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School to Prison Pipeline Feature Highlights Notice Talk Act at School
American Psychiatric Association Foundation (APAF) was recently featured in a Psych News article about how the COVID-19 pandemic has halted the “school-to-prison pipeline” and how programs like Notice. Talk. Act.® at School can curb the “pipeline” once students return to in-person learning.
The article features Dr. Sarah Vinson and Professor Randee Waldman, recent panelists on APAF’s Virtual Town Hall: What do Disruptive Behaviors Indicate?
"Ultimately, the pipeline is rooted in a tendency to respond to disruptive behaviors with punishment and even criminalization. The APA Foundation’s Notice. Talk. Act.® at School program is designed to help school staff—such as teachers, janitors, administrators, or anyone who interacts with students in schools—recognize disruptive behavior and approach the student with empathy and compassion.
Psychiatrists play a vital role in Notice. Talk. Act.® at School to educate school staff on what the symptoms of mental illness look like. The goal is not for staff to diagnose students, but to help them notice these symptoms, start a conversation with the students to learn more, and refer the students to the appropriate resources if necessary.
'Understanding why kids may behave this way is really important,' Vinson said. She urged communities to be proactive and not wait until students return to in-person learning before trying to help them deal with the stress they’re likely experiencing. 'We already know which communities deal with housing insecurity, and we already know which school districts have only seen 25% of their students log in for virtual learning. There are things we could do as a society that would give these kids the support they need right now.'"