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What Does It Mean to be Trauma-Informed? (Part 2 of 2)

Published on

October 22, 2019

(NOTE: Part 1 of this two-part series provided information on The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s Model Trauma-Informed Approach Plan. Part 2 of this series will provide additional information on state and federal guidance to enable districts to be legally and educationally trauma-informed.)

We now know that all school personnel will be required to go through state-required trauma-informed training during the 2019-2020 training.

But according to Act 18 of 2019, it’s not just the everyday school employees. 

School directors, the elected leaders comprising each district’s school board, also are required under the act to have a minimum of one hour of trauma-informed training. The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) is dedicated to helping its members fulfill that requirement by offering New and Advanced School Director Training at multiple locations across Pennsylvania throughout December and January.

I will be teaming up with members of PSBA to provide trauma-informed training on the following dates:

  • December 7: Radnor Township School District in Delaware County
  • December 10: Penn Manor School District in Lancaster County
  • December 11: Berks County Intermediate Unit 14
  • December 14: State College in Centre County
  • January 11: PSBA headquarters in Cumberland County

Pennsylvania isn’t the only authority dealing with trauma-informed education. Federal courts have been handling trauma-related student matters for years in cases such as P.P. et. al. v. Compton Unified Sch. Dist. and Stephen C. v. Bureau of Indian Education. In both cases, the courts recognized that the students’ exposure to childhood trauma affected their abilities to think, read and concentrate, and acknowledged that the schools failed to identify the student’s trauma-related disabilities.

This year, the federal government also is taking a closer look at the impact of trauma on children. On July 11, the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform held a hearing on identifying, preventing, and treating childhood trauma, and on September 11, the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education held a hearing on the effects of trauma on children and their development. We will keep you apprised of any legislative developments.

The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s Model Trauma-Informed Approach Planmirrors the trauma-informed education, resiliency and restorative practices guidance that Barley Snyder Education Practice Group attorneys have been presenting on since 2017. If you have any questions on tailoring the model to your school’s unique needs, or on any other topic, please contact any member of the Barley Snyder Education Practice Group.

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