Saturday, February 24, 2018

Gun Violence Prevention and Student Voice Talking Points for PTAs






Gun Violence Prevention and 
Student Voice Talking Points for PTAs

We have all watched in horror as we have observed 6 K-12 school shootings so far this year, most recently, the shooting that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida where 17 students and faculty lost their lives. Over the next two months, students across the country are planning walkouts and marches to protest gun violence in response to these events and to mark the 19th year since the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.

The following are walkouts and marches we are currently aware of:
·         Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are planning to march in Tallahassee the week of Feb. 20.
·         On March 14, students and teachers are planning to walk out of their schools at 10
a.m. local time for 17 minutes to honor the 17 lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. This event is being planned in part by the organizers of the Women’s March.
·         On March 24, the kids and families of March For Our Lives will take to the streets of Washington, DC. March For Our Lives is created and led by students across the country.
·         Another National High School Walkout is planned at 10 a.m. on April 20, which will mark the 19th year since the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.

Students have a right to speak, as protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This is a critical time for all of us to be their audience—to respect their voice, listen to their experience and viewpoint and observe their emerging movement. We entrust our students to our school leadership to ensure a safe environment for our students’ voices to be heard.

Some state and local PTAs may choose to support a walkout or march that is occurring in their school community. For all of us, we believe that it is important that our association in no way co-opts the efforts of our students. It is their voice, not ours. Above all, we believe it is essential that we listen to what our students have to say. As we listen to our students and our children, our resolve will be strengthened and our advocacy better informed.

This document seeks to provide suggested talking points on the walkouts and the importance of students raising their voice. State and local PTA leaders are encouraged to use this document if it would be helpful to guide their responses to membership, partner organizations and stakeholders concerning the issue. In the event media inquiries are received about National PTA’s position on the walkouts, please direct them to Heidi May Wilson, senior manager of media relations for National PTA, at hmay@pta.org.


Talking Points on Student Walkouts and Marches

·         We support students’ rights to speak as these rights are protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

·         This is a critical time for all of us to respect the student voice, observe their emerging movement, and listen to what they have to say.

·         We recognize and appreciate that our students, like all of us, want and need to be heard.

·         Our students are the ones living in the current environment in schools, and it is important that we learn from their experience and viewpoint.

·         As parents, we all need to listen to our children’s unique voice, and it is especially critical that we do so now.

·         It is urgent that we work together to find solutions and make meaningful policy changes to ensure that all students have a safe environment in which to thrive and learn.

·         Every student deserves to learn and grow in a safe environment.

·        It remains a top priority of National PTA to promote safety for children and youth and improve education. As we listen to our students and our children, our resolve will be strengthened and our advocacy better informed.






National PTA Advocates for Gun Safety and Mental Health Services to Protect Children

Media Contact
 Heidi May Wilson, National PTA 
hmay@PTA.org, (703) 518-1242

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Feb. 21, 2018)—National PTA joins students, families, educators, school administrators, community leaders and the nation in grief over the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and all acts of gun violence involving children and youth. This kind of loss is unimaginable, and our country has experienced far too many gun-related tragedies. It is urgent that we work together to find solutions and make meaningful changes to keep our children safe.

“Every child deserves to learn in an environment that is safe and to have the opportunity to grow into a happy and healthy adult,” said Jim Accomando, president of National PTA. “Our top priorities as a nation should be to protect our children, meet the needs of the whole child and ensure every child reaches their full potential. It is critical that solutions are enacted to eliminate gun violence.”

National PTA urges Congress to adopt legislation that would help prevent future tragedies from occurring while preserving the lawful use of firearms for sport and personal protection. National PTA has a strong history of advocating for laws and regulations in the areas of gun safety and violence prevention and supports the following policy recommendations:
·         Require universal background checks and a license to purchase a firearm (Position Statement on Gun Safety and Violence Prevention, 2016).
·         Re-enact a federal ban on the sale and possession of military-style assault weapons (Position Statement on Firearms, 1990).
·         Lift any ban on research that studies the causes and effects of gun violence (Resolution on the Sale, Resale and Destruction of Firearms, 2017).

National PTA also advocates for preventative measures to educate students, educators and community members on firearm safety and violence prevention, such as:
         Inclusion of violence prevention and intervention strategies in public schools and community programs and services (Resolution on Violence Prevention, 1995).
         Promotion of public education campaigns to alert parents and community members to the devastating effects of firearm-related violence (Resolution on Firearm Safety and Awareness, 1996).

At the same time, National PTA urges federal, state and local policymakers to prioritize mental health education, early intervention, prevention and access to school and community-based mental health personnel and services, so that all children can reach their fullest potential (Position Statement on Early Identification and Interventions for Children with Mental Health Needs, 2017). National PTA has long been committed to providing improved mental health programs and services to children, youth and their families and believes that all children and youth have the right to mental health treatment. National PTA recommends:
         Federal, state, and local policies prioritize outreach and education—including professional development for all school-based employees—in schools and communities regarding childhood mental health.


         Resources are specifically provided to build mental and behavioral health system capacity within schools and communities to ensure students can receive a proactive continuum of behavioral and mental health services.
         States and school districts provide the necessary resources to ensure adequate ratios of school counselors, school psychologists, school social workers and school nurses, who are the most qualified professionals to provide school-based mental health services.

“Resolutions and position statements inform PTA's advocacy efforts on behalf of kids and schools,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “National PTA urges our members and all child advocates to reach out to their members of Congress and state and local policymakers to ensure schools and communities have the resources and capacity to provide a safer and healthier environment for all students.”

About National PTA

National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth. For more information, visit PTA.org.




Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) / National PTA Gun Violence Prevention Efforts



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 
National PTA Gun Violence Prevention Efforts

On Wednesday, February 14, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida experienced a violent shooting that resulted in 17 deaths and multiple injuries. National PTA® President Jim Accomando issued a statement that same day to express his sympathy for the students, families, and communities affected by the horrendous tragedy. However, enough is enough. We must use our collective voices to demand change to eliminate gun violence. School and child safety, a crucial component of effective learning, is one of PTA’s core tenets. National PTA believes that the protection of children in all school settings is a fundamental right and has made it the utmost priority for our work and advocacy.

Following is a sampling of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) National PTA has received in the days after the tragic shooting. If you have additional questions, please contact info@pta.org.

Q: Does National PTA have resources to assist parents, families, and educators in dealing with the aftermath of this tragedy?


  A: Yes, you can find PTA resources, including tips for talking to children online at PTA.org/SchoolSafety. Like you, our attention and assistance is focused on helping schools, families, and children coping with this traumatic event. Your help in sharing PTA resources within your state is invaluable.

Q: Does National PTA support gun violence prevention? Where does National PTA stand on federal efforts that restrict access to firearms?


  A: National PTA celebrates a long history of advocacy for the safety of our nation’s children and youth and supports federal efforts to protect children and youth from gun violence. National PTA believes school safety is a critical priority and that every attempt must be made to reduce violence, especially incidents involving the use of firearms. Parents, educators, community members, and government must prioritize this issue to ensure a safe learning environment for all students.

National PTA supports the following policy recommendations:
         Mandatory license to purchase a firearm;
         Mandatory three day waiting period and background check to purchase a firearm, regardless of retail venue;
         Prohibition on the sale of more than one handgun per month to any individual
         Prohibition of firearm purchase and possession by those convicted of spousal abuse and child abuse;
         Mandatory increased annual license fee for any firearm retailer;
         Reenactment and expansion of federal ban on the sale and possession of military-style assault weapons;
         Establish federal tax on assault weapon ammunition;
         Mandatory restrictions on Internet firearms sales, including restrictions on materials used to make/modify guns;
         Federal minimum age requirement of 21 years of age to buy a handgun from non- licensed dealers
         Mandatory background checks for any firearm retailer;
         Increased penalties for the transfer of firearms, including handguns and assault weapons, to juveniles for use in a crime;
         Licensure revocation for any retailer who knowingly sells to minors;
         Prohibition of firearm sale to any adult convicted of committing a violent crime as a juvenile; and,
         Lifting any ban on research that studies the causes and effects of gun violence

National PTA also advocates for preventative measures to educate students, educators and community members on school and firearm safety, such as:
         Inclusion of safety education in public school curricula and community programs;
         Support and promotion of programs to educate parents, children, youth, and communities about the importance of firearm safety and awareness;
         Promotion of public education campaigns to alert parents and community members to the devastating effects of firearm-related violence; and
         Adoption of school-level and school district-level safety policies and guidelines, including the preparation of educators and pupil support personnel in crisis response.

Q: Does National PTA support the Second Amendment?

 A: National PTA supports the Second Amendment and recognizes the right to bear arms. Other rights guaranteed by the Constitution, such as free speech and private property, have certain reasonable restrictions to protect the freedom and safety of our fellow citizens and the same principle should apply to the Second Amendment. National PTA encourages Congress to adopt legislation that would help prevent future tragedies like the massacre of innocent children and adults at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School while preserving the lawful use of firearms for sport and personal protection.

Q: Does the National PTA support arming teachers and school administrators as a way to prevent school violence?

 A: National PTA believes the most effective day-to-day school climate to be gun-free, but defers to local collaborative decision-making to allow for the presence of law enforcement deployed in community-oriented policing.

Q: Does National PTA support increased access to mental health services as one of many efforts to promote public safety?

 A: National PTA has long been committed to providing improved mental health programs and services to children and youth and believes that all children and youth have the right to mental health treatment. National PTA encourages each community to make available mental health programs and services, which will meet the needs of all children and youth.

National PTA strongly recommends:
         Any mental health intervention, prevention programs or services must include a strong family engagement component—including collaborative relationships with the family, school and community partners (physicians, early learning providers and caregivers and other related health providers)—as well as transparent and open communication and coordination between provider, school, parents and families.
         States and school districts provide the necessary resources to ensure adequate ratios (grounded in researched-based best practices) of school counselors, school psychologists, school social workers and school nurses, who are the most qualified professionals to provide school-based mental health services.
         States and school districts provide the necessary resources and support to ensure students can receive a proactive continuum of behavioral and mental health services.
         Federal, state and local policies prioritize outreach and education—including professional development for all school-based employees—in schools and communities regarding early childhood mental health and the recognition of youth mental health as a critical health issue.
         Federal, state and local policies promoting a continuum of care through school and community-based professional providers and services, beginning with early childhood mental health systems that include screening, diagnosis, treatment, referral and follow-up services through the age of 21, which is recognized and accepted by federal, state and private insurance programs.

         States and local communities—in partnership with professional and advocacy organizations—should provide greater consumer awareness around federal legislation, rules, and guidance related to children’s health insurance programs and general health care provisions that impact mental and behavioral health.





Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Shaping the Future of Education in Ohio: Review and Respond to Ohio’s Strategic Plan

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Shaping the Future of Education in Ohio:
Review and Respond to Ohio’s Strategic Plan

Engage in community conversations to provide input on Ohio’s Draft Strategic Education Plan, which will create a unified system that results in success for each student.

The plan will be Ohio’s roadmap for taking innovative approaches to meet the state’s major education challenges. It identifies a clear, statewide goal for preK-12 education, along with enabling strategies and tactics that explain how the goal will be achieved. The ultimate outcome: creating a unified system that results in success for each student.

During the last six months, the State Board of Education and the Ohio Department of Education have engaged more than 150 partners from preK-12, higher education, business, philanthropy, community and the state legislature to craft a comprehensive strategic plan for education. This is the first prepared by the state in more than a decade.

Philanthropy Ohio, in partnership with the State Board, will host 11 regional stakeholder meetings to review the plan and receive targeted feedback that will inform the final draft of the plan.

These meetings are an opportunity to gather valuable input from various perspectives, including local educators, funders, parents, students and community members. The meeting will include an introduction from State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria, a brief overview of the draft plan and group discussions around specific provisions and options.

Register now to attend a local meeting by clicking on the specific meeting location below.

Please share this invitation with others who may be interested in attending. Questions? Contact Samantha Fallucco at Samantha.Fallucco@education.ohio.gov.



Monday, February 19, 2018

Ohio PTA Accepting Registrations for Annual Convention



CONTACT:    V. Robinson
                    communications@ohiopta.org
                    

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ohio PTA's 112th Annual Convention and Exhibition
Celebrating 25 Years of Gold Key Leadership Training!

COLUMBUS (Feb. 20, 2018) – Ohio PTA is accepting registrations for its 112th Annual Convention and Exhibition to be held April 20 – 22 at the DoubleTree Hotel, 175 Hutchinson Ave.

The event includes opportunities for PTA members and others to learn about a variety of topics including the nuts and bolts of running a PTA and how to advocate for children. Many gold key workshops available. Toastmasters will illustrate how to combat glossophobia. Exhibitors provide latest products and services for parents/families and unique fundraising options.

To register, go to www.ohiopta.org. The cost is $130 per person. One day registrations are available for $100. Registrations made by April 1 are buy one get one free.

A highlight of the Convention is recognition of Reflections winners from throughout the state. The Reflections program is designed to enhance art education programs and provides opportunities for students to express themselves and to receive positive recognition for their artistic efforts. PTA’s Helping Hands, Outstanding Educators, Oak Tree and School Nurse Award recipients will also be honored.

Founded in 1901, Ohio PTA is the oldest and largest volunteer organization in the State of Ohio focusing on the health, welfare, safety, and education of children and youth. A branch of the National PTA, it has nearly 60,000 members in over 440 units. The organization works to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children.

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