I would really, really love any one that can help me to connect with an attorney or someone that has the ability speak to legal concerns/liability concerns as they may pertain to trauma-sensitive schools.
Last Thursday, our local district (ConVal) brought in an uninformed attorney that lectured the entire administrative council (20+ group of building and central office administrators) about the many angles of liability if they were to pursue becoming a trauma-informed district. In short, it was fearmongering of the worst kind on the part of the senior administration that is actively want to counter becoming a trauma-informed district. This is a district that has invested significantly in behavioral approaches to dealing with challenging student behaviors and would like to continue in such direction.
I was absolutely devastated to learn of this fear tactic by the district (though not at all surprised). I know that many of that group of administrators that heard the presentation were devastated. It's a backlash and one I wonder if others have encountered in other parts of the country.
The attorney argued that screening people or asking people about ACEs violated privacy rights and brought up vast concerns related to HIPAA. He argued that school personnel are completely incompetent to provide any kind of trauma-informed intervention in the absence of extensive training, certification, etc. He, again (I have seen him speak in the past), made the argument that schools are not mental health centers and are not equipped to provide for the psychological needs of students. He said such trauma-uninformed things like, "we have always been a trauma-informed school because we live in an area with small towns and everyone already knows everyone else's business. You can't be talking and asking people about there personal business." So.Doesn't.Get.It. He made these people believe that trauma-sensitivity in schools = lawsuits in abundance.
This kind of fear tactic of resistance needs to be met with equal measure of examples of legal precedent that encourage educators (and other providers) to innovate, do what's in the best interest of the student, care for the greater good, I don't know. Be a good and decent human being. There's got to be legal precedent that says that's the right thing.
Someone, please, help me! I fear that this kind of thinking could easily spread and be adopted by others. We must stop this! Can anyone offer some guidance? Thank you very much...