Tag Archives: behavioral health

Santa Fe Truancy | The Line

Santa Fe Truancy

February 14, 2020 – Host Gene Grant and The Line opinion panel look at Santa Fe Public Schools’ plans to address the longstanding problem of student truancy. The approach includes bringing together educators, family members, law enforcement and court officials and others to identify the reasons why students are missing class, instead of punishing students with suspensions or expulsions. The goal is also to identify resources that would help children overcome obstacles to regular school attendance.       

Line Panelists:
Tom Garrity, The Garrity Group PR
Sophie Martin, attorney
Edmund E. Perea, attorney and public safety analyst
Giovanna Rossi, Collective Action Strategies and The Well Woman Show (KUNM) 

For Further Reading:
Santa Fe schools seek new approach to truancy Santa Fe New Mexican
Racial disparities continue in APS suspension figures  Albuquerque Journal
APS suspension numbers surged last year Albuquerque Journal  

Transcript:

>>GRANT: STUDENTS WHO MISS TOO MANY DAYS OF SCHOOL. IT IS A PROBLEM PLAGUED SANTA FE SCHOOL SYSTEM FOR DECADES. SANTA FE PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE WORKING ON A PLAN THEY BELIEVE WILL CHANGE ALL THAT ONCE AND FOR ALL. THEY ARE PARTNERING WITH CYFD, LAW ENFORCEMENT, MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS AND JUDGES ON THE PLAN. THE GOAL IS TO FIND OUT EXACTLY WHY THE STUDENT IS MISSING SCHOOL AND LOOK FOR SOLUTIONS INSTEAD OF PENALTIES. TOM, THIS MOVEMENT STARTED LAST YEAR WITH A NEW STATE LAW THAT FORBID SCHOOLS FROM SUSPENDING OR EXPELLING STUDENTS FOR EXCESSIVE TRUANCY. SIMPLE FIRST QUESTION, IS THAT THE BEST START?  JUST THAT LAW?

>>GARRITY: THIS IS THE FIRST YEAR. WE HAVE TO SEE HOW IT IMPACTS LARGER NUMBERS. SANTA FE PUBLIC SCHOOL SPECIFICALLY VERONICA GARCIA, SUPERINTENDENT THERE, SHE IS VERY SKILLED AT WORKING WITH HIGH RISK POPULATIONS. AND, YOU KNOW, SO I AM EXCITED TO SEE, YOU KNOW, SOME OF THE THINGS SHE HAS ALREADY BEEN IMPLEMENTING AS FAR AS UTILIZATION OF STAFF IS ONE THING. YOU KNOW, TAKING IT BACK TO WHERE SHE GOT A BULK OF HER EXPERIENCE IN APS, YOU KNOW, IT HAS REALLY BEEN SOMEWHAT INTERESTING. ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL, AS WE WERE TALKING ON CAMERA, REALLY HAD INTERESTING NUMBERS WHERE THE NUMBER OF OUT-OF-SCHOOL SUSPENSIONS HAVE INCREASED FROM 4,000 IN 2017 TO 7600 DURING THE 2018, 2019 SCHOOL YEAR, DISPROPORTIONATE FOR MINORITY STUDENTS. SO, I THINK THERE IS A LOT — WHEN YOU GET INTO THE NUMBERS AND DATA, THERE IS A LOT OF STUFF IN THERE THAT SAYS, YOU KNOW WHAT, A LOT OF THIS DESERVES A CLOSER LOOK.

>>GRANT: THAT WORD WISE IMPORTANT HERE. IT IS COMPLICATED WHY KIDS ARE NOT IN SCHOOL. SOMETIMES MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES, FAMILY ISSUES, SOMETIMES IT IS HUNTING SEASON, A LOT OF THINGS GOING ON THAT COMES UNDER THE UMBRELLA OF TRUANCY.

>>PEREA: EXCELLENT POINT. WHY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. TO THIS QUESTION I TURNED TO MY DAUGHTER WHO TAUGHT IN PUBLIC SCHOOL AND PRIVATE SCHOOL AND NOW A PH.D. CANDIDATE IN ARIZONA. I CALLED HER UP AND SAID THIS MAY BE ONE OF THE QUESTIONS. WHAT DO YOU THINK? SHE SAID, DAD, I AM GOING TO SEND YOU A QUICK POEM. IF I COULD READ BRIEFLY THE POEM SHE SENT TO ME. THE POEM STARTS… I WOKE MYSELF UP, BECAUSE WE GOT ALARM CLOCK. I DIG IN THE DIRTY CLOTHES BASKET BECAUSE AIN’T NOBODY WASHED MY CLOTHES. BRUSHED MY HAIR AND TEETH IN THE DARK BECAUSE THE LIGHTS AREN’T ON. EVEN GOT MY BABY SISTER READY BECAUSE MY MAMA AIN’T HOME. GOT BOTH OF US TO SCHOOL, TO EAT A GOOD MEAL. THEN I GOT TO CLASS AND MY TEACHER FUSSED BECAUSE I AIN’T GOT MY PENCIL. SO, WE NEED TO PUT A FOCUS ON WHAT IS IMPORTANT HERE. IT HAS TO BE, IF A CHILD MISSES SCHOOL, I ASKED MY DAUGHTER, TOO, I LOOK AT HER AS MY EXPERT, I SAID, HOW IMPORTANT — WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY IS IT? A LOT OF TIME WE PUT THIS ON THE STUDENT. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. YOU HAVE AN OBLIGATION. I CAN SEE THAT TO A DEGREE BUT THE SYSTEM, THE POLICIES ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, BECAUSE WE ARE IN A BUSINESS AS TEACHERS TO TEACH THOSE KIDS HOW TO BE A SUCCESSFUL, INDEPENDENT, RESPONSIBLE ADULT AND IF WE ARE NOT DOING SOMETHING TO EFFECT THAT, WE ARE LETTING THE CHILDREN DOWN AND THEY ARE LIKELY TO BE TRUANT. AS YOU SAID, THE WHY’S ARE SO IMPORTANT AND THERE ARE SO MANY WHY’S. FROM THE LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSPECTIVE, I SERVED AS A JUVENILE DETECTIVE WHEN I WORKED WITH APD AND I SAW AND I DEALT WITH TRUANT STUDENTS. AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I DIDN’T CARE MUCH FOR WAS WHEN THERE WAS AN ISSUE OF TRUANCY, OFTEN ADMINISTRATIONS WOULD SAY, CALL THE POLICE, WE ARE GOING TO GET THE POLICE ON YOU. IT CAN’T BE PUNITIVE. IF IT IS PUNITIVE, WE ARE GOING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION. SANTA FE’S PROPOSAL IS MOVING LESS IN THE PUNITIVE DIRECTION AND MORE IN THE SUPPORTIVE DIRECTION WITH THE RESOURCES THAT WE SEE BEING APPLIED TO THIS.

>>GRANT: SOPHIE, ANOTHER SIMILAR POINT THERE, ANOTHER PART OF THE PLAN IS POTENTIALLY CREATING A SPECIALIZED MAGISTRATE COURT TO HANDLE TRUANCY CASES AND IT WORKED WELL WITH OTHER ISSUES LIKE DRUG COURTS. INTERESTING POINT. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

>>MARTIN: IT STRIKES ME AS AN ATTEMPT TO — WE TALK ABOUT THE SCHOOL-TO-PRISON PIPELINE ESSENTIALLY, WHICH IS THE IDEA THAT WE ARE TAKING KIDS FROM SCHOOL, TO ED’S POINT, AND INTRODUCING THEM INTO THE LEGAL SYSTEM IN A NEGATIVE WAY AND THAT ULTIMATELY THAT MAY LEAD TO PRISON. THE HOPE IS THAT A COURT LIKE THIS, IF IT HAPPENS, IS THAT CAN TAKE A MORE NUANCED APPROACH TO WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH KIDS. I WOULD LIKE TO BELIEVE, I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE SANTA FE SCHOOL DISTRICT AND OTHER SCHOOL DISTRICTS REACH A POINT IN WHICH THAT COURT IS NOT NECESSARY, BECAUSE ISSUES ARE BEING DEALT WITH SOONER. I CONTINUE TO STRUGGLE WITH THE IDEA THAT A KID WHO DOESN’T SHOW UP FOR SCHOOL SHOULD BE PUNISHED BY NOT HAVING THEM SHOW UP FOR SCHOOL. I STRUGGLE WITH THAT A WHOLE LOT. AND I THINK THAT TO THE EXTENT THAT SANTA FE IS LOOKING AT WHAT IS HAPPENING BEFORE AND WHAT IS HAPPENING AFTER AND TRYING TO WRAP THEIR ARMS AROUND IT WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF THE STATE AND OTHER RESOURCES, I THINK THAT IS SUPER POSITIVE.

>>GRANT: YOU HEAR A LOT OF BLAME ON THE PARENTS WHEN YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS ISSUE, THEY SHOULD BE FINED, THEY SHOULD BE JAILED, WHATEVER. THE IDEA THAT A PETTY MISDEMEANOR FOR A TRUANT CHILD MIGHT BE THE WAY TO GO, DO PARENTS BEAR RESPONSIBILITY HERE? BUT THAT WHY QUESTION HOVERS OVER THIS WHOLE THING.

>>ROSSI: YOUR DAUGHTER’S POEM SO BEAUTIFULLY DEMONSTRATED ALL THE OBSTACLES THAT A CHILD HAS TO OVERCOME JUST TO GET TO SIT AT THE DESK WITH A PENCIL TO BE READY TO LEARN. THE REASON THAT SHE WASN’T HOME AND SHE HAD TO TAKE CARE OF HER BABY SISTER, HER MAMA WAS PROBABLY AT WORK OR WE DON’T KNOW. THE LIGHTS WEREN’T ON BECAUSE THE BILL ISN’T PAID. THERE ARE ALL THESE ISSUES. SO, TRYING TO SOLVE THIS IN A COURTROOM IS JUST MISSING THE MARK COMPLETELY, I THINK. REALLY LOOKING AT THE SCHOOL AS A COMMUNITY HUB RATHER THAN LIKE WHEN YOU CROSS THAT DOORWAY, WE HAVE TO TEACH YOU MATH AND ENGLISH. AND THOSE THINGS ARE REALLY IMPORTANT BUT IF THAT KID ISN’T SOCIALLY AND EMOTIONALLY, LIKE, PRESENT THAT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. SO, EVEN KEEPING THE KID IN SCHOOL, LIKE GETTING THE KID TO SCHOOL, YOU KNOW, WHO KNOWS IF THEY LEARN ANYTHING ANYWAY. IF THEY DON’T HAVE THEIR PENCIL AND –

>>MARTIN: I THINK WHAT WE ARE ALL SORT OF TALKING ABOUT HERE IS THE IDEA THAT EACH CHILD IN EACH DYNAMIC IS DIFFERENT. THE IDEA WE ARE GOING TO HIT THE PARENTS WITH A MISDEMEANOR, SOME PARENTS MIGHT DESERVE THAT AND SOME PARENTS DON’T. SO, TAKING A LOOK AT INDIVIDUAL CIRCUMSTANCES AND NOT ASSUMING THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT OR PUNISHMENT OF THE PARENT OR THE CHILD, WHOMEVER, IS GOING TO BE A ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL SOLUTION. I MEAN I JUST APPLAUD WHEN WE MOVE TOWARD MORE NUANCED –

>>GARRITY: WHEN WE FOCUS ON THE JUDICIAL PORTION, THERE IS A MENTAL HEALTH AND A SOCIAL WORKER PORTION OF THIS PARTICULAR APPROACH AS WELL. I THINK THAT IS WHAT IS GOING TO ADDRESS A LOT OF WHAT YOUR CONCERNS WERE, IT IS NOT JUST A HEAVY HAMMER, WE HAVE TO GO TO THE HOME AND FIGURE OUT WHAT IS GOING ON.

>>GRANT: CAPITAL HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL HAD A THIRD FACTOR IS LEARNED BEHAVIOR, SHE SAID. MISSING SCHOOL IN MIDDLE AND ELEMENTARY BECOMES A HABIT THAT CARRIES OVER INTO HIGH SCHOOL. I NEVER HEARD THAT PUT THAT WAY BEFORE.

>>GARRITY: ABSOLUTELY, YEAH. A LOT OF THOSE — EVERYBODY ALWAYS KIND OF LOOKS AT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IS BEST. THAT IS WHERE YOU GET A CHANCE TO GET A LOT OF HABITS, WHERE YOU LEARN EVERYTHING. AS SOON AS YOU GET TO SIXTH GRADE, IT IS ALL VOCATIONAL. ANY BAD HABITS YOU HAVE IN ELEMENTARY ARE EXACERBATED IN JUNIOR HIGH AND HIGH SCHOOL.

>>GRANT: ANYTHING ABOUT THE MAGISTRATE IDEA? DOES THAT SEEM LIKE A GOOD IDEA?

>>PEREA: I AGREE WITH SOPHIE. I AM NOT SURE THE COURT SYSTEM IS WHERE WE NEED TO DEAL WITH THIS. THERE IS SO MANY THINGS WE CAN DO POLICY WISE UP FRONT BEFORE IT GETS TO THAT DIRECTION.

>>GRANT: THAT IS RIGHT. I WANT TO THANK YOU ALL FOR TAKING THE TIME TO RESEARCH THESE TOPICS AND SHARING YOUR OPINIONS. BEFORE WE GO, WANT TO REMIND YOU THAT TO FOLLOW THE SHOW ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER AS WELL AS OUR NEWEST PLATFORM, INSTAGRAM.

Behavioral Health Shortages Plague New Mexico | The Line

1313 Line Behavioral Health

September 27, 2019 – A new report from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department outlines the ongoing pressure on the state’s behavioral health system. Rural communities are definitely hit the hardest, and many of those communities have no way to respond to urgent situations in a timely manner. Host Gene Grant and The Line opinion panelists discuss why it’s so important for New Mexico to focus its efforts on behavioral health resources, especially after the challenges the system has faced in the last 5-10 years.

Line Panelists:
Merritt Allen, Vox Optima LLC
Michael Bird, Public Health Consultant
Jeffrey Candelaria, Konnection Now & KKOB
Laura Sanchez-Rivét, Affirm


For Further Reading:
Report: New Mexico Needs to Boost Mental Health Services – U.S. World and News Report

New Mexico Delegation Announces $3 Million Grant for Youth Behavioral Health – U.S. Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small Press Release