December 2014

New “Dear Colleague” Letter from the United States Department of Education Regarding Students with Disabilities in Correctional Institutions

  • The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice have both recently stated that the fact that a student has been accused or charged with a crime does not negate their right to a free and public education under IDEA. Supporting effective education for incarcerated youths and those at-risk can result in cost savings in public safety and enhanced future opportunities for those youths. This Letter from December 5, 2014 discusses areas such as personnel qualifications for those teaching in correctional facilities, child find within the system, the assignment of Special Education Surrogate Parents, and Least Restrictive Environment.

New Guide to Bullying Involving Students with Disabilities

  • school bullyThis Parent’s Guide to Bullying Involving Students with Disabilities from Massachusetts Advocates for Children has some helpful suggestions for parents and IEP teams. All IEP teams must consider annually the issue of bullying when writing IEPs. This guide contains a number of questions for an IEP team to address when discussing bullying. There is also guidance for team members developing IEPs on accommodations, supports, and services to help students build skills necessary to avoid bullying, teasing, and harassment.

Paper Tigers Trailer…A Peek into Documentary About Lincoln High School

  • Multicultural College Students outside on campusFour teenagers attending Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA are the subject of filmmaker James Redford’s new documentary, Paper Tigers. Lincoln was the first high school in the country to integrate trauma-informed and resilience-building practices, which resulted in an 85 percent decline in suspensions and a 40 percent decline in expulsions after the first year. After four years, suspensions had dropped 90 percent, expulsions dropped to zero, and graduation rates increased five-fold.

The Ties That Bind: Strengthening, and Reducing Racial Disparities in, Kinship Foster Care in Massachusetts

  • This report, written by the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute with the support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget), examines the extent to which Massachusetts has accomplished its twin goals of increasing kinship foster care in general and increasing it especially for children of color. Recommendations in the report include initiatives for improving kinship care generally, but especially in communities of color.

SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach

  • Sympathetic Mother with ChildThe working definitions, key principles, and guidance presented in this document from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) represent a beginning step toward clarifying the meaning of the concepts of trauma and a trauma-informed approach. This document builds upon the extensive work of researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and people with lived experience in the field. A standard, unified working concept will serve to advance the understanding of trauma and a trauma-informed approach for public institutions and service sectors.