for corporal punishment, and the district guidelines state only a principal or behavior coordinator can administer this discipline.

However, parents can decide to opt out of having their child receive this punishment by notifying the school. Should corporal punishment return to all school districts?

For many years, teachers have reported they experience a battleground struggle when teaching students, and many suffer from undue fatigue because of bad student behavior. A research study shows that 50 percent leave the education profession their first three years because of student discipline issues and work load requirements.

Many principals and staff members want corporal punishment in schools because parents do not administer it enough at home, and their children’s bad behavior continues during the school day…

Meanwhile, schools continue to wrestle with many heedless discipline problems and reckless student conduct, searching for better methods to teach, educate, and change behavior. Although districts approve detentions and in school suspensions for correcting bad behavior, still these measures sometimes act powerless in training young adults.

Schools need to be able to use expulsions as a last resort Herald Sun [Australia]

And what is obvious is not that principals are getting rid of troublesome pupils without cause, but that the system is failing to keep pace with the increase in diagnosed behavioural difficulties in our classrooms.

For instance, a grade 1 student with autism, ADHD, oppositional defiance disorder, anxiety and depression joined a school in term 3. He had the support of a teacher’s aide — but for 10 hours a week. Two hours a day for a boy who banged his head on walls when he was anxious.

How does a school explain to the victim of a kick, bite or punch that they will continue to be in the same class as the bully? The report also criticises principals for not providing enough evidence that they have investigated incidents properly. Principals are not police; imagine the outrage from civil libertarians if teachers searched lockers, school bags, patted down kids or installed security cameras to gather a case.

HealthLinc to open new site in Starke County NWI.com [Indiana]

Available to all Oregon-Davis students, the telehealth center will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. when school is in session.

It allows children to be seen by a health care provider before work or school and without needing an appointment. Registration and a parental consent form must be signed before services can be provided.

“We are proud to bring telehealth to Oregon-Davis Schools,” stated Beth Wrobel, CEO of HealthLinc, which is based in Valparaiso and also has clinics in East Chicago and Michigan City. “The advantages of getting an early diagnosis and immediate health care services can reduce classroom absences, which has been proven to positively impact learning.”

The services available through the telehealth center include diagnoses and treatment for acute illness (strep throat, ear infections, rash, flu, and minor injuries), limited laboratory testing, and behavioral health services and referrals.

State making changes in juvenile detention center management Magnolia Reporter [Arkansas]

The governor and DYS officials outlined the changes they have made this year, and which they expect to continue after private firms take over the centers in July of 2018. Youths receive treatment for mental health problems and substance abuse more consistently, and it is provided by trained professionals.

Education is better tailored to the individual needs of students, so that they can maintain their academics at grade level or reach their grade level.

In the middle of the past school year, when DYS took over the detention centers, 92 percent of the 193 youths were not at grade level in reading and 86 percent were not at grade level in math. Also, 22 percent needed special education services.

A long and memorable session of the Legislature Knox Village Soup [Maine]

We passed a number of other measures, including a bill to support nursing facilities and residential care facilities, a bill to improve access to opiate addiction treatment in Maine, a bill to increase the affordability of safe drinking water, a bill to establish a task force to identify special education cost drivers and a bill to set up retail marijuana testing facilities so we can ensure public safety once the new law, passed on last November’s ballot, takes full effect.

Owen J. Roberts’ East Coventry Elementary taking shape Reading Eagle [Pennsylvania]

School officials said the bulk of the district’s added expenses were the result of increases to the district’s required pension contribution as well as additional special education expenses

Aug 19, 2017

New teachers union chief known for speaking out Delaware State News [Delaware]

Mike Matthews is not afraid to make waves. Now, as president of one of the most powerful groups in Legislative Hall he’s got a chance to influence policy…One of the issues he hopes to spotlight is special education. The state has seen far more students with disabilities enroll in recent years, placing increasing strain on the school system and budget-writers.

It’s a topic especially close to Mr. Matthews’ heart: He has taught special ed for several years.

School exclusion ‘linked to long-term mental health problems’ — study UK Guardian [United Kingdom]

Excluding children from school may lead to long-term psychiatric problems and psychological distress, a major new study has shown…The study found a “bi-directional association” between psychological distress and exclusion: children with psychological distress and mental health problems were more likely to be excluded but their exclusion acted as a predictor of increased psychological distress three years later on.

The research, described as the most rigorous analysis of its kind, will be published this week in the journal Psychological Medicine. It warns that exclusion can contribute to a range of mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety as well as behavioural disturbance.

“For children who really struggle at school, exclusion can be a relief as it removes them from an unbearable situation with the result that on their return to school they will behave even more badly to escape again. As such, it becomes an entirely counterproductive disciplinary tool as it encourages the very behaviour it intends to punish. By avoiding exclusion and finding other solutions to poor behaviour, schools can help children’s mental health in the future as well as their education.”

Studies show that exclusion is more common among boys, secondary school pupils and those living in socio-economically deprived circumstances. Poor general health and learning disabilities, as well as having parents with mental illness, may also be factors…The responses confirm that children with learning difficulties and mental health problems — such as depression, anxiety, ADHD and autism spectrum conditions — were more likely to be excluded from the classroom.

Black Hawk Center gets donations for playground Quad City Times [Illinois]

The Center has students ages 3 to 22 with severe physical, emotional or intellectual disabilities that require intensive instruction and services. The students come from 13 local school districts and an area of 1,250 square miles in western Illinois…

Ferndale School District Announces Food Restrictions Oakland County Times [Michigan]

Safety is the top priority of our school family. This year we have had several students identified as having life threatening allergies that can be triggered by airborne, touch, contact, and/or consumption of various food items. Due to the seriousness and severity of these allergies we have had to restrict the types of food brought into the FECC, FLEL, and FUEL for the coming school year…

When I say acceptance, I refer to an attitude of openness and respect for the differences that exist amongst people. Although this term is typically used to refer to ethnic and religious differences, the concepts of diversity, tolerance, and acceptance can also be applied to gender, people with physical and intellectual disabilities, and other differences, such as life-threatening allergies.

Sioux Trails takes telemental counseling to the next level New Ulm Journal [Minnesota]

A new service at a local mental health clinic means clients will be able to lie on their own couch during sessions instead of their therapist’s.

Sioux Trails Mental Health Clinic (STMHC) is expanding its telemental health program to allow therapy clients to communicate with their therapists via video-chat.

“It is using two-way, real-time interactive communication,” Executive Director Catherine Job said. “Basically it is putting someone in front of a TV and they see their psychiatrist via the TV as opposed to being in the same room as them. ‘ Sioux Trails previously offered psychiatric treatment via telemental health, though that could not be done from home. …

“Eventually we may even be able to use it in the schools, because we also have therapists in many of the local schools,” Job said. “But we do not want to try it on the younger kids, we want to try it on our mature adolescents and our adults because we have never done this before.”

Centres of excellence vision for pupils with special needs Northumberland Gazette [United Kingdom]

“There are some real challenges,” he said. “One hundred and thirty-one students are educated outside the county because we simply don’t have the spaces and that was one of the first priorities I looked at to see what we could do. “For some young people, being educated outside the county is the right things to do because of very specialist needs, but for the vast majority, the logistics, transport and stress is not acceptable. …

In Northumberland, there are 7,707 children eligible for SEN support, at a rate which is above the national average. Many are educated in mainstream schools, but 704 go to special schools — up from 491 in 2008. In terms of the needs, the top three are autism spectrum disorder (ASD) — 267 young people; social and emotional mental-health problems — 240; and a combination of the two — 44. Coun Daley said: “There’s an increasing number of young people requiring SEN provision, so there’s real pressure on numbers, which is reflected in 131 having to be educated outside the county. “We have identified some ways of immediately alleviating some of that pressure, but the long-term plan is developing the centres of excellence.

Column: Mandated but gradual changes improve lives The Worthington Globe [Minnesota]

Currently, in the Worthington school district, approximately 20 percent of the space within the district is used by and for students with special needs. We employ psychologists, special education teachers, speech clinicians, occupational therapists, social workers, therapists, paraprofessionals and an adaptive physical education teacher. Why do we need space for all these staff and students? Our students need these services to make educational progress and learn to cope with their disabilities. So things have changed — for the better!

You may even know somebody with a disability and are aware of the many services that are provided by the 52 special education professionals and paraprofessionals. A total of 12.9 percent of the students within the school district are served under the umbrella of special education. They deserve to have a quality education — not only due to the law, but because it is ethically right and good for students.

Bringing a love of bikes to his community San Diego Union Tribune [California]

The club promotes an active lifestyle at a young age, and shows kids that exercise can be fun. More than one in four children in San Diego are overweight or obese. This epidemic is particularly acute in our community, where over 40 percent of students scored in the “high risk body composition” category on the California Physical Fitness Test. Many also suffer from asthma and other respiratory problems. These health issues have a detrimental impact on students’ physical well-being, but may also have psychological, social and economic ramifications. Bicycling is a healthy form of recreation that can last a lifetime.

Aug 18, 2017

Over 650 families in limbo after vital autism support service in Perth forced to close immediately Scottish Sun [Scotland]

Some of the vital services Perth Autism Support provides include a school liaison officer to give advice to teachers, after-school activities for children who have autism, and one-to-one free training programmes for families.

Lynsey Paterson, family and transition service manager at Perth Autism Support, said the decision to suspend services was “very tough” and made “with great regret”. But the support service “had no option” except to close after receiving “very little response” from Perth and Kinross council, the NHS and Scottish Government. She said: “We’ve been inundated with parents calling us and that’s been really moving…

“What we need is sustained core funding.”

Former Clarksville teacher blames school system in autistic child abuse case The Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle [Tennessee]

A former kindergarten teacher facing a federal lawsuit and child abuse charges told school officials that she was in a “no-win” situation and did not receive requested training on how to deal with a child with autism who was disrupting her classroom. St. Bethlehem Elementary School teacher Bonnie Conn resigned in February after two incidents in which she was reprimanded for dragging a child out of her classroom by his arm and leaving him crying and unsupervised in a hallway.

Conn and the Clarksville-Montgomery County School Board are named in a federal lawsuit that alleges she abused a severely autistic child assigned to her class. The boy’s mother, Feltonas Wells, says in the lawsuit that Conn “violently” dragged the boy out of the class then shut the door, causing it to hit his head before she left him in the hallway…

“Most times when I call for help, it takes a long time to get it and sometimes no help comes at all,” Conn wrote, noting that she’d watched the child through the window and saw when the other teacher came and got him.

On her resignation form, Conn wrote, “This school system has placed me in a no-win situation with multiple behavior problems and no support, after 18 years of exemplary evaluations.”

She said she had asked for support and additional training repeatedly. Conn wrote that she told Williams that she was “in survival mode and not sleeping because I have so many behavior issues in my room and I am not getting anything taught.”

In December, she said, she asked for someone to get the child at 10 a.m. but no one was available and he disrupted her class all day long. Another teacher took him three times but he would not behave for her either. She said the child was counseled but did not improve.

Conn said that she had asked for training for children with autism before she knew she was getting an autistic child in her classroom and notes she was “not an inclusion teacher for kindergarten.”

Dining at BGSU to see a shake-up this year Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune [Ohio]

Also new this fall is Elimin8 at Carillon Place, 999 E. Wooster St. The station menu is allergen free, without the top eight allergens: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (such as almonds, cashews and walnuts), fish and shellfish, soy and wheat.

“We have noticed a growing amount of students with a wide range of food allergies dietary needs and are building Elimin8 to help provide quality and safe services to those students,” explained Zachrich.

All MN high school coaches required to take asthma training Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

The Minnesota State High School League has joined the Minnesota Department of Health’s asthma program to launch an online training module that teaches coaches about asthma symptoms and how to respond if a student athlete has an asthma attack. Asthma is a chronic disease that can cause airway swelling, hyper-responsive or “twitchy” airways, an overproduction of mucus, and tightening of the muscles around the airways. An estimated 393,000 Minnesota children and adults have asthma.

In 2015, 61 people died from asthma, including two people under the age of 18. In 2014 there were 21,800 emergency department visits and 3,400 hospitalizations for asthma across Minnesota…

Every year approximately 300,000 Minnesota children participate in league-sponsored athletic programs. Among those who participate, one in six young athletes have been diagnosed with asthma at some point in their life.

Union Co. superintendent finds $8 million to help fund low-performing schools WBTV [North Carolina]

East Union’s principal, Terrence Sanders, is excited he will get the extra money to help his students succeed and plans to hire 15 tutors.

“This will allow the tutor to come into the classroom to support students on the spot in the classroom, and also pull them out and give them specialized small group instruction,” Sanders said.

The money will also be used to hire a social worker and a mental health therapist for the middle school. The school counselor says that extra resource can make a difference which can equate to academic achievement.

“If you aren’t in your best mental state, how can you be expected to learn math and learn English or learn anything when you are not all the way there mentally?” Christopher Eaton, who is the counselor for East Union Middle School, asked.

Increase in local students abusing Adderall News 4, Jacksonville [Florida]

Healthcare professionals working to fight drug abuse say they’re noticing a big problem that is only getting worse. They are seeing more local students abusing the stimulant, Adderall, and not understanding how dangerous it can be. Adderall is often prescribed for people diagnosed with attention deficit disorders, including ADHD.
 
Health professionals want parents to understand that abusing this type of drug can lead to serious health issues. They say some people view Adderall as just something to take if you need to study hard. In reality, there can be major consequences. “Adderall is a great medication for someone with Attention Deficit Disorder. It works perfect for that. But kids look at it as a study drug,” said Dan Renaud, executive director of Florida Recovery Schools.

9 things to know about Wichita schools as another year kicks off Witchita Eagle [Kansas]

Behavior issues: District leaders say improving student behavior is a top priority, after data showed that the number of suspensions, detentions and other discipline incidents increased substantially over the past four years.

The trend is especially dramatic in elementary schools, where the number of discipline incidents increased more than 53 percent.

A plan presented to school board members last month calls for schools to clarify expectations, monitor discipline data more carefully and help teachers better understand students’ diverse backgrounds. The district also plans to ramp up teacher recruitment and retention, with a focus on placing more veteran teachers in high-poverty schools.

Teaching social-emotional skills: Beginning this fall, all Wichita elementary school students will get daily lessons on social and emotional skills as part of Second Step. The district paid $238,000 for the program, which is being financed through funds targeted toward at-risk and special education students.

During 20-minute lessons conducted by their classroom teacher, students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade will talk about how to understand and manage their emotions, be aware of others’ feelings and make responsible decisions. Some secondary schools will pilot a Second Step program for older students.

Back to School Information for Bethel Public School Students HamletHub.com [Connecticut]

Bethel Superintendent Christine Carver said, “In an effort to address the growing population of gluten-free and vegetarian students, we are offering more of these choices. You will see them marked on our menus as (V) for Vegetarian and (GF) for Gluten Free. We will be offering Coleman’s All-Natural Gluten Free Chicken Tenders every Monday as a choice in the elementary schools, and on hamburger and hot dog day, students will have a choice of getting their selection bun free.

Larimer County eyes new behavioral health solutions The Coloradoan

Voters rejected a ballot initiative in November to pay for a new behavioral health center and services, but Larimer County officials aren’t giving up the fight. Behavioral health needs in Larimer County aren’t going away, said Laurie Stolen, Larimer County’s behavioral health director. Commissioner Lew Gaiter challenged her to look at what can be done while the county considers running another funding initiative.

“They all come with a price tag, obviously, because there is no quick fix to this,” Stolen said. “While they are a Band-Aid, they are a step in the right-direction.”

Food allergy presentation to be held at Northfield Hospital Southern Minnesota

On Monday, Aug. 21, two health experts from Northfield Public Schools will give a presentation on food allergies and how to prepare for a safe school year. The talk is free and open to the public, and will be held in the Northfield Hospital Conference Center, 2000 North Ave., from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Food allergies affect one in 13 children — roughly two kids in every classroom across the U.S. Food allergies among children have increased more than 50% since 1997, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Allergic reactions to food can be mild or severe, and potentially deadly.

Burbank Unified renews contract for mental health and wellness centers LA Times [California]

The mental health and wellness program in the Burbank Unified School District will continue at least another year after the school board renewed the district’s contract with the Family Service Agency of Burbank, a local nonprofit agency, on Thursday. Wellness centers at John Burroughs and Burbank high schools provide a supportive environment, where students can walk in to share their thoughts and feelings with counselors from the Family Service Agency.

For the 2017–18 school year, the district will pay $100,000 for counseling and administrative services at Burbank High, said Supt. Matt Hill in a phone interview after the school board meeting. A grant from the Local Education Agency will be used to pay for Burbank High’s center.

The Family Service Agency will cover $100,000 for Burroughs High’s center, Hill added.

The district debuted its first wellness center at Burbank High in 2016. During the 2016–17 school year, 628 students visited Burbank High’s wellness center, totaling 1,992 visits. Costanzo helped establish the center at Burroughs High, which was modeled after the one at Burbank High. He also helped facilitate teacher training on positive-behavior interventions.

Very special, indeed [Editorial] The Baltimore Sun [Maryland]

School officials are planning to spend more than $1 million retrofitting classrooms and other facilities to make them usable for teaching special needs students. That would follow an expenditure of $250,000 in 2015 to create a special classroom at Fallston High School to accommodate students with autism.

The significance of this approach is huge. Harford County Public Schools are responsible — especially financially — for educating all children, including those with special needs. If the public schools have neither the facilities nor the expertise to educate special needs kids they have to send them out of the system for their education.

That’s not cheap. School officials say it costs $76,000 to $238,000 per student to place them in programs outside of the system. So every student kept in their home school system could save Harford County Public Schools nearly a quarter of a million dollars.

In the school year that begins after Labor Day in a few weeks, the school system expects students with some degree of autism to total 49 at the elementary level and 12 each at the middle school and high school levels. Keeping that many special needs students in the county school system is a raw savings of between $5.5 million and nearly $17.4 million.

Projections are that incidences of autism will increase. “Prevalence has increased by 6–15 percent each year from 2002 to 2010,” according to numbers from the federal government’s Centers for Disease Control that were posted on the Autism Society’s web site. …

OPINION: Local mental health guide a promising tool for teachers Halifax Chronicle Herald [Canada]

Seeing some 400 teachers and school service providers flooding into the Halifax West High School auditorium in late July was an eye-opening experience. In the middle of the summer, they committed time to a two-day conference focusing on child and teen mental health.

With the news full of stories warning of a “mental health crisis,” teachers in the K-12 system are feeling anxious and more conscious than ever of their role in the front lines of education…

About one in five people may experience a mental disorder during adolescence. If left unrecognized and untreated, such disorders can lead to substantial negative outcomes in physical and mental health, academic and vocational achievement, interpersonal relationships, and other life experiences…A recent Canadian study of some 10,000 educators, cited by IWK Health researcher Dr. Yifeng Wei at the academy, found that over 90 per cent of teachers lacked adequate preparation for responding to mental health issues.

What’s new in Minerva Local Schools? CantonRep.com [Ohio]

Minerva Elementary will unveil its Star Room, a sensory room for students who benefit from stimulation of light, sounds or touch. The room, partially funded through the Love, Andrew Autism Foundation, includes mood lighting, a ball pit, weighted blankets and a wall with a waterfall of colors.

Positive behaviors recognized

Minerva Elementary has established the Positive Behaviors Interventions and Supports program, which encourages good behavior rather than relying on punishment for bad behavior. The school has been recognized by the Ohio Department of Education as a PBIS Bronze school.

Bellevue School Board to vote on $301.5 million budget for 2017–2018 Bellevue Reporter [Washington]

“One of the areas where we’re spending more is special education,” deVita said of the $3.2 million increase.”

… We are moving forward with a model of inclusion, which basically says special needs children are general ed kids first and we’re working to put them in the least restrictive environment.”

That includes more co-teaching, she said, and working with SWIFT, an organization that provides academic and behavioral support.

Ogilvie completes £18.5m Aberdeen school Scottish Construction Now

Ogilvie Construction has successfully completed Aberdeen’s £18.5 million Centre of Excellence, which is the first of its kind in Scotland.

Orchard Brae School will be a hub for best practice in supporting pupils with Additional Support Needs (ASN) from across Aberdeen.

As well as functioning as a school, Orchard Brae will act as a community hub for families, ASN parents / groups and charities to access, as well as a hub for outreach services such as speech, language and autism support. …

Orchard Brae School will provide education and support for up to 150 full-time children and young people aged 3 to 18 years, with severe and complex educational and medical needs, from across Aberdeen, and replaces Woodlands School and Hazelwood School. A pre-school additional support service, previously provided in Seaton School, will also be relocated to the new facility.

Children’s medical needs: who should be responsible? TES.com [Scotland]

Unions say parents should be liable for care in schools, but experts disagree. Many thousands of children in Scotland require medication just to get through the school day. Without it, the consequences can be severe and even potentially dangerous.

Being unable to take medication in school — or a failure to administer it properly — may make it impossible.

1089 Northland students need clinical psychological help The Northern Advocate [New Zealand]

Pat Newman said the 1089 Northland children who need to clinical psychological help will end up in prison if they are not able to access the services they need. An experienced child therapist says agencies need to work together to help the 1089 Northland children identified as needing urgent psychological help so they don’t end up struggling as adults.

Pat Newman, principal of Hora Hora Primary School, emailed every principal in Northland — about 150 of them — asking them to identify the number of students in their school who are high-needs behaviour, not because they are naughty but because they have been harmed in the past and need psychological help.

Mr Newman said 110 principals, about 100 of whom are primary school principals, responded and together identified 1089 pupils who needed clinical psychological help to recover from often horrific childhood experiences which included abuse of all kinds. …

“They end up going on to hurt other people, or they end up being sad and lonely adults who struggle.”

Aug 17, 2017

Back-to-School with Food Allergies: 7 Must-Have Tools Allergic Living [United States]

In U.S. schools, all students with a medical condition should have an IHCP or Individual Health Care Plan. Beyond that document is the individualized 504 Plan, which includes measures to ensure that students with “disabilities” have equal access to education in public schools. Many food-allergic students have 504 Plans, and Allergic Living highly recommends seeking one for strong clarity on accommodations — from the class to the lunchroom to the bus to the field trip. Read about how to get one here. …

A 2014 study identified 900 episodes of anaphylaxis occurring across 5,700 U.S. schools in the 2013–2014 academic year. About one-fifth of the students who reacted were not previously known to have food or sting allergies, and 49 percent of the total group were treated with a school-supplied epinephrine auto-injector. While your allergic student needs to have auto-injectors at school, also ask about whether the school is keeping stock epinephrine. Epinephrine saves lives.

Parents, schools urged to have asthma action plans for students Carroll County Comet [Indiana]

Asthma is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism. As students head back to school this month, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is urging parents and schools to have a plan to help students manage their asthma and stay in class.

Back-to-school means planning and communication for Durham students with epilepsy Durham Region [North Carolina]

Epilepsy Durham Region is ‘inundated’ with crisis calls every fall Melike Ceylan-Leamen doesn’t mince words when she talks about her son, Aydin Leamen, being diagnosed with epilepsy when he was in kindergarten.

“It was a gut punch,” the local mom says. “Shock was the first piece, but then you realize multiple, lifelong changes are going to happen. That all kind of hits you at once.”

When he was first diagnosed, Aydin — now nine and heading into Grade 4 — had up to 100 seizures a day. He has had to cope with medical tests, hospital stays and the side effects of strong medications. Some of the biggest challenges have been at school.

With a new school year just around the corner, experts say this is a key message to share with the community. “Every fall, we are inundated with phone calls the first few weeks of school, many of them are crisis calls,” says Dianne McKenzie, executive director at Epilepsy Durham Region, a nonprofit group that provides support, advocacy and public education.

Parents, Schools Urged To Have Asthma Action Plans For Students WBIW Indianapolis [Indiana]

Asthma is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism. As students head back to school this month, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is urging parents and schools to have a plan to help students manage their asthma and stay in class.

An asthma action plan can help ensure children don’t miss important time in the classroom and even save a student’s life. Parents are encouraged to work with their child’s doctor to create a plan that lists daily treatment or medications and when they should be administered. The plan also should include details on how to handle worsening symptoms or attacks and guidelines on when a doctor should be called and when to go to the emergency room. Plans should be signed by a physician and kept on file at school.

School to guide autistic children toward interacting with society Dover Post [Delaware]

Special kids require special schooling, and that’s what Tyler Anaya is proposing for Kent County. Anaya is president of the board and a founding member of the Central Delaware School of Arts for the Exceptional for children on the autism spectrum. The school initially will serve fourth-graders through 21-year-olds, she said.

It will include typical educational and inclusion programs for children with high-functioning autism, learning disabilities and other disorders that can affect their ability to interact well with others… “I thought, ‘What if we had a school in Delaware that allowed for individualized education, giving the same educational opportunities as every other child?’” she said.

Anaya created the CDSEA’s executive board three years ago, intending to form the school as a nonprofit. That status was approved in 2016.

Sherrard may add kindergarten classes due to growth Moline Dispatch-Argus [Illinois]

The district also plans to spend about $10,000 at Winola Grade School for a “sensory room” designed to address the physical and emotional needs of students.

“We will have a quiet space for students that need a quiet space. … Then we’ll have some active spaces as well,” said principal Kari Roberts. The room will include a cozy canoe, a mirrored wall, jumping boards and water tables. Students using the room would be chosen through teacher

LEAD to impact mental health education in Massachusetts Leominster (MA) Champion [Massachusetts]

Several years ago, a group of former Leominster High School students noticed that something critical was missing from their curriculum: Education on mental health. Given that teenagers are constantly exposed to stressors that can cause mental illness, it seemed imperative to these young students that they be taught about mental health and wellness in addition to their other core classes. They also discovered that there were no high schools in Massachusetts that offered curriculum on mental health. As a result, they decided to develop a course that could be used in conjunction with the school’s regular Health Education class, and it would focus on mental health.

These students, who are a part of Let’s Empower, Advocate, and Do (LEAD), developed an innovative mental health curriculum to improve student wellness, academic performance, and early intervention in school districts called Mental Health Promotion (MHP). MHP is the Health Education supplement LEAD developed that incorporates all the information from Health class, while expanding on the mental health topics that affect students. As a part of the curriculum, students are taught using Mental Health first aid, newspaper articles, TED Talks, resources from nonprofit organizations, etc. It is a half-year course, similar to normal Health Education currently required by Massachusetts public schools.

Improving mental health services in schools Fox 7 [Texas]

“The services will include direct mental health treatment from mental health professionals through the use of software that is teleconferencing basically with students. And in addition to that we’ll also have a family partner who partners with families to advocate for them and their students to make sure they’re getting the mental health services they need.

“We heard from our counselors that we had students on campuses who most likely weren’t receiving the mental health services that they needed, and so we really knew that we wanted to provide something, but of course cost is an issue…

Teens need mental health supports earlier: survey Metro News Canada

British Columbia needs to improve its mental health supports for teenagers, particularly in schools, according to four in five participants in a three-week mental health survey.

On the question of which demographic of the population should be prioritized for interventions, 80 per cent chose adolescents. And schools were listed as the most important choice of screening location, garnering a full half of responses.”

I’m not surprised, because we know youth are a high-risk group,” explained CEO Bev Gutray in a phone interview. “But if we can get to them early, and they can get mental health care early on, many can recover fully.

City-paid social workers coming to district schools PhillyTrib.com [Pennsylvania]

More than 20 social workers will be placed in School District of Philadelphia schools for the 2017–18 school year. The social workers will help identify the needs of youth and families, help navigate involvement in social support systems, and provide referrals for behavioral health evaluation and treatment opportunities at 21 district schools and one charter.

“We have quite a few children in crises,” said Tangela McClam, principal of Lewis C. Cassidy Academics Plus School in West Philadelphia. “The cycle for which children are in crises and how they receive care is broken in various places.”

The schools chosen include some that are part of the Mayor’s Office of Education Community Schools and those within the West Philadelphia Promise Neighborhood Schools. The cost of the initiative is approximately $1.2 million…

Shenendehowa H.S. expanding mental health services Saratoga Springs (NY) Community News

In addition to its counseling center, Shen’s wellness services include psychologists, social workers, a transition counselor, a text message hotline and student empowerment services.

“About 3–4 years ago I wrote a proposal to start a mental health program here at Shenendehowa because we had collected data in the previous three years about the mental health needs of the students,” said Shen’s Director of Policy and Community Development Rebecca Carman. “What was happening was students were coming to the nurse’s office complaining of a headache, couldn’t sit still in class, this issue, that issue, but nothing medical. When we dug into the data we found there were more mental health issues or trauma in these students lives.”…Carman said the district wanted the service on campus to keep the issues from effecting students’ emotional, academic, and physical development and to provide relief from symptoms that may have been related to long-term related issues. The Center For the Family has a satellite office on the campus and this year it will be staffed by three therapists.

“They’re addressing issues of depression, anxiety, stress, trauma and suicide,” Carman said. “It’s an example of the school district working with the family to insure students come to school, stay in school and hopefully, graduate.”

School district adds mental health counselor position All Point Bulletin [Washington]

Recognizing an increased need for behavioral and mental health counseling in its schools, the Blaine school district hired a half-time mental health counselor who will work in all district schools starting this year.

For Blaine and other small districts, connecting kids with a counselor outside of school can be challenging, said Kaatri Jones, the district’s newly hired mental health counselor. Jones was formerly a counselor at Blaine Elementary School.

Glitch sparks concerns about fully funding new grant programs for kids with disabilities Houston Chronicle [Texas]

State lawmakers agreed to spend $40 million on school district programs for children with dyslexia and autism, but the Legislature botched the fine print in drafting the final version of the bill, and special education advocates worry the result could cut that check in half.

After lawmakers spent much of the last year working to address shortcomings in the state’s special education system, the governor Wednesday signed a bill to give $20 million in grants to prop up model programs for students with autism and $20 million in grants for students with dyslexia. But the wording in the bill could be construed in such a way that only $10 million would be distributed for programs focusing on each disability, potentially dwarfing the program that advocates say is already too small.

“It may only reach half the students that we originally envisioned,” said Steven Aleman, policy specialist with Disability Rights Texas, an advocacy group.

For more than a decade, Texas denied tens of thousands of students from special needs services. A 2016 Houston Chronicle investigation found the state set an arbitrary limit on the number of students who could receive special education services, setting the cap at 8.5 percent, far below the near national average of 13 percent.

Texas’ special education enrollment rate plummeted to the worst in the country, spurring an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education, which is expected to publish a report of its findings by September….

House Public Education Chairman Dan Huberty, who has a son with dyslexia, instead offered a slate of reforms to the state’s school funding formula…In the 2015–16 school year, about 141,000 Texas public school students were identified as dyslexic and more than 47,500 students as autistic…

Virtual School provides flexibility in learning The Clanton Advertiser [Alabama]

Chilton County Schools’ virtual school program allows students to complete their course online while remaining a student at their physical school.

Coordinator Kelvin Boulware said 11 students heave enrolled in the program so far this year. All of the classes are taken through the Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators and Students Statewide website.

Kristine Easterling, a virtual school senior at Chilton County High School, said virtual school appealed to her because she missed several days of school last year and found it difficult to catch up. Easterling estimated that she missed 30 days of schools last year for health-related reasons.

“I have asthma and anemia, and on top of that I have had always had problems with my (blood) sugar,” Easterling said. “With my allergies, I was never able to get a flu shot, so I would get the flu every school year.”

New Greenwich district-wide allergy awareness program to start in fall Greenwich Times [Connecticut]

When classes resume in two weeks, Greenwich Public Schools will roll out new resources for teachers, parents and students on how to keep children with severe food allergies safe.

Principals will be armed with letters, lesson plans, worksheets and book recommendations approved and vetted by district officials aimed at spreading food allergy awareness.

“It’s about saving lives,” said Abbe Large. The district needed to have a formal plan in place “to allow people to empathize and to protect their friends and to reduce the risk of accidental exposure.”

Large has been working on improving food allergy awareness in Greenwich Public Schools for three years. Her daughter Sophia, 9, has a life-threatening allergy to peanuts and tree nuts; her older daughter Katie, 16, is severely allergic to tree-nuts and gluten.

National statistics put the number of children with food allergies at one in 13, or about two students per classroom.

In 2015, Pupil Personnel Services Director Mary Forde estimated about 5 percent of students in the school district had life-threatening food allergies; local numbers are hard to quantify these days because food allergies are on the rise, Large said. …

New school for autistic children opens in Tallahassee WTXL Tallahassee [Florida]

A new private school for autistic children recently opened in Tallahassee and will accept up to 15 students this academic year.

The Inspire Autism Academy specializes in kindergarten through seventh grade. Unlike most other schools, the school will have no standardized testing. Such testing, school officials say, makes children with autism extremely anxious.

Jean Moore, the Inspire administrator, said the enrollment will be capped to ensure that every student has the proper one-on-one time with the teacher and the therapists.

Theresa May admits UK mental health services are ‘patchy’ BBC [United Kingdom]

Theresa May says the UK’s mental health services are “patchy” and has told Newsbeat she’s going to review them. She’s pledged to support teenagers through a new strategy and better access to help. “The National Citizens Service will build in mental health awareness,” the prime minister explained. She added that “10,000 members of staff” will be trained in “spotting issues around mental health”. … A survey of NHS trusts earlier this year also suggested that mental health services in England risk being overwhelmed by a combination of rising demand and staff shortages.

The prime minister says they’re not being complacent. “One of the reasons I’ve made mental health a priority is precisely because I think that there are issues,” says Theresa May.

“Over the years we haven’t given mental health the same focus in our national health service and other services as I think is necessary.

“Intervening early for young people is important. We’ve increased the number of mental health beds for young people and we’re putting record amounts of funding into mental health in the national health service.

St. Lawrence County receives $200,000 state grant to add mental health staff Watertown Daily Times [New York]

Through a new state-funded program, St. Lawrence County is hiring two mental health employees who will provide weekend on-call and after-hour support to children and families in the county’s 17 public school districts.

The county received a $200,000 grant from the state’s Office of Mental Health to create a Children and Family Support Team that will provide, coordinate and hold stakeholder meetings in each school district to identify how the county’s mental health clinic can better serve the community.

“Based on the number of referrals the mental health clinic is receiving, the ages are trending low,” Mr. Paige said. “Emergencies don’t often happen during regular work hours.”

Scientific breakthrough could see peanuts allowed back into Aussie Schools Melbourne Herald Sun [Australia]

Peanut butter sandwiches could soon be allowed back into schools following a huge medical breakthrough. World-first Melbourne research has seen two thirds of children with peanut allergies be seemingly cured of the deadly condition, raising the hope the technique may be adapted to other food allergies.

More than four years after completing a trial of an experimental peanut-probiotic treatment the majority of children from the trial can freely eat the nuts, once deadly to them, with no symptoms.

The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute study is the first time anyone has been able to prove a long-term ability to suppress the allergic reaction to peanuts.

Olivia May, 10, of Templestowe in Melbourne, took part in the trial. At age two, she had a tiny bite of a peanut butter sandwich causing her lips to swell as the first sign of a potentially deadly allergy. That scare locked her mother Tanya and family into years of stress and always having to carry an Epipen in case a lifesaving shot was needed.

Food allergies affects about 250 million people worldwide and have increased 350 per cent over the past 20 years. Peanut allergies have increased at the greatest rate.

School district adds mental health counselor position Fendale Northern Light [Washington]

Recognizing an increased need for behavioral and mental health counseling in its schools, the Blaine school district hired a half-time mental health counselor who will work in all district schools starting this year.

For Blaine and other small districts, connecting kids with a counselor outside of school can be challenging, said Kaatri Jones, the district’s newly hired mental health counselor. Jones was formerly a counselor at Blaine Elementary School.

Though the district is still defining the job, directors hope to provide students in need with more intense help than previously available. School counselors, who served all students on academic issues as well as social and emotional ones, were overloaded, said district special programs director Randy Elsbree.

The Blaine school district isn’t alone in needing more mental health counseling, Elsbree said. He pointed to increased levels of depression in students nationwide …

More than 100,000 teenagers a year to get mental health training to help them cope with exam stress Telegraph [United Kingdom]

More than 100,000 teenagers a year will be given mental health training to help them cope with the pressure of exam and build up their self-esteem, the Prime Minister announces today.

Theresa May will unveil plans to make a new mental health awareness course part of the National Citizen Service programme for teenagers in a bid to reduce the levels of depression and anxiety.

Mental health issues disproportionately affect young people, with over half of mental health problems starting by the age of 14 and 75 per cent by the age of 18. …

Under the plans the NCS is developing a dedicated mental health awareness course for teenagers talking part in NCS and offering mental health training for more than 10,000 frontline NCS staff to improve support to young people.

Aug 16, 2017

Pinellas working out plans to place a nurse in every public school by 2021 Tampa Bay Times [Florida]

Amid rising rates of food allergies and chronic diseases among students, the Pinellas County school district may get enough funding to staff a nurse in every school by 2021.

Sara O’Toole, the district’s managing officer for school health services, told School Board members at a workshop Tuesday that funding from the Pinellas County Commission would cover the cost of a licensed practical nurse at every school and a registered nurse overseeing every 10 LPNs. …

School nurses currently split their time among two or three schools, most days leaving front desk staff to deal with ill children and those with special medical needs. The school district has allotted more than $3 million toward school nurses, and the Pinellas Department of Health also chips in about $1 million annually.

Bates said of the district’s plans: “This is going to relieve a lot of the worry for the parents of children who have chronic illnesses.”

Mental health services in Manhattan schools are ‘falling short,’ says report from borough president Chalkbeat.org [New York]

Mental health services in Manhattan schools provide only a “patchwork” of care that is “falling short” of what students and educators need, according to a report released Wednesday by Borough President Gale Brewer.

Almost 237,000 New York City children under the age of 18 have a diagnosable mental health condition, according to Citizen’s Committee for Children of New York. In schools, mental health services are provided to students in a range of ways, including via school social workers, on-site clinics and mental health consultants.

But too often, the report notes, these services are inadequate.

“Our school mental health system, if you can call it that, is a quilt of mismatched pieces slapped together to do more with less,” Brewer said in an emailed statement.

More than 100 of the borough’s 307 public schools, the report notes, have no mental health services other than consultants provided through ThriveNYC, an initiative started by New York City’s first lady, Chirlane McCray. The consultants are licensed social workers who are supposed help schools assess their mental health needs and connect them with community organizations that can meet those needs. …

Hundreds gather in support of children’s mental health initiative Argus Leader [South Dakota]

Jennifer Van’t Hul’s caseload makes it hard to meet the mental health needs of her children. She works with nearly 500 students as a school counselor for Liberty Elementary School in the Harrisburg School District. Some suffer from depression and anxiety. Often, there aren’t enough services to help with treatment or prevention.

Thousands of South Dakota children who qualify for help go unserved by the state’s underfunded and outdated mental health system, which still sends millions of more dollars to the psychiatric hospital instead of community treatment centers.

South Dakota has the third-highest suicide rate in the nation for teens and young adults, according to the American Association of Suicidology. It has the fifth-highest juvenile detention rate in the United States.

A new school year, and a ‘new beginning’ for Ravenswood Middle School Palo Alto Online [California]

The new school is fully staffed for this year, Garriss said, with 25 teachers and staff, including a school counselor, school psychologist and two mental-health counselors from nonprofit Counseling and Support Services for Youth Bay Area. All but one staff member were internal hires from the Ravenswood school district. Several teachers also grew up in East Palo Alto themselves.

Groups helping kids breathe easier-Asthma-friendly program being rolled out at schools Seymour Tribune [Indiana]

Jackson, Fountain and Perry counties have been targeted for high rates of asthma among school-aged children and emergency room visits related to the respiratory condition. Asthma is a condition in which a person’s airways narrow and swell and produce extra mucus, which can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

Nursing supervisor Joyce McKinney said in 2016–17, Brownstown Central Community School Corp. had 159 students in kindergarten through 12th grade with asthma. In that same school year, school nurse coordinator Sherry Reinhart said 167 Seymour Community School Corp. K-12 students had asthma.

“Asthma is the most common health problem at Seymour Community School Corp. and can lead to very serious consequences if not treated appropriately,” she said.

Budget cuts may erode gains in school mental health services Hartford Business [Connecticut]

Since the horrific shooting of children and faculty at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, Connecticut has made significant investments in school mental health services and specifically in identifying and treating victims of trauma.

But with no state budget and school beginning in less than a month, many Connecticut districts may have to cut back on recently expanded mental health services or make room for them in their own budgets.

School-based health centers integrate medical and mental health care — often in schools with many low-income or high-risk students. The centers may provide weekly counseling or therapy, for instance, as well as physicals, asthma treatment or other routine care. Mental health care has represented a growing proportion of care in recent years. …

In the 2013–2014 school year, the high point for state funding, the state budget allocated $12.46 million for school-based health centers, and 13 new sites were opened, bringing the total to 92, White-Frese said…Problems include anxiety, depression and disruptive behavior, in and out of the classroom. It is unclear whether the trauma initiative will be able to continue, however. The centers have seen marked increases in the percentage of mental health visits in recent years, including a jump from 30 to 41 percent of total visits between 2009 and 2014.

“At the same time we see this increase in need in every school district in mental health, the funding has steadily declined,” White-Frese said. “You can’t continue to provide the same level of service when you have had this level of budget cuts.”…Before this initiative, children who were disruptive were given detention, suspended or even expelled.

Hannibal in-school health clinic innovative idea Quincy Herald-Whig [Illinois]

The Hannibal School District’s idea to provide the region’s first at-school health clinic should be both applauded and monitored.

If this concept succeeds, and there is no reason to believe it won’t, this type of health care approach may eventually become commonplace in schools across West-Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri.

“The purpose is to make health care accessible and affordable to all Hannibal School District students, faculty, staff and retired staff who continue to receive insurance benefits,” Hannibal Superintendent Susan Johnson explained. “We like this because it helps students be healthy and learn better, and it helps working parents who might not be able to leave work to take care of a sick child.”

Moving Beyond Suspension: Changing the Discipline Climate in Jackson Schools Jackson Free Press [Mississippi]

Melissa’s suspension was one of the 8,412 out-of-school suspensions in Jackson Public Schools in the 2016–2017 school year, data from the district show.

The majority of those out-of-school suspensions occur in middle and high schools in the district. Some schools have much higher rates than others.

Blackburn, Hardy, Peeples and Rowan Middle Schools have 100 percent or higher rates of suspensions, meaning their total number of suspensions is equal to or greater than the number of students enrolled there. (Rowan Middle School is now closed.) Lanier, Forest Hill and Wingfield High Schools have the highest rates of suspensions for high schools in the district.

One part of the program encourages teachers to have a calming area in their classroom where a student can go to calm themselves down. Wallace said the calming area is a “self-selecting place,” meaning it is not a punishment, and teachers can never make a student go there. Having a calming area is now a standard practice in all elementary and middle schools in JPS, and Wallace said the district is exploring how to bring the concept to high schools.

Boys & Girls Village breaks ground on addition Milford Mirror [Connecticut]

Boys & Girls Village (BGV) broke ground Monday on an 8,300-square-foot expansion of its Upper School.

BGV’s Charles F. Hayden School is a therapeutic day school that provides comprehensive special education services designed to help children 5 to 18 years old achieve the emotional, behavioral and academic growth needed for them to return to a mainstream school setting. Hayden School accepts referrals from all area school districts.

Hayden School has experienced tremendous growth over the last several years, offering a 12th grade curriculum for the first time during the 2016–17 school year after adding an 11th grade curriculum during the 2015–16 school year, school officials said.

As a result of this growth, Hayden School used “temporary” buildings for both classroom and school administrative office space.

Children with special needs face an agonising wait this summer, thanks to Theresa May The Canary [United Kingdom]

Some learning disadvantaged (LD) and Special Educational Needs (SEN) children have faced an agonising wait this summer as dozens of Local Educational Authorities (LEAs) failed to confirm a secondary school place for them. The slip-up came after 111 LEAs missed the cut-off date for posting pupils’ further educational healthcare plans or statements, as The Independent has reported. This left 2,405 children in limbo — and some are still waiting. …

Austerity cuts to LEAs are having untold impacts on the lives of the SEN community. Headteachers have vocalised quite strongly their opposition to cuts, and the effects they have on their pupils. A headteacher of one of the affected secondary schools who wished to remain anonymous told The Canary:

During the last few years we’ve struggled terribly to give the highest possible quality of education to those who need us the most. I’ve been teaching for 32 years, and I’ve seen things happen last minute, or been privy to things swept under the carpet at the LEA. We will have to work so much harder with September’s intake because we have no idea who our pupils are and what they need to move forward. I can guarantee this has happened because there are a lack of trained child psychologists and qualified SEN staff working together at the LEA for the good of the kids. Austerity has seen cuts where we need more resources. It’s sad. …7 in 10 schools claim not to have the budget to cope with the extra demands of SEN pupils.

More special needs classrooms is top Harford school construction priority Baltimore Sun [Maryland]

More than $1 million worth of improvements to facilities for students with special needs is at the top of the priority list as Harford County Public Schools leaders develop their capital improvement program for the 2019 fiscal year.

The classroom modifications are geared toward bringing more students with special needs back to schools in Harford County rather than having them in “non-public placement” programs outside the county, board members were told. By law, the local school system is required to pay for such placements, including the student’s transportation.

“Since we have, over the last three years, rebuilt our autism classroom we have been able to drastically cut our non-public schools [placement],” Susan Austin, director of special education, said.

In 2015, for instance, the school board approved spending up to $250,000 to convert a section of Fallston High School to accommodate high school students with autism. The new facilities were part of a plan to expand the number of sites for instruction of autistic students.

HCPS expects to serve 49 elementary students on the autism spectrum in the coming school year, along with 12 middle school students and about 12 high school students, Austin said.

Aug 15, 2017

UNLV students will pay for more mental health resources ABC 13 Las Vegas [Nevada]

With school starting in two weeks at UNLV, students are finding out they’ll have to pay a new fee added on to their tuition cost. In June, it was decided every student would have to pay a $25 fee each semester to help meet the school’s need for mental health resources.

UNLV officials say in the last year, there’s been a 29 percent increase in demand for counseling and psychological services. According to the school, the money will allow them to bring on 10 new staff members for counseling and psych services.

Currently, wait times for students wanting appointments are reportedly several weeks. Students 13 Action News talked to agreed there was a problem, but don’t think they should be the ones footing the bill. …

UNLV officials say the demand for counseling has gone up 64 percent over the last four years.

Norwin student enrollment to swell in new school year Pittsburgh TribLive.com [Pennsylvania]

When Norwin schools start classes on Monday, enrollment is expected to increase by 150 — nearly 20 percent of them special-needs students who could require the district to hire more classroom help.

“I’m a little concerned because some students have fairly significant needs,” Stacey Snyder, director of special education and student services, told school board members this week…Given the increase in students with special needs, Director Tracey L. Czajkowski said she was concerned that the district could start the year without a sufficient number of paraprofessionals.

More students opting out of traditional schools, online classes see increase ABC 13, Las Vegas [Nevada]

Severe allergies can be difficult for anyone, but imagine going to school and being allergic to just about everything. A girl in Nevada would have had to deal with that problem, if it weren’t for getting an education from the comfort of her own home. Sophia is in her second year as a student at Nevada Connections Academy, a free online public school. Her parents decided on this over a traditional school because of her severe allergies and autoimmune deficiency. According to the school’s executive director, more Nevada families are choosing this option. Since 2013, enrollment at Nevada Connections Academy has doubled. It has nearly 2700 students across the state, and 75% of them are in Clark County.

Former teacher pushing to create ‘Sam’s Law’ to make seizure education mandatory KLTV [Texas]

A former East Texas teacher is trying to introduce legislation that would require Texas schools to add seizure education to their curriculum. The legislation would be titled “Sam’s Law”, after Samantha Watkins, a Kilgore ISD student who died after a seizure last December.

Currently, the Texas Education Agency says there isn’t anything that mandates teachers, or students to learn about seizures and how to deal with them. A former teacher, Shari Dudo says the law will help keep children safe. She is on a mission, to draw awareness to epilepsy, and also to seizures.
 
 “One in 26 people have epilepsy…I have epilepsy, I developed it a few years ago, and I could see how there was not training. I just felt like it needed to change,” says Dudo.

Four hospital nurses switch to work in St. Louis schools St. Louis Post Dispatch [Missouri]

The nurses are St. Louis Children’s Hospital employees who will be based full-time at Pierre Laclede, Hodgen, Lexington and Woodward elementary schools.

“We’re eager, we’re excited about this new experience,” said Ta’Lisa Davis, a registered nurse assigned to Pierre Laclede in north St. Louis.

On Tuesday, Davis was busy setting up her clinic for students’ arrival. The colorfully decorated office has an asthma zone, a dental care station, an area to treat scrapes and cuts and a place for vision and hearing screenings. It is fully stocked with bandages, over-the-counter medicines and EpiPens for allergic reactions…By the end of 2017, a mental health care worker from the hospital will also work in each of the four schools to provide group and individual counseling and behavioral screenings. The mental health provider will work alongside the school’s counselors and the school nurse.

New Lake Elmo school serves students with specialized needs Stillwater Gazette [Minnesota]

Pankalo Education Center is a Northeast Metro Intermediate School District 916 facility in Lake Elmo that will be completed for this school year, and will serve students from across the East Metro in kindergarten through eighth grade who have emotional-behavioral disorders (EBD), autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and developmental cognitive disabilities (DCD).

“Almost all of our students, beside having a handicapping disability, will also have a mental health overlay, so they are very complex in their needs,” said District 916 superintendent Connie Hayes. “Many of the students are aggressive because that is how they respond to the anxiety they feel, the lack of understanding of the emotions going on inside, how they respond to their environment.”

Anxiety in children leads to call for scrapping National Standards New Zealand Educational Institute

Lynda Stuart says most teachers believed that National Standards have a negative effect as they narrow the curriculum and do not accurately reflect students’ ability. She said it was ironic that research showing that a government policy, partly to blame for children becoming so anxious, was published in the same week that the Government announced funding to help children in schools suffering mental distress.

Anxiety on the rise for primary school kids, as schools have trouble accessing help Stuff New Zealand

A survey of primary and intermediate schools by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER), released on Tuesday morning, shows 63 per cent of teachers agreed, or strongely agreed, that anxiety about National Standards performance had negatively affected some students’ learning. [That was up from 41 percent in 2013’s survey.]

Students with disabilities disadvantaged at higher education level Daily Maverick [South Africa]

If tertiary education is to become more accessible to students with disabilities, it’s time to go back to the drawing board, say activists and innovators. It’s a familiar story – the policy is in place, but the execution has a long way to go.

Aug 14, 2017

Texas Senate OKs $563 million for schools, retired teachers Austin American-Statesman [Texas]

On Monday, the Senate added to the bill a provision to create a $40 million grant program for public schools that provide innovative services for students with dyslexia and autism — similar to a priority bill (HB 23) in the House.

Pasco student arrested for Facebook threat to kill teacher Fox 13, Tampa Bay [Florida]

A Pasco County student is behind bars for threatening to kill a former teacher. The threat was not spoken. It was posted on Facebook. 18-year-old Desiree Zio used to be a student at River Ridge High School, set to begin classes at the district's Marchman Technical College. A teacher at River Ridge was the target of the online threat…Desiree's parents, Luc and Ruby, say there's more to the story. They say she suffers from mental illness, autism, and has been previously Baker Acted. They say she doesn't always understand what she says and is not competent to handle herself in court. She was supposed to begin classes at Marchman Technical College. Now, she sits in jail on $10,000 bond.

5 school health clinics in Brooklyn saved for one more year Brooklyn Daily Eagle [New York]

After 10 days of determined advocacy from parents, nurses, school administrators and elected officials, SUNY Downstate reversed its decision to close five School Based Health Centers (SBHCs) serving more than 4,000 students in Brooklyn when school opens in September…“The clinic at M.S. 51 treats chronically ill students requiring mandated Section 504 services and responds to students in need of emergency medical care. In addition to our nurse practitioner, the clinic also provides a full-time social worker who cares for the social and emotional needs of many of our middle schoolers,” they said.

State funding shortages still threaten autism services The State-Journal Register [Illinois]

Services may be disrupted yet again by state funding shortages that remain despite the passage of a state budget in July after a two-year standoff in the Capito..It also means that 30 children on waiting lists for therapy at those two sites won’t be served, she said. And 3,000 to 4,000 children at sites throughout the state — including Chicago, Rockford, Peoria and Charleston — may see cutoffs or reductions in therapy and other services, Hope officials said. …

School begins Aug. 23, Superintendent offers update on new year Oskaloosa Herald [Iowa]

Reiter said special education and behavior issues at the elementary and middle schools will be focused upon this school year as well. “We going to work hard on our special education and behaviors and of course. We brought in Rozey Warder [CEO of Take Action Consulting],” he said. “Rozey of course has begun professional development with our teachers already. So we’re implementing a program for dealing with some of our issues.”

'Silent killers': Petition pushes for mental health curriculum in schools CBC [Canada]

An online petition to update the curriculum in Atlantic Canadian junior and senior high schools to include mental health has garnered close to 30,000 signatures. The petition, created by Rhonda Dicks of St. John's, Newfoundland, asks governments across Atlantic Canada to develop classes that teach young people to recognize the signs of mental illness, anxiety and depression. Dicks said she decided to start the petition after a conversation with a 17-year-old girl who was experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Rauner signs bill to prevent preschool expulsion CLTV TV Chicago [Illinois]

Unruly students can face expulsion for their bad behavior. But typically expulsion is thought of as a punishment for teens…Schools today are expelling preschoolers as well and the problem is growing. But a new law in Illinois will prevent the youngest kids from getting kicked out of class.

In Illinois, nearly three preschoolers are expelled for every 1,000 enrolled. It's what's being called by some the pre-school to prison pipeline.

LCS revs up for school year Le Mars Daily Sentinel [Iowa]

“We have an increasing number of students who have greater needs, our special education numbers are increasing. As a direct result of that, we did add two new special education teacher positions to the district this year,” he said. …“We also have students with greater social and emotional needs. We’ve had a great partnership with Plains Area Mental Health the past year or so and have worked with them,” Webner said. “They actually have their own counselor at the elementary level and secondary level and have their own offices in our buildings to assist our own guidance counselors in giving emotional and social support for those students. We really appreciate what Plains Area has done for us,” Webner said.

School fundraising report says amounts raised far outpace that of government grants for needy areas Toronto Star [Canada]

Despite changes to special education funding, some boards continue to spend millions more than they receive to deliver programming. “Boards are struggling every year to balance their budgets; they are struggling to get enough resources and enough money into special education programming to support students with special needs…There’s been a consistent decline in the supports and resources with regards to special education programs at the same time as we see increases in the numbers of students requiring those levels of support.

Hundreds Of Local Women Unite To Fund Mental Health Programs KDLT Sioux Falls [South Dakota]

Sioux Empire United Way is using their annual WomenUnite Event to fund mental health programs for children in public schools. …According to United Way, one in five students in the United States shows signs or symptoms of a mental health disorder and nearly 80 percent of children in need of mental health services won’t receive them…At this year’s WomenUnite Event, Sioux Empire United Way will introduce PATH, which brings professional mental health counseling services to students at their school. Brandi Miller with Sioux Empire United Way says these services can help treat anxiety, depression, oppositional behavior, among a variety of other concerns.

Challenges facing expelled Vic students The Age [Australia]

Children as young as five and six are being expelled from Victoria's government schools and more than 31 per cent have disabilities or mental illnesses, a report by the state's ombudsman has found.

At just seven years of age Daniel was expelled from his Victorian government school. It was the third he had attended since Prep. Daniel has autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, anxiety and depression and his conditions make him more likely to be expelled according to a new report from the state ombudsman.

"He was expelled for consistently behaving in an unproductive manner," his father told Victoria's ombudsman as part of an investigation into state school expulsions. "He was diagnosed with severe behaviour disorder so he was basically expelled for his condition."

A new report by the state's ombudsman has found Daniel is not alone - more than 31 per cent of expelled students have a disability or mental illness.

Special education: Another reason school district budgets are strained Hazleton Standard-Speaker [Pennsylvania]

Very few students with special needs live at a private school like Woods Services of Langhorne, Bucks County, which sued the Hazleton Area School District over a student’s bill. While approximately 15 percent of students require special education services, perhaps 1 percent of them attend private schools like Woods Services.

In the Hazleton Area case, Woods Services sought $226,450 for educating and housing a student during the summers of 2014 and 2015. The parties settled for $165,000, according to an agreement which the Hazleton Area School Board approved on June 29.

The costs for students with the highest needs can disrupt a school district’s budget but are hard to anticipate, as illustrated in the Woods Services case. The student’s mother moved into Hazleton Area from the Parkland School District in Lehigh County in February 2014. Before that, she had lived in six other school districts in New York and Pennsylvania while her child lived at Woods Services. …

Students’ mental health crisis exposed The Australian

Children as young as seven are among dozens of pupils who have attempted suicide, self-harmed in front of classmates and in one case killed themselves, according to highly confidential government documents.

Victorian government reports this month on the schoolyard mental health crisis detail horrific accounts of illness and self-harm facing children from Year 2 to Year 12.

They include the reported death of a Year 12 student and other shocking details including potential hangings or chokings, self harming with a knife and transgender related psychological distress.

The incidents highlight the challenges facing educators and parents and will provoke debate about the causes of high mental illness rates affecting many young people across Australia. …

Child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg said as many as one in every seven pupils in primary school and one in four in secondary schools had endured mental health issues.

He said youth suicide was at its worst levels in 10 years and he urged more strident action from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

“This is a generation that is ­really struggling; I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. …

He also said the earlier onset of puberty had meant that mental health issues were arising earlier in some children.

Aug 13, 2017

School exclusions rise in East Lancashire by a quarter Lancashire Telegraph [United Kingdom]

The number of pupils who have been expelled from schools across East Lancashire has risen by a more than a quarter in a year, new figures reveal…The county had the highest number of expulsions in the country for the academic year 2015/16, with 305 pupils excluded from state-funded primary, secondary and special schools - an increase of 55 on the year before. …

"The number of children coming in with behaviour issues from primary schools has significantly increased.

"Schools do not have the resources to employ additional class support. They are left to do the best they can with the resources available."…

More than 1,000 were for physically assault against a pupil, 1,635 were classed as 'other' and 1,206 were for verbal abuse. In 69 cases it was for a racist abuse and in 21 for sexual misconduct. …

"Schools do everything possible to keep pupils in school, and work with parents, carers and a range of external agencies to do this."..She said the special needs demand had led to an overspend for several successive years, with each overspend incorporated into the special needs budget for the following year's funding.

‘We’re not a treatment facility’: The struggle for campuses to provide students mental health care Toronto Star [Canada]

Demand for mental health services at Ontario universities and colleges has reached an all-time high…With another wave of students about to begin a new academic year, the pressure on campus health providers shows no signs of diminishing. And schools are struggling to keep up.

School-Based Mental Health Programs Reach Large Numbers of Kids PsychCentral [United States]

Approximately 13 percent of children and teens worldwide have significant mental health problems including anxiety, disruptive behavior disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and depression. If left untreated, these disorders can remain throughout adulthood and have negative effects in many aspects of life.

Aug 12, 2017

Hackensack superintendent plans for new school year, future NorthJersey.com [New Jersey]

The increase in special education numbers is significant. We have a large special ed population in Hackensack. We’re known to have a good program. Parents come and say ‘I was told to come here.’ We have a great early childhood special education program. Providing for children on the autism spectrum.

I think our enrollment ... We’re hovering at just about almost 6,000 kids. Of that, I would say that we’re at 5,830. Our special education enrollment hovers around 18 percent. Which is a higher percentage than the state average.

Spotting mental health issues in college students Watertown Public Opinion [South Dakota]

It’s that time of year again — back-to-school — and some parents are gearing up to send sons/daughters to a higher education institution. This can be a time of many emotions from pride to sadness to anxiety…He/she may also find academic challenges may be greater than expected, particularly for students coming from high schools with less competition; or for students who have ADHD (or other disorders) may find the effects from the disorders that provide additional challenges. …

Aug 11, 2017

Understood.org makes heading back to school easier for families of students who struggle in the classroom Hola Arkansas

The Ad Council and Understood.org have joined together to promote ways children and their families can be "First-Day Ready" for the new school year. Understood.org is offering a free First-Day Ready Guide to help parent with students of every age successfully manage back-to-school transitions..The beginning of a new school year can be challenging for all children, but it is an especially difficult time for families with children who struggle with reading and writing, math, focus and organization. One in five children in the U.S. have learning and attention issues, like ADHD and dyslexia, and many never receive a formal diagnosis. Children with these types of challenges can feel especially stressed during the back-to-school season as they face new subjects, teachers, friends and schools.

Without proper awareness and support, students with learning and attention issues struggle. According to a recent report by the National Center for Learning Disabilities, students with specific learning disabilities are 31 percent more likely to experience high levels of bullying, more than twice as likely to be suspended, and drop out of school at three times the rate of children without these challenges.

Essay: Improve access to mental health services for children Rochester Democrat & Chronicle [New York]

It has been found that 75 to 80 percent of children that are in need of mental health services do not receive them. It is also true that about 20 percent of children, one out of every five, have a diagnosable mental disorder. This age range extends from birth to 18 years of age. This is a frightening statistic when it has also been shown that children with mental health problems are likely to have more immersion into the criminal justice system, as well as lower success in school.

Has Legislature solved McCleary? Not so fast Seattle Times [Washington]

District administrators across the state told this editorial board they are concerned they won’t have enough state money to pay for special education. For years, they have been using local levy dollars to fill in the gaps not covered by the state budget for this essential part of basic education. The court specifically wants the practice of using local levies to pay for basic education to stop…In Spokane, school budget officials estimate state dollars will still be between $2 million and $4 million a year short for covering special education. In Yakima, the district expects to be more than $5 million short. Seattle officials expect a gap of more than $50 million.

Vitti: I see myself in Detroit's struggling students Detroit Free Press [Michigan]

Nikolai Vitti, the school superintendent, is used to facing pressure. But Nikolai Vitti, the child struggling with reading? Among the worst moments of elementary school came when his teachers would, one-by-one, pick a child to read a passage from a book..But it's even more personal for Vitti and his wife Rachel Vitti, who themselves have had to fight to ensure their own children – two of whom also have dyslexia -- receive the right special education services. All four Vitti children -- ranging in age from 8 to 14 -- are enrolled in a DPSCD school for the upcoming school year. …About 1 in 5 children in the nation have learning and attention issues, including dyslexia, according to Understood, a partnership of 15 nonprofit organizations that provides resources for parents and teachers. Rachel Vitti is on the organization's parent advisory council.

Despite the numbers, teachers often aren't given the training they need to help bring out the best in students with learning disabilities. And, the Vittis say, they often don't have access to the latest in best practices and research, particularly brain research.

MI experiencing shortage of autism resources CBS 5, Saginaw/Flint [Michigan]

Autism or autism spectrum disorder is a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors and speech. It continues to affect more and more children each day….

It is estimated one in 68 children are diagnosed with autism. Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed than girls. It's the fastest growing developmental disorder today and remains one of the most underfunded….

"Michigan, like probably several other states, is sort of experiencing a shortage of people who are qualified to work with individuals who have autism," said Jan Lampman, executive director of the ARC of Midland.

The ARC works with people who have autism. Lampman said there needs to be more resources available to help those with autism.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley said the state needs between 1,500 and 2,000 certified service providers. Right now there's only 603.

Aug 10, 2017

CEC corrects inaccurate figures regarding special educational needs children Knutford Guardian [United Kingdom]

Cheshire East Council has corrected inaccurate figures it published about special educational needs children. It was reported in national newspapers on August 8 that 89 SEND children in the borough had missed out on secondary school transition plans, ranking it the worst in the UK with a 79 per cent shortfall. CEC has said that it published inaccurate figures due to a misreading of freedom of information request, and that in fact 23 children had not received their plans prior to February 15 deadline. …

“Having the right amount and type of provision for our children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities is important to us.

“We recognise that we need to increase the number of specialist school places in the borough, as the current number doesn’t match our requirements.”

Education in California Schools, ‘Funding Is Very Unequal’ Voice of San Diego [California]

Special education costs are increasing across the state.

State funds for special education are inequitably distributed, so sometimes the districts with the highest needs are getting less money per student than districts with lower needs.

While the cost of living has increased, overall enrollment in public schools in California has been decreasing, meaning that the amount of special education funding going to localities has been growing slowly. Statewide, the number of students with disabilities has been increasing.

21% of children with special needs didn't have secondary school place by deadline Wilmslow [United Kingdom]

One in five primary school children in Cheshire East with special needs did not have a secondary school place by the February deadline. Cheshire East Council failed to provide a place for twenty-three children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) by the February 15th cut off date, though places have now been allocated for them all.

"Aligned to our commitment in this area, the council, working in partnership with the Department for Education, has recently launched a search to find a high quality organisation to run a new special free school in the borough.

"The building of this new school, for 40 pupils with complex needs aged between 4 and 16, via this competition is an integral element of our plans for improvement."

Aug 9, 2017

Pinellas Co. to hire, add school nurses to all schools later this fall ABC TV Tampa Bay [Florida]

About a third of all Pinellas County students have a chronic health issue like asthma or diabetes. The parents we spoke with at McMullen Booth Elementary told us the new nurses hired are a peace of mind.

"He's got milk allergies, peanut allergies, mushroom allergies and it's all things to worry about,” said Donna Rakaj…Rakaj is a mom of three. Her 13-year-old son has to be very careful about what he eats. He's one of about 33-thousand students who have chronic illnesses in the school district.

“Last year, the school district had hundreds of 911 calls made from schools and not all of them were for medical reasons but certainly some of them were,” said Sara O’Toole.

Phoenix-area schools punish minority, disabled children at higher rates AZCentral.com: Report [Arizona]

A new report from the ACLU of Arizona confirms what some Phoenix-area parents have suspected for years: Certain schools punish minority students and students with disabilities at disproportionately high rates. …

In district schools, K-12 students with disabilities are twice as likely to be suspended than their peers without disabilities, the report says. …

"It doesn’t matter the age. There are kids who are as young as 8 years old that are getting suspended and expelled," said Luis Ávila, director of the ACLU's Demand 2 Learn campaign for fair disciplinary practices. "The punishments are so harsh that kids are eventually just dropping out." …

Students with disabilities had disproportionately high out-of-school suspension rates at several elementary schools. One East Valley district school had an overall out-of-school suspension rate of 9 percent but a rate of 40 percent for students with disabilities. A group of 26 students with disabilities at a south Phoenix charter school received 14 of the out-of-school suspensions for that school yea

Suspending a CMS first-grader is about to get harder. Here’s why. Charlotte Observer [North Carolina]

Board members have spent more than a year wrangling over whether to ban out-of-school suspension of children in prekindergarten through second grade. No one’s happy about the fact that the district logs roughly 1,000 suspensions a year in that age range (the district has about 33,000 students in those grades)…On the other hand, Lennon said, it leaves room to remove children who commit major offenses, such as bringing a gun from home or stabbing classmates and teachers with pencils and scissors…

Mecklenburg County is paying for therapists to be stationed in several schools, where they can help children and families cope with trauma or mental illness. The school board had hoped to add 60 new counselors, social workers and psychologists this year, but only got money for 12 new positions.

Watchdog Group Alerts Parents and Teachers About Gifted Children Being Mislabeled "ADHD" and Given Stimulant Drugs Digital Journal [United States]

Approximately 11 percent of all U.S. children aged 4-17 years are diagnosed with ADHD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In high school children alone, the diagnosis has been made in 15 percent. About 70 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD are prescribed drugs, according to Richard Scheffler, professor of health economics and public policy at the University of California-Berkeley and co-author of the book The ADHD Explosion.

Silicon Valley Moves Toward Inclusive School Playground Design SchoolConstructionNews.com [California]

The Board of Education in Palo Alto, expressed support for a staff proposal to apply for a $300,000 grant to build a playground that could better accommodate children with a range of physical and cognitive abilities at Addison Elementary School. The grant would be made by Santa Clara County and matched by the Palo Alto Unified School District…In Santa Clara County, more than 10,000 children have major disabilities with more than 20,000 children who participate in special education in county schools.

DeKalb schools ask if students are mentally ready for classes to begin Atlanta Journal Constitution [Georgia]

DeKalb County schools officials realize that returning to classes often means the return of anxiety and stress for students that can lead to problems as serious as depression and suicide, which is the second-leading cause of death for teenagers.

That’s why the district hosted a mental wellness rally before school started for students and parents helped put some tools in their hands to make it through the school year. …

Anxiety affects more students aged 13 to 17 than depression and attention deficit disorders, clinical child psychologist Holly Middleton said…Officials know the problem is worsening, according to the GBI’s recent announcement that 20 teenagers had committed suicide in Georgia before the end of June…

Rise in short-term suspensions as Gold Coast school students battle mental health issues Gold Coast Bulletin [Australia]

Gold Coast state school short-term suspensions have risen 16 per cent in the past year as mental health among teens declines. According to the Department of Education’s latest school disciplinary absences report, 5499 students received short suspensions last year, up 759 on the 4740 in 2015.

Child and adolescent psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg said the increase in suspensions was reflective of the general decline in adolescent mental health. “One in four adolescents have mental health issues and can have behavioural symptoms where they act out,” he said. “The reality is that schools are not designed for children with psychological problems.”

“Suicides have doubled in the past 10 years according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, rates of deliberate self-harm have gone up and we’re certainly seeing more referrals to Head Space.”

CMU works to increase number of certified autism treatment providers ABC 12 [Michigan]

During his time in office, Lt. Governor Brian Calley has raised awareness about the need for better care and services for children with autism. One need he has highlighted has been finding enough properly licensed therapists…The need in our state is great. Last school year, nearly 20,000 Michigan students met eligibility as a student with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

New state commission on children's mental health could have wide-ranging positive impact Dalton Daily Citizen [Georgia]

In June, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal created a Commission on Children’s Mental Health, which met for the first time in July. More than addressing identified needs for children with mental health challenges, this initiative has the potential to impact one of the governor’s other key issues, criminal justice reform.

Waiting lists, IEPs, ESAs, fear: Here's what it's like to find a local school if your child has autism Arizona Daily Star

There are no specific numbers for Tucson, but to illustrate how many families with children on the spectrum are searching for schools — Intermountain Academy has a waiting list of 200 children.

Tucson Unified School District, Tucson's largest public school district, has 490 children with autism enrolled this year. For a bigger picture, in 1975, 1 in 5,000 children were identified as having autism spectrum disorder or ASD. Now, that number is 1 in 66 or 1.5 percent of 8-year-olds in Arizona. According to the Center for Disease Control, that percentage is about the same as the national average. …

When choosing a school for a child on the autism spectrum, parents should make sure the school can address the needs of their particular child. For example, parents of a child who has meltdowns might ask if there is a safe place for their child to go if they're losing control; how the school will respond when a child loses control; and how the school is going to help their child go to college, said Mary Kirpes, a mother of two grown sons with autism, author and former TUSD exceptional education teacher.

Aug 8, 2017

Cassia County School District adds medical emergency training KMVT [Idaho]

"We went through asthma, anaphylaxis, we went through diabetes and sudden cardiac arrest," Hodges said..

$25,000 grant will expand programs at the Massena Boys and Girls Club North Country Now [New York]

The funding will also offer opportunity for inclusion through Embracing Possibilities: Ready, Set, Go! According to a report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 In 7 U.S. kids have a developmental disability, including autism and ADHD. The Embracing Possibilities program will introduce programs and supports that are tailored for kids with disabilities and their families. These opportunities will take place during regular Club hours and at additional times.

Emails detail problems, efforts for solutions at Washington Middle School WBAY TV [Wisconsin]

Target 2 Investigates has been working to get more answers about the violence and behavior issues at Green Bay’s Washington Middle School. Tuesday, the school district released hundreds of pertinent emails to Action 2 News through open records requests. The emails show conversations between school staff and even concerned parents.

The east-side school’s problems made headlines in June after teacher Kerstin Westcott resigned at a school board meeting. She detailed incidents of abuse, violence and safety concerns at the school.

Children with special needs suffer delays for their education in Richmond Your Local Guardian [United Kingdom]

Schoolchildren with special needs in Richmond suffered delays in receiving plans to help them transition from primary to secondary school. It has been revealed the council did not meet the statutory deadline of February 15 for issuing final transition education, health and care plans for 11 SEN children.

Richmond, which has 1,209 individuals between zero and 25 who have a statement of special needs or EHCPs, is one of 165 local councils across the nation which failed to deliver plans on time leaving 2,405 SEN children waiting for information about their final transition. …

There are more than 260,000 children and young people registered as having special educational needs in the UK, according to Simpson Millar’s research. “Parents of children with SEN who should have received a final EHCP by 15 February but did not, and who are unhappy with it, should seek legal advice for further advice on pursuing the matter within the High Court.”

District 2 resource officers train to better handle students with autism Spartanburg Herald Journal [South Carolina]

Nine days before the start of the school year, a group of Spartanburg County Sheriff’s deputies went to class for a unique training session. The seven deputies, all of whom are school resource officers in Spartanburg District 2, spent Tuesday morning learning more about autism spectrum disorders and how to better handle students who have them.

Karra Williams, the district’s special services coordinator, and Kelly Ergle, a Nebraska-based coordinator with Autism Action, led the training seminar. Among the topics covered were how to best communicate with students with autism and what tone and instructions work best for those students.

“They could physically attack you. They could go for your gun. They could do what any typical person could do,” Ergle said. “I don’t want you to do anything that jeopardizes you, I just want you to know how to handle things so you don’t put yourself in that situation.”

Fran Matta, District 2 special services director, said the district has seen “a steady increase” in the number of students with autism spectrum disorders, with about 60 students in the district currently diagnosed with an ASD condition. …

Lawsuit challenges leadership of Buena Park school for special education students Orange County Register [California]

A half-dozen parents and donors have filed a lawsuit accusing the Speech and Language Development Center in Buena Park of not upholding its mission and are asking a judge to turn stewardship of the nonprofit campus over to a recently-ousted, longtime leader.

Their attorney accuses the center’s current board of directors, as well as a recently-hired CEO, of gutting the school’s administration by firing a principal and three vice principals.

In the complaint filed last month in Orange County Superior Court, attorney Matthew DeArmey described the personnel changes as part of an attempt by the school’s board to “hijack” the campus and advocate for a “bottom-line business-oriented approach focusing on dollars and cents, not on human potential.”

Most have been diagnosed on the autism spectrum, according to the filings; many have multiple disabilities. The center contracts with local school districts to help students whose needs can’t be addressed as well as on public school campuses.

DPS teacher strike could leave thousands of students without specialized classes Fox 45, Dayton [Ohio]

If Dayton Public School teachers end up striking, more than three thousand students with learning disabilities and special needs may have to go without specialized classes. Around 20 percent of DPS students have a learning disability.

Mental health first aid kits to be launched in South Yorkshire schools UK Yorkshire Star [United Kingdom]

Sheffield-based charity The Children and Young People’s Empowerment Project has developed the kits, which are much like a traditional first aid box, with youngsters across South Yorkshire. The kits will include supplies to help young people cope and resolve a number of mental health issues such as glitter jars, stress balls, lavender dough, wristbands and colour therapy books.

The charity has also worked with a group of teenagers to create 31 tips for better mental health — one for each of day of the month — designed to manage symptoms alongside support. The first 50 kits and advice will be distributed among schools and colleges, with others being adopted by organisations across South Yorkshire, in time for World Mental Health Day on October 10. …

“It’s common to see first aid kits in every office, classroom and public space, why shouldn’t there be mental health first aid kits too?” “Many of the supplies in the kits are distraction techniques. They include things like squeezing a stress ball instead of punching a wall, or using a marker pen to mark where you would normally cut.”

Back to school: Make partnerships the new priority Nondoc.com [Oklahoma]

When surveys showed that the patrons placed a higher priority on mental health than academics, the district adjusted its priorities. Now, 52 of 59 [Oklahoma City] schools provide in-school mental health services.

Aug 7, 2017

One in five children with special needs left without school place UK Independent [United Kingdom]

Almost one in five primary school children in England with special educational needs have been left in limbo after local authorities failed to provide them with a secondary school place, experts have said.

At least 2,421 special needs children who are due to start secondary school in September were not given education plans before the legal deadline, according to data released under freedom of information laws.

The uncertainty about what school they will go to and whether their support provision will be cut has left vulnerable children crippled with anxiety, lawyers working with families involved said. …

“Some children struggle with changes. Any change has to be properly planned, if it’s not, it can increase anxiety and mean their behaviour will deteriorate. Some children can get so distressed it can impact their physical wellbeing.”…There are more than 260,000 children and young people registered as having special educational needs in the UK, according to Simpson Miller. “I think the number is more than they can cope with. There’s grave concern about what’s going to happen in March next year.”

Calling All Readers: What is the best way to handle student discipline in schools? Cleveland.com [Ohio]

In covering statewide education issues the last few years, I have heard increasing concerns about how schools handle the discipline of students. While some people complain about a lack of order in schools, outcry over schools suspending students for minor infractions under “zero tolerance” policies has reached the state school board and legislature. Many states are even starting to make student discipline statistics important parts of their school and district report cards.

Here in Ohio, schools are rethinking how they deal with problem students. More and more schools now want to avoid suspending students and are reserving that punishment as a last resort. Cleveland was just part of a national study of how “Social and Emotional Learning,” teaching kids about conflict resolution and how to manage emotions, can improve behavior and learning. And some schools are even trying “restorative justice” approaches, which focus less on punishment than on having students try to make amends after working through why their behavior may have been hurtful to others.

Teachers challenged by difficult pupils Times of Malta

A recent TV programme on the UK’s Channel 4 entitled Excluded at Seven revealed a serious problem faced by some schools that often expel young pupils because of violence and gross misbehaviour. Some move to other schools, where they often repeat the same pattern of bad behaviour.

If the future well-being of our society also depends on the social skills that children develop in their early years of schooling, then we need to address the problem of challenging pupils who behave badly.

Teachers will tell you that our schools are ill-equipped to deal with children with more complex needs. Some go even further and claim that heads of schools are pressurised to hit their achievement targets. They are increasingly eager to swiftly offload any troublemakers.

But is chronic gross misbehaviour in our schools just a result of poor management and insufficient resources?

The spread of knowledge in child psychology has also made it easier to diagnose complex behavioural and emotional issues like ADHD and autism. The big challenge facing school managers is that few, if any, teachers are professionally prepared to deal with the symptoms of such psychological conditions.

Lack of funding results in unacceptable bad behaviour by a small minority of pupils as there are rarely enough professional child psychologists to monitor and help these challenging pupils.

Sussex Consortium gets $5.7 million from bond bill Cape Gazette [Delaware]

This year’s legislative session ended with a bond bill bonus for Sussex Consortium. Cape Henlopen School District got the news they had been waiting to hear when $5.7 million was earmarked for construction costs for the new facility. “We got great news from the state. Our local legislators really went to bat for us,” said Brian Bassett, director of facility operations and construction.

In 2016, the state agreed to pay 100 percent of the costs of a new Sussex Consortium facility — about $19 million for a new building and another $1.8 million for land. The district and state have settled on a site that covers 25 acres at 17344 Sweetbriar Road…There are about 270 students enrolled in the consortium, which runs the county’s autism program and educates special needs students.

Six classrooms have been added to both Mariner and Beacon middle schools to allow consortium students to assimilate in a traditional classroom with their peers. Cape High has five classrooms for consortium use while Milton and Shields elementaries each have four. Students who cannot handle the traditional school setting are educated at the main Sussex Consortium campus, which operates out of the Lewes School on Savannah Road.

‘Time to make autism special classes mandatory for schools’ Evening Echo [Ireland]

If schools can’t refuse to offer a student a place due to their ethnicity or nationality, and with legislation expected shortly to remove religion as a factor in the enrollment process, then why shouldn’t the same apply to students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?

That is the view of Graham Manning, a Cork ASD programme coordinator and founder of Homeroom, a resource for the parents of students with ASD. Over the last year, Graham has met with councillors, TDs and department officials in a bid to end a practice he believes discriminates towards students with ASD.

As he sees it, the current system allows schools to ignore repeated requests from parents and teachers to set up ASD special classes, despite a clear need. …As the gap between the number of ASD special classes between primary and secondary schools gets wider each year, the number of diagnoses of ASD is also increasing, he said. …

Parents also accept mainstream places in schools with good ASD classes in the hopes some of the skillset and expertise will spill out, he added. “It’s seen as the least worst option.”

And if the situation is bad in Cork, there are other parts of the country even worse off, he warned. “The biggest issue anyone with autism would have, as a generalisation, by and large, is anxiety,” Graham explained. Something as innocuous as another student being given out to during a school assembly could cause great upset, he explains, meaning that a mainstream classroom setting is far from ideal for many students with ASD.

Advocates ask federal government to intervene in treatment of SC autistic children GreenvilleOnline [South Carolina]

A “large” number of South Carolina children suffering from autism are not getting access to medically necessary treatment they need because the state pays the lowest therapy rates in the nation, a lawyer representing advocates and organizations has told federal Medicaid officials. …

Former DHHS Director Christian Soura told lawmakers in January, according to the letter, that of 1,066 children approved for services, 495 had been able to locate a provider to receive any service. And there was no assurance, according to Soura, that those children were receiving the number of treatment hours they needed.

In addition, there were still 1,500 children on the waiting list, most of whom were eligible for services, Unumb wrote. “In the last several months, with the continued lack of meaningful action on rates, the situation appears to be worsening rather than improving,” he wrote. “The debilitating effect of these delays and denials of care is profound and long-lasting. Expedited access to treatment is critical in treating ASD.”…

According to DDSN, there are more than 7,500 children ages 3–21 diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in South Carolina.

What does Ontario’s Autism Program Mean For Families AutismMag [Canada]

Families who rely on provincially-funded services are familiar with the tiresome process. The present journey of autism programs involves frustrated faces, information overload, and bewildering rules about the people who will be qualified to undergo therapies — not to mention a long wait.

However, the new Ontario autism program aims to fix the frustrating process and put a smile on parents’ faces. The process is designed to assist young children with help when they need it until they reach age 18, says Michael Coteau, minister of children and youth services.

August 6, 2017

We’re failing our young people on mental health provision The UK Guardian

Finally, the increasing levels of mental health problems and suicides among young people must raise difficult questions about their emotional and material status in families, schools, communities and society. In the words of Sir James Munby: “Have we a right to call ourselves civilised?”

Aug 5, 2017

Notes from the school nurses Tallahassee Democrat [Florida]

If your child has a medical condition or serious allergy, please be sure to notify the RN so that she can plan for the appropriate care of your child while at school. The RN will take the lead to assure that all appropriate school staff members are properly trained to take care of any special needs your child may have. There are printed plans for medical management of diabetes, seizures, severe asthma or allergies, and any medical condition which may require special care during the school day. These plans serve as doctors’ orders, directing appropriate care and are necessary in order for your child to be safe at school. The medical management plans need to be completed and signed by both the physician and parent/guardian and reviewed by the RN.

Aug 4, 2017

Special Ed. Students In Mashpee Enjoy Extended School Year Program Mashpee Enterprise [Massachusetts]

The school district’s new special education director, Jaime L. Curley, said in an interview last Wednesday, July 26, that 295 out of nearly 1,600 students in the district were on IEPs as of June 2016, though not all of them took part in the ESY program.

IEPs can focus on a broad range of challenges, she said, from academic or learning disabilities to behavioral or sensory issues. Special education students in Mashpee range in age from 2.9 to 22.

Ms. Curley, who recently replaced former special education director Michele Brady, works with other school administrators to oversee a team of psychologists, adjustment counselors, special education teachers and occupational and speech/language therapists.

Nearly 20 of those students attended schools outside the district, including Cape Cod Collaborative, depending on their particular educational and behavioral needs.

“A child needs to qualify for an IEP through testing by the school psychologists at each school,” Ms. Curley said. “Each IEP is developed year by year with that student’s needs in mind. School psychologists meet with the parents each year, and every three years we redo the testing.”

If a student has a disability but is making effective progress in the classroom without accommodations or modifications, Ms. Curley said that the student does not necessarily need an IEP.

Struggling readers in York County may be forced to repeat third grade The State [South Carolina]

Starting this school year, South Carolina third-graders who struggle to read on grade level could be forced to repeat the grade. It’s a measure designed to ensure students don’t move on before they are ready, said Ryan Brown, spokesperson for S.C. Department of Education.

“The reasoning behind the third-grade retention policy is to prevent students from being advanced to a higher grade before they have the skills necessary to be successful,” Brown said. “Advancement (when students aren’t ready) leads to students falling further and further behind their peers and is associated with alarming statistical trends such as higher likelihoods for dropping out, not graduatingand even incarceration later in life.”

State law will require third-grade students who score lowest on the state’s reading assessment to be retained, starting in 2017–18, unless they meet an exemption. …

Texas House votes to begin school finance reform Houston Chronicle [Texas]

The Texas House voted overwhelmingly Friday to begin reforming the state’s beleaguered school funding system, opting to inject $1.8 billion into public schools. Again.

Lawmakers voted 130–12 for House Bill 21 Friday, agreeing to inject $1.8 billion into public schools, including increasing the base amount of money assigned per pupil to $5,350 from $5,140. The bill proposes to spend more money on transportation, career and technical education and hardship grants for school districts phasing out of an outdated tax break, among other changes. …

Lawmakers voted to give initial approval to House Bill 23, which would spent $10 million in the next biennium on children 3 to 9 years old who have autism

Attacks on teachers by primary school pupils in Essex at highest rate since 2006, new data shows Essex Live News [United Kingdom]

Last year saw a record number of primary school teachers in Essex attacked by their students.

There were 408 fixed term exclusions of pupils as a result of these incidents between 2015 to 2016, the highest number since 2006. The number of assaults was up from the 368 recorded in 2014 to 2015, with classroom violence now far more prevalent in recent years than ever before.

Secondary school pupils in Essex were suspended 64 times for physical attacks on adults in 2015 to 2016. There were also record numbers of suspensions for secondary pupils in Southend for assaulting their classmates. There were 243 fixed term exclusions for students that attacked other pupils in 2016, a figure that has almost doubled since 2007.

Violence in the classroom is something that is not just isolated to Essex. Across England, the number of permanent exclusions across all state-funded primary, secondary and special schools has increased from 5,795 in 2014 to 2015 to 6,685 in 2015 to 2016. This corresponds to around 35 expulsions per day over that academic year.

Spearfish schools approve increase in budget Black Hills Pioneer [South Dakota]

Members of the Spearfish School Board approved the fiscal 2018 budget recently using minimal reserve funds. The general fund was budgeted at $14.8 million using a little more than $24,000 in fund balance reserves….

The special education fund increased from $2.74 million to $3.1 million, also largely due to assessed value of properties within the district as well as an increase in impairment levels of students and an increased enrollment. The increase in expenditures is due to the increase of two new employees.

‘We’re going to need more counselors,’ educator says of growing mental health crisis among students The Macon Telegraph [Georgia]

For students with mental health issues, the everyday challenges of school can become a hopeless struggle.

In Georgia, 85,000 students have a mental health need that’s not being addressed, according to a report from the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education. The Georgia Student Health Survey showed that almost 9 percent of Georgia’s sixth- through 12th-graders seriously contemplated suicide and 4 percent attempted it during the 2015–16 year.

“It’s a crisis when we have an increasing number of kids in the U.S. committing suicide and struggling,” said Jennifer Mellor, executive director of Bibb County’s program for exceptional children. “We’ve had kids who couldn’t come to school because their anxiety was so high. Students with depression have trouble getting out of bed. Mental health issues can affect not just their mood but their output, their friendships, their desire to participate.”

Schools are putting more focus on the “whole child,” and that includes mental health. Evaluation of students’ mental health begins in the classroom, Mellor said.

Teachers identify kids who are struggling, and then school psychologists, counselors or social workers work with the students and connect parents with community resources and support, said Mellor and Monica Smith, Houston’s student services coordinator and lead counselor.

…Bibb County has 10 psychologists and 8 social workers for its 24,000 students. Houston has 10 psychologists and nine social workers for 29,000 students, Smith said. “We’re going to need more counselors,” Mellor said…

Irish mums’ fury after autistic boys turned down for school place Irish Mirror

Two autistic boys have no school to go to next month as there are not enough places available, their mums revealed yesterday. Friends Ayisha Marsh and Linda Hansard’s sons have finished junior school at Scoil Bhride in Donaghmede, North Dublin, and they have unsuccessfully tried to get them into third class at a new location.

Aaron Marsh, eight, and nine-year-old Kyle Hansard may now have to be home tutored by the Education Department.

Ayisha, from Kilbarrack, said: “Because of Aaron’s level of autism I had a very limited number of schools to apply to.

“Some of the schools got back to me and said they had no places, others said Aaron’s level of autism wouldn’t fit the criteria or the school wasn’t equipped for his needs.” The Government offers 20 hours tutoring a week to autistic children who can’t get places but Ayisha revealed a psychologist advised her not to take it.

She said: “Every child should be entitled to leave their home to go to school and have a normal education, it shouldn’t matter whether they are special needs or not.” Ayisha added she is at her “wits’ end” while Linda, from Harmonstown, revealed she applied to around 20 schools for Kyle. …

“If Kyle didn’t have autism he’d be in a mainstream school and that would be fine, but because he has it he is being discriminated against. It’s an absolute disgrace because I know he’s not the only one, there’s many other kids out there.”

A National Council for Special Education report found some schools have concerns they can’t provide teachers with adequate training and have avoided bringing in units for kids with specific needs. ….

“In Dublin we have a particular problem with the increasing population of children — in general, demand for school places is up.”

Govt announces principal well-being initiative The Educator [Australia]

Every public school principal in Victoria will soon be given health checks as part of a State Government initiative to identify trends and intervene.

The voluntary and anonymous medical check-ups will assess and monitor principals’ physical health. Principals will also be given confidential reports outlining the medical assessments as well as potential future health risks.

The Victorian Education Department estimates that up to 30% of the state’s 3,117 public school principals and assistant principals will participate in the health checks every year.

The most recent survey into principal health and well-being shows that increasing reports of stress due to the mental health issues of students and staff are taking a heavy toll on principals.

Aug 3, 2017

New secondary special education needs free school approved for Hounslow Get West London [United Kingdom]

A new special educational needs (SEN) free school has been given the green light to open in the borough of Hounslow. The site for the new secondary school development for young people with learning disabilities is to be located on Hanworth Road, Feltham.

Hounslow Council is now inviting organisations from Multi-Academy Trusts to specialist charitable organisations to place their bids to run it. …

The council was given permission to create a new SEN school through the free school process to meet demand for much needed places.

The chosen site is already owned by EFSA (Education and Skills Funding Agency) and will offer places for children with social, emotional and mental health needs.

Currently, the majority of dedicated SEN places are provided by special schools in the borough…

“Due to the continuing rise in demand, I would urge specialist organisations to apply in order to help us increase our provision and meet the needs of the community.”

A total of 19 local authorities have invited applications as more than 1,600 new special free schools places will be created across England.

Wichita schools will focus on improving student behavior KSN Wichita [Kansas]

The Wichita school district plans to focus more on improving student behavior. According to district leaders, there’s data that shows, over the past four years, there’s been an increase in discipline problems — specifically in the elementary schools. Officials said the number of discipline incidents increased more than 53 percent, a number they’d like to see go down.

For the past seven years, Wichita schools have been following the Multi-tiered System of Supports — a district-wide plan that aims to improve student achievement and address behavior issues.

According to the assistant superintendent of elementary schools, the district now wants to revisit and improve this plan — hoping it will help with the discipline problems. …

Plans Underway for 2017 School Year Saratoga Today [New York]

…For special education and economic disadvantage rates have skyrocketed, almost doubling in both areas. Ten years ago, economically disadvantaged students were at a 35% graduation rate and special education was at 40%. Now, they are up to 80% and 75% respectively.

“As life gets more complex, students have greater needs and we need to be able to support them so they can focus on their academics and be successful academically. So yes there’s room for improvement but I also think we’ve made quite a bit of improvement over the last five years,” he noted.

Deal reached for paraprofessionals Fosters.com [New Hampshire]

The Somersworth Association of Clericals and Aids (SACA), which represents about 100 paraprofessionals and school secretaries employed by SAU 56, recently reached a deal with the district. SACA had picketed at several Somersworth School board meetings after failing to negotiate a contract for the coming school year. Many SACA members picketing school board meetings, carrying signs that read, “We’re worth 2 percent.”

Nash said paraprofessionals work with the students with the highest needs, needs that cannot be met by the classroom teachers…During the School Board meeting in June, Kathy McNair said paraprofessionals support some of Somersworth’s most vulnerable students.

“We work side by said with class room teachers, special education case managers and often behavior specialists to ensure that each student receives the education they need and deserve,” McNair said. “On a good day they may celebrate a small success with their student such as learning the letters in their name,” McNair said.

Number of pupils in Norfolk with complex needs rises — but amount with care plan drops Norwich Eastern Daily Press [United Kingdom]

Figures from the Department for Education (DfE) show the number of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) across the county rose from 18,250 in January 2016 to 18,589 this year — from 15.4pc of the total school population to 15.5pc.

Joanna Hughes, from Great Yarmouth, fought to secure an EHCP for her son Jude, four, for 18 months. “It just felt like we were jumping through hoops,” she said, “filling in forms and ticking boxes — we were turned down for an assessment initially and we’ve had to fight every step of the way.”

A spokesperson for Norfolk County Council, which administers EHCPs, said the plans were for children with the most complex learning difficulties, and that the majority of SEND pupils still receive extra support from their school.

But, with many mainstream schools stretched in terms of what they can offer, they added: “To boost the number of places available there two new specialist schools opening in September, and we have funded extra places with existing providers to help alleviate some of the pressures which are being felt both locally and nationally.” …

More primary school children are suffering from mental health problems, the figures show. The government data shows that in January 2016, 1,754 children at primary schools were classed as having social, emotional and mental health issues as their main type of need.

The category accounted for 18.7pc of the total number of SEND primary pupils. But by the start of 2017 that figure had jumped to 1,958, accounting for just over a fifth — 20.2pc.

Growing mental health problems in younger children is an issue that schools are trying to tackle. A survey by teaching union NASUWT earlier this year found that almost a fifth, 18pc, of teachers polled had dealt with four to seven-year-olds showing mental health issues.

Just over a third, 35pc, had seen problems in children aged from seven to 11.

Stakeholders set aside differences to push for reforms Leominster Champion [Massachussetts]

The hearing follows months of advocacy by educators, school officials, parents and students from the heart of Boston to the hills of Western Massachusetts. More than 40 school committees across the state have passed resolutions supporting the reforms, and in April, diverse stakeholder groups met in a packed room together at the State House to push for the legislation….

Established by the 1993 Education Reform Act, the Foundation Budget was designed to ensure every Massachusetts student was provided a quality education. However, the formula has failed to keep up with rising fixed costs like health care and special education that have outpaced initial estimates.

Funding agreed for new special needs school in Lower Grange, Bradford Telegraph and Argus [United Kingdom]

A NEW special school for children with additional social, emotional and mental health needs will be opened in Bradford. Bradford Council has secured funding for a new school for 72 young people, aged ten to 19, and the plan is for it to be built on the Rhodesway Playing Fields in Lower Grange. …

An exact amount of funding for the school has not yet been set, but a condition of the funding will see the Council advertise to appoint a new sponsor to run the school, in line with Government policy that all new schools are academies or free schools. A planning application for the new facility will also have to be submitted. Details of the new Bradford school come as part of a Government announcement of 19 new SEND schools across the country.

Schools System Minister Lord Nash said: “This process will give local authorities the chance to identify expert organisations with proven track records in SEND provision to run special schools that will help hundreds of children fulfil their potential.”

The Bradford school is part of a push by the Council to create hundreds more places for pupils with conditions such as autism in the coming years. The Council has previously proposed two new SEND free schools, as well as creating about 360 places at schools with a specialist provision across the district.

The current situation has recently been described as “bursting at the seams.”

Michael Jameson, strategic director of children’s services, said: “Getting this funding from central Government has involved a lot of work and planning from a number of partners. It’s good news for the district that we are able to expand provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities.”

The next step on healthy schools Sacramento Bee [California]

Schools aim to protect students by fingerprinting adults and holding fire drills. So it makes sense that schools now are required by federal law to teach students about wellness. …

Every school that takes part in federal school nutrition programs is required to update their wellness policy this year with comprehensive goals, including eliminating junk food from the school day. Today, 40 percent of Sacramento-area children suffer from childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes, asthma and hypertension also are increasing. A healthy diet and exercise could prevent these diseases.

Aug 2, 2017

School nurses face challenges meeting health needs of all students Peninsula Press [California]

In a recent Friday, minutes before noon, Judy Camerlengo met a second grader for diabetic care in her office, a small room with a desk, cork board, cot bed and medicine cabinet at a Redwood City elementary school.

Camerlengo, a petite 68-year-old with reading glasses, shut her office door before checking the student’s blood sugar levels. “You can’t be distracted,” she said. “In a hospital setting a dosage of insulin is checked by two registered nurses, but in the school setting it’s just me.”…

Yet the statewide number of students per nurse has grown. In 2010, California had 2,187 students per school nurse, according to the National Association of School Nurses. Only eight states had a higher number. By 2015, that number had risen to 2,784 to 1, with the ratios varying widely among districts, according to KidsData.org. Redwood City has 1,590 students per registered school nurse.

“The state of school nursing has changed in the last 20 years that I have been a school nurse,” Camerlengo said. “When I first started we were at one school site the whole day. But now the medical needs of our students have changed and there’s more demand for direct care during school hours.”

Blood glucose testing, carbohydrate counting and insulin administration are common tasks for a majority of the registered nurses in Redwood City School District. Diabetic care, however, is but one of many medical conditions being managed by the nursing team, made up of five registered school nurses serving 7,951 students across 16 elementary and middle school campuses in Redwood City.

Camerlengo said when she first started there was one student with diabetes in the district. Now there are six.

Phoebe Reid-Chambers, a seven-year nurse in the district, said nurses shift school sites to cover students who need insulin or diastat, an emergency medication for seizure disorders. Most nurses visit three or four schools each week.

“In our district only licensed personnel are allowed to administer insulin and give diastat,” Reid-Chambers said. “Since I started we’ve seen an increase in both. I think we currently have about five diastat orders at different schools.”

Camerlengo said the increasing demand “does not allow the school nurse to offer more comprehensive care, thorough followups and more communication with teachers, administrators and staff. I’m sure many school nurses feel frustrated with not being able to give the kind of care they would like to.”

While an anaphylaxis reaction, a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction, is rare, she said that with an increase in food allergies, her team is more commonly preparing for this type of emergency.

Licensed vocational nurses, who work under the supervision of registered nurses, cover school sites with seizures when a registered nurse isn’t there.

With an increase in students requiring one-on-one care and nurses rotating school sites daily, office staff and teachers in Redwood City, like many school districts today, are trained to handle first aid and other medical care when a nurse isn’t on site, including how to administer EpiPens and seizure protocol. Camerlengo said parents are called more frequently to pick up students as well. …

The nurses also oversee care for medically fragile students, some of whom may have more than one diagnosis. Valerie Cantrell, a nurse in the district, serves a majority of the medically fragile children.

Cantrell said she often relies on knowledge gained as a hospital nurse for nearly a decade to serve these students with conditions like epilepsy, cerebral palsy, glycogen storage disorder (which requires tube feedings) and vacterl association (which requires collecting waste from the body).

“For three months, I had two students at noon every day, one who has Type 1 diabetes and a student with a severe medical diagnosis that requires blood sugar checks and G-tube feedings,” Cantrell said. “It was crazy because there were also kids coming in with bloody noses and first aid needs, and the nurse is expected to care for all of the children at the same time, while students miss class as they wait.”

… Experts are concerned that with the continued increase in medical conditions, the workload on small nursing teams will undermine the ability to provide support to all children…Around 2 o’clock on a recent Friday, Camerlengo headed to meet a team of parents and teachers to consult on a new student with a seizure disorder.

“In this day and age, with the medically fragile and diabetic students, the number of school nurses is surprising to me,” she said. “I don’t know how schools without a nurse or even one nurse handle it.”

NAPLAN results show decline in writing skills News.com [Australia]

The federal education minister has vowed to take action as new figures show writing skills among school students are going backwards.

Simon Birmingham says he will hold talks with his state and territory counterparts to discuss how to turn the worrying trend around following concerning results from NAPLAN literacy and numeracy tests.

The 2017 preliminary results from tests in May were released on Wednesday and show a 2.04 per cent decline in writing skills across all years in Australia since 2011 when the test format changed.

The decline was particularly noticeable for students in Year 3, aged about eight years old. …

Preliminary results show the Victoria’s year 9 students went backwards in writing during the past five years and years 3, 5 and 7 made no improvement in the same period. …

But even in states like NSW, which achieved some of its best results since the national tests began, scores are still falling short of expectations.

According to Fairfax, almost 70 per cent of students in NSW will have to sit an extra exam in reading, writing or numeracy to be eligible to sit their Higher School Certificate.

Watchdog agency’s new CEO warns of impact of dwindling school revenue Ed Source [California]

Michael Fine is the new CEO of the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team, perhaps the most important education agency Californians may never have heard of — unless their school district has been in financial peril. Better known by its acronym, FCMAT monitors the financial health of school districts, investigates and, together with county offices of education, manages districts when they’re in trouble. It also trains local administrators to keep them from getting into trouble in the first place. Fine, FCMAT’s former chief administrative officer, succeeded longtime CEO Joel Montero on his retirement this summer. He previously was the deputy superintendent for business services of the Riverside Unified School District. Fine recently shared his thoughts with EdSource’s John Fensterwald on the potential challenges districts may be facing with declining revenues, rising expenses and full funding of the Local Control Funding Formula. This is a shortened version of their conversation.

EDSOURCE: These are relatively good times yet we hear that districts are cutting back programs, laying off teachers and other district personnel. Why is that happening after several years with good revenues for districts?…

We still have about 20 percent of the districts that have been deficit spending through the entire expansion period. They never fully corrected all of the issues that caused the deficit. That adds pressure to them. There is the dynamics of special education. Our special ed population generally is growing while overall enrollment is declining.

Boy with autism has no school place for September Dublin People [Ireland]

Ayisha Marsh’s son, Aaron (8), the eldest of her three children, has autism and a moderate intellectual disability. “Aaron has no school for September due to the lack of facilities for children with special needs,” said Ms Marsh.

“On the advice of a senior officer at the Department of Education and Skills, I applied to seven schools and they are all full. I don’t know what to do now…He is non-verbal, has sensory issues and has no awareness of danger and could easily run out in front of a car.

“If Aaron has no school for September it will have a devastating effect on his abilities, skills and behaviours which have been dedicatedly worked on over the past number of years….

“He deserves to go to school like any other child. Every child is entitled to an education. It’s disgraceful that there are limited spaces in schools for children with autism. It’s highly unfair.”

Hillsborough County School District to begin training staff on mental health awareness ABC Tampa [Florida]

The Hillsborough County School District is taking action toward mental health awareness and training staff to pick up on signs of depression or anxiety kids may show in the classroom.
 
 School officials are training teachers, staff and parents on suicide prevention initiatives within the first 60 days of school year. Staff will go through a one hour face-to-face training session and be encouraged to take an additional two-hour evidence-based suicide awareness and prevention training online.

Schools Reach Out on Student Stress Santa Barbara Independent [California]

Even in safe and sunny Santa Barbara, toxic stress can take a toll, and K-12 students across Santa Barbara Unified School District have been mirroring their peers nationwide in terms of how they respond to mental-health issues personally and among close family and friends, according to the district’s Mental Health Wellness Committee. …

Heading into 2017–18, the committee ​ — ​composed of school administrators, counselors, psychologists, and members of the Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness ​ — ​“will highlight wellness tips, how to identify mental-health concerns, and make referrals when intervention … or medical treatment [is] appropriate,” according to a statement, which also explained that there have been “district-wide trainings with the International Trauma Center for school counselors, teachers, and other school staff to strengthen skills around recognizing and responding to student mental health concerns.

August 1, 2017

Thousands support autistic boy in bid for special school place Wolverhampton Express and Star [United Kingdom]

Jacob Graves, aged eight, is currently a pupil at a mainstream school in the village of Perton where he lives. But he has found it increasingly difficult to cope with the noise of the classroom and to be around other children for prolonged periods.

It prompted his mother, Joanne Suman, 36, to try to find Jacob a place at a special school better equipped to meet his needs.

She was pleased to learn Tettenhall Wood School, just one-and-a-half miles from their home, was Wolverhampton’s designated special school for children with autism. But she has since been told by Wolverhampton council there are no places available for Jacob. …

“I had a look around several special schools and I said I felt Tettenhall Wood best specialises in autism and that they have the facilities and therapies there that he needs.

“Staffordshire council asked Wolverhampton council but came back and said they had refused the place.

“I feel it is important and the government needs to look at special education schools and obviously invest in creating more schools for these children. …

Alex Jones, Wolverhampton council’s service director for school standards, said: “Unfortunately, Tettenhall Wood School is currently full and oversubscribed and therefore, regrettably, a place could not be offered to this child at this time.”

One year ago the mother of five-year-old Tobie Williams, also of Perton, found herself in the same situation as Jacob’s family. It was not until November Tobie was offered a place at Tettenhall Wood. …

“General special schools are very different to those with an autism speciality. There really needs to be another option in South Staffordshire.”

County Councillor Mark Sutton, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Staffordshire County Council said: “As the nearest Staffordshire special school is over capacity, we are working with the family to ensure there is suitable provision for their child.

“We are in the process of securing a place in an alternative special school, and are supporting the family in their efforts to get the best education possible for their child. We hope to secure an appropriate placement as early as possible.”

Granville school shuffles administrators Post Star [New York]

Special education has been a focus for the district. The school board last week voted to hire David Mitchell as a consultant to review special education programs. Mitchell will be paid $450 a day for when he is working in the district and $75 per hour when he is working from home.

He will prepare a report about the district’s programs and any recommendations to improve them. About 21 percent of Granville’s students receive special education services, which McGurl said is higher than the average. There is a maximum cap of $10,000 for Mitchell’s services.

An extra £1million is needed to cope with growing demand for special educational needs services in Bexley Post Star [New York]

The number of children with special educational needs in Bexley is growing year on year however the council has admitted it faces “funding constraints”.

Bexley Council needs to find an extra £1million a year for SEN budgets to keep up with the growth of children who need extra support.

According to the stats given by the council, the number of children needing SEN is increasing at around three per cent a year.

“We are concerned of a growing trend among some local academies chains, to refuse to accept children with Education Health Care Plans and the implications this is having on those budgets maintained both by the council and schools still under the oversight of the local authority.

“Special education needs funding is no longer ring fenced and without extra funding from the government or the council committing to increasing budgets to match demand, options and the level of support available will inevitably be reduced.”

School district looks to lower millage rate Panama City News Herald [Florida]

Accounting for part of the increase in spending over last year is increases in health insurance, retirement and student enrollment costs. However, a large chunk of the new money will be put toward several rather pricey programs, including the PROMISE program and the hiring of four law enforcement officers for elementary schools.

The PROMISE program, Husfelt hopes, will help address many of the behavioral issues school officials are seeing play out in classrooms by increasing access to mental and behavioral health support and overhauling in-school suspensions to provide a more positive environment. It includes contracting with Florida Therapy Services for more mental health counselors and the hiring of paraprofessionals dedicated solely to helping students work on their behavior. Although the program has a high price-tag, Moss said after the meeting he believes the board will see its value.

Applications sought from groups interested in developing new special school in Hereford Ledbury Reporter [United Kingdom]

The next step has been taken towards the development of a new special school in the county.

Herefordshire Council and the Department for Education have invited interested groups to submit proposals for developing a school which will provide places for 50 young people aged 16 to 19 years old with severe and complex learning disabilities, including autism.

The proposal is to locate the school — which is hoped will be a centre of excellence for young people with special educational needs (SEN) — next to Hereford Sixth Form College.

Schools in South Gloucestershire to receive special mental health training workshops UK Gazette [United Kingdom]

School staff across South Gloucestershire are set to benefit from specialised mental health training.

The two-day training programme for school mental health leads, aims to improve joint working between education and mental health professionals and help develop a shared understanding of the strengths, limitations, capabilities and capacities of the education and mental health system. …
 “This is a great opportunity for staff from schools and mental health care to work more closely to improve the care and experience of children and young people experiencing problems with mental health.

“I’m delighted to see local schools engaging in joined-up approaches with mental health services to ensure that children, parents and teachers know what services are available in South Gloucestershire for children and young people with concerns about their mental health.”

Lowell looks to keep more special-ed kids in city Lowell Sun [Massachusetts]

Like many districts, Lowell doesn’t have the space and staff to accommodate all of its special-needs students, so it is required to pay for those students to attend specialized, often expensive, schools. Superintendent Salah Khelfaoui is hoping to keep more of those students in the district by acquiring property for a new day school.

The new program could also absorb the Laura Lee School, which would also cut down on administrative costs and allow the city to sell the surplus building. …

The district budgeted $11.6 million for out-of-district special-education tuition and additional $5.1 million for transportation to those schools in fiscal 2018.

The new day school and the addition of four other special-education classrooms could produce $1.8 million in savings in its first year, according to the budget. Lowell Public Schools has allocated $2.4 million for the day school’s acquisition, staff, and equipment.

“We are moving in that direction, slowly but surely,” Mayor Edward Kennedy said. “It’s my hope that we would have something — not for September — but perhaps by January.”

Cuts to Medicaid would affect special needs students across St. Louis region St. Louis Post-Dispatch [Missouri]

Amid the national noise about potential cuts to Medicaid, some school administrators are trying to bring attention to one arguably lesser-known group that would be affected: their students.

That’s because public schools don’t just provide education for children. As required by federal law, they also spend hundreds of millions on an array of expensive medical services for thousands of students with special needs, whether it be private-duty nursing, personal care attendants, physical therapy, speech therapy or occupational therapy…Ratcliffe said studies show it costs twice as much to educate students with special needs than students without disabilities.

“The money that we’re getting through Medicaid is helping to offset the cost,” Ratcliffe said. “They don’t begin to cover the cost.”

At least $20 million from Medicaid goes to Missouri school districts, which educate about 128,400 students from ages 3 to 21 who receive special services. The amount Missouri districts typically receive can be tens of thousands of dollars or as much as a few million.

The most goes to St. Louis Public Schools, which educates about 3,300 students with an Individualized Education Program, meaning they receive special education services. The district received $4.4 million in Medicaid during the 2015–2016 year.

About $2.4 million in Medicaid went to Special School District, which educates students with special needs and provides services for 22 St. Louis County districts. Special School District uses those Medicaid dollars to serve about 9,700 students across St. Louis County who are Medicaid-eligible, said Nancy Ide, district spokeswoman.


Phew. That’s a lot to take in. What’s really going on?

First off — wow, you actually made it this far? Congrats (to all three of you), I commend you for your powers of concentration! Whether you scrolled, scanned, or read your way through these articles — from just 23 straight days in August — I hope we can agree on one point: something is profoundly wrong with today’s kids.

And, while I don’t pretend to have all the answers to what’s causing all of our kids to be so sick, I do think I have a big one, and I’m pretty sure a lot of people won’t like it: vaccines.

Before you run away, stick your fingers in your ears and start shouting “Nah, nah, nah!” I hope you’ll give me a chance. I think it’s likely that the use of an aluminum adjuvant in most children’s vaccines can explain most of the food allergies we have today, and I know many very credible scientists agree with me. That same aluminum adjuvant, combined with several other toxic ingredients in vaccines, could also account for most of the neurological disorders we are seeing in our kids, too. If you’re still listening, I’ll support my position in two ways:

1. Unvaccinated kids

If what I’m saying is true — that vaccines given to children (and the number of vaccines has exploded in the past two decades) — then it should follow that children who have received exactly ZERO vaccines should have much lower rates of the exhausting list of physical and mental problems you just finished reading about…and they do! I’ll give you two non-scientific anecdotes and then two scientific studies to support my assertion:

  • Healthy unvaccinated kids — a poorly kept secret in the autism community

Many parents of children with autism who I know who went on to have more children report that these “younger siblings” who received no vaccines are dramatically more healthy, displaying none of the health or mental issues above. This is a widely discussed phenomenon, well-known amongst many doctors working with autism families. Of course, none of this qualifies as science, but I’m telling you anyway.

  • So compelling, it’s being made into a movie

For those of you following the movie Vaxxed, you know that a Vaxxed bus is touring the country and filming family testimonials. To the Vaxxed team’s unexpected surprise, they kept receiving visits from parents of unvaccinated children. The parents simply wanted them to know how amazingly healthy their kids were, in an attempt to encourage them to keep spreading their message. The Vaxxed team has been so blown away by all these testimonials, it’s the subject of their next movie, for now titled “vaxUNVAX”, check out the trailer:

Trailer for vaxUNVAX
  • Scientists from SUNY-Stony Brook looked at boys who had received the Hepatitis B vaccine series of shots and boys who had not. The result? Boys who had received the Hepatitis B vaccine series were 9-times more likely to be in special education!
  • The next study from Jackson State University looked at children who had received vaccines and those who hadn’t, and compared the children on a wide variety of health outcomes. Spoiler alert: the unvaccinated were dramatically healthier:

“In conclusion, vaccinated homeschool children were found to have a higher rate of allergies and NDD [neurological disorders] than unvaccinated homeschool children.”

2. Emerging biological science

Six months ago I wrote an article summarizing the science finding that the aluminum adjuvant used in vaccines could indeed explain a host of chronic and epidemic conditions in today’s children, I hope you will consider reading it — it makes a very strong case, and cites published research from all over the world (although rarely from the United States):

Conclusions

I hope this article allows you to draw two conclusions. Firstly, our children are in a complete health crisis, and well-meaning schools (and parents) are struggling to keep up. This crisis is NEW, and the world did not look like this 20 or 30 years ago. Second, given the absolutely explosive growth in all these conditions, an external factor must be at play. Vaccines, given to practically all infants in the developed world, is an obvious culprit because of their known side-effects and because of the differences in health outcomes between vaccinated and unvaccinated children. I hope more journalists will consider asking this most important question:

Why are so many of our children so sick?


J.B. Handley is the father of a child with Autism. He and his wife co-founded Generation Rescue, Jenny McCarthy’s autism charity. He spent his career in the private equity industry and received his undergraduate degree with honors from Stanford University. He is also the author of “The Only Vaccine Guide a New Parent Will Ever Need” , “An Angry Father’s Guide to Vaccine-Autism Science”, and “7 reasons CDC employees should be “crying in the hallways

Mr. Handley has started a podcast called “How to End the Autism Epidemic” — you might enjoy his first six interviews: