Mental Health and School Safety

NAESP has worked to provide lawmakers with research-based, nonpartisan recommendations on school safety. School safety issues are complex, but there is consensus among principals that the nation must find meaningful, systemic, research-based solutions. Based on this, NAESP believes principals should have additional training on emergency management that is appropriate to their school context and that both bullying- and harassment-prevention programs must be bolstered and coordinated with mental health services so that principals can help students access the services they need.

Background

Efforts to improve school climate, safety, and learning are inextricably linked. Students cannot learn if they do not feel safe, welcome, and supported. These efforts must be designed, funded, and implemented as a comprehensive schoolwide approach including:

  • parent and community engagement;
  • best practices on crisis prevention and training;
  • adequate staffing levels; and
  • a fully integrated, multitiered system of supports (e.g., school-based behavioral, mental health, and social services) for students.

NAESP believes that:

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Principals must establish a positive school climate and culture that nurtures the emotional, mental, social, and physical safety of each member of the school community;

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Each child has the right to learn in school without interference from violence, including gun violence, and that school safety needs to be adequately funded by federal and state governments;

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Safe schools offer school-based mental health supports and ensure adequate funding and resources; and

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School counselors and mental health professionals should infuse prevention and intervention services into the learning process and integrate services provided through school-community partnerships.

Take Action

NAESP pushes for federal policy prescriptions to improve school-based mental health and school safety programs, including resources for principals and school personnel to improve access to mental health and to stop school violence before it happens.

Visit NAESP’s Advocacy Action Center to see how you can support your students and school.

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