As advocates for safe schools, SCASP Crisis Response and Legislative Committees want you to be informed that SC House Bill 4966 was introduced this week. The bill requires schools to conduct monthly active shooter drills.
As this bill is discussed in committee and the wording is honed, members should be aware that the language used will be critical. If not worded correctly, there are individuals and companies that will assume this includes utilizing highly sensorial drills and exercises (simulated gun shots, fake blood, teaching staff/students to fight the intruder) and schools could unintentionally be exposing teachers and youth to a traumatizing experience. Some may interpret this to mean they HAVE to do highly sensorial drills.
This is a good time to contact the sponsors and committee members, particularly if a sponsor or committee member represents you in the House. The list of individuals on the House Committee on Education and Public Works can be found here. The text of the bill, a list of its sponsors and co-sponsors, and up-to-date bill progress can be found here.
There are already two lawsuits filed against school districts who implemented these highly sensorial drills. Teachers ended up with physical injuries, and one was diagnosed with PTSD after the active shooter drill experience. These results are avoidable. We don't light a fire in the hallway to practice fire drills; thus, we don't need to expose students and staff to highly sensorial experiences in order to prepare for an active shooter. There are more appropriate ways we can do this.
NASP and NASRO have collaborated to provide states and other entities a document that gives guidance on these more appropriate ways to conduct such drills. This document, Best Practices Considerations for Schools in Active Shooters and Other Armed Assailant Drills, details the important considerations involved. Along with this document, you will find a streamlined list of considerations for school districts to use when implementing such drills. For your convenience, both of these documents are attached to this email.
We need to get these documents in front of the legislators in SC. Further, one of the document's authors, Dr. Melissa Reeves (firstname.lastname@example.org), is right here in SC and has made herself available to assist in discussions with anyone wanting to plan how to complete these drills responsibly. Please consider reaching out to your legislators with this important information.
Thank you for doing your part to advocate for safe schools and practices.
Susan Beck and Lisa Lipscomb,
Legislative and Crisis Response Chairpersons
South Carolina Association of School Psychologists
The South Carolina Association of School Psychologists is a membership organization that empowers school psychologists to advance the learning and mental health of students in South Carolina.
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SUMMER DSM-5 COURSE
The Winthrop School Psychology Program will be offering PSYC 690- “Applying DSM-5 to Children and Adolescents” again this coming summer. The course will include one introductory afternoon session at Winthrop the afternoon of Thursday, June 8th, followed by internet-based modules and submission of a real or simulated case study to which students have applied DSM-5 criteria. The texts will include the DSM-5 and DSM-5 in the Schools as well as some readings provided by the instructor.
Dr. Harriett Ford will teach the course. Dr. Ford is a school psychologist with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and is an adjunct instructor and supervisor at Winthrop. She was previously on the faculty at the University of Kentucky.
The South Carolina Board of Examiners for Licensure of Professional Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Psycho-Educational Specialists has approved PSYC 690 as meeting its DSM requirement. The course will be offered at a special tuition and fee rate of $980, which represents over a 25% reduction from usual summer tuition rates. Those who are interested should complete and return the attached course registration form.
The course is limited to 20 students, so don’t delay in registering!
Questions? Contact either:
Dr. Joe Prus
Dr. Harriett Ford
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