An online newsletter produced by EdSource
with support from The California Endowment 


Jan. 12, 2015, Issue 26
School Climate
It's a belief repeated every day by teachers, principals and parents of rule-abiding children: Suspending disruptive students will allow the rest of the class to settle down and learn. But a new, large study calls this rationale into question.

The study is believed to be the first to look closely at the academic performance of individual students who have never been suspended, but who attend schools where others are suspended. After tracking nearly 17,000 students over three years, two Midwestern researchers found that high rates of school suspensions harmed math and reading scores for non-suspended students.

Editor's note: Connecting parents, students and community members to schools is a key part of establishing a positive school climate -- a place where people feel welcome and accepted. A positive school climate affects teachers' and students' emotional and behavioral health, as well as their engagement in academics.

The profound challenges of coming to terms with the underlying issues of race raised by the police killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown were on full display at a Berkeley Unified School District forum I attended just before the winter holidays.

The fact that a "Black Lives Matter" forum was necessary at all in a place known as one of the most progressive communities in the world was depressing. Yet it was also energizing that a frank conversation along those lines was being held in a place too often, and perhaps unfairly, known for its political correctness.

Legislative Update

A slew of new laws affecting students' physical, emotional and behavioral wellbeing will change how schools operate this year, in ways large and small. The laws regulate basic needs grants for truant students, pesticide use and expulsions for "willfully defiant" behavior, among other issues. 


As of Jan. 1: CalWORKS benefits restored for truants


Families that receive CalWORKS basic needs grants will no longer have their grants reduced or eliminated if their child is truant.  


Read more at EdSource Today. 

Sports Health
Wash those water bottles: Outbreak of meningitis on L.A. football team

Eight members of high school football team in Los Angeles County and two siblings of football players contracted asceptic meningitis, a brain inflammation, in August, according to a new field report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The report did not name the school.

The 10 patients had symptoms of fever, stiff neck and headache. Five of those who fell ill were hospitalized for a total of 12 days.

The majority of the patients tested positive for echovirus 30, a virus that affects the gastrointestinal tract and can cause asceptic meningitis. Investigators determined that virus was  most likely transmitted through shared water bottles, unwashed water bottles and unwashed hands.

"School staff members were asked to encourage proper hand hygiene and discourage shared water bottles to avoid future outbreaks," the CDC field report noted.


Measles outbreak at Disneyland rises to 17
An outbreak of measles has spread among December visitors to Disneyland or Disneyland California Adventure Park, with 17 cases confirmed, said the California Department of Public Health. Of those infected, 14 live in California. Their county locations are: 6 in Orange, 2 in Riverside, 2 in San Diego and 1 each in Alameda, Los Angeles, Pasadena and San Bernadino. Twelve of the 14  had not been vaccinated.

A new study found that some  health care providers don't recommend adolescent vaccination against the cancer-linked human papillomavirus (HPV) because they believe some parents are hesitant to agree. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends routine HPV vaccination for boys and girls as early as 11 or 12 years old. The vaccination remains one of the widely underused, the CDC said.

Students in New York with a religious or medical exemption from vaccination requirements can be ordered to stay home during an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease, a federal court ruled.

The court cited the U.S. Supreme Court's 1905 decision in Jacobson v. Massachusetts that found  schools can require vaccinations to protect public health.

Reports: Brain science, nutrition and discipline

A new report on the juvenile justice system uses findings about brain development to call for more rehabilitation programs to take advantage of the ability of teenagers to change.

The report, Because Kids are Different: Five Opportunities for Reforming the Juvenile Justice System, was issued by the MacArthur Foundation.

Student acceptance of healthy school lunches is increasing but schools have made little progress in promoting physical activity for students, according to a new report from Bridge the Gap, a research group at the University of Illinois and the University of Michigan. The report also found significant decreases in the availability of unhealthy foods and beverages in school meals.

Trying to address the differences in disciplinary actions experienced by students of different races means "talking about what we think automatically about
'types of children,' even if those thoughts are
undesired," according to the final paper of a series from the Discipline Disparities Research to Practice Collaborative, a group based at Indiana University.

Other Student Health and Wellness News

By T. Elijah Hawkes, school principal, Huffington Post


The importance of creating a culture of health in school is the topic of a webinar from the National Association of School Nurses. The discussion, led by panelists Carolyn Duff and Beth Mattey,
will include the roots of school nursing in public health and the issue of care coordination. It is the first in a series of webinars called "Let's Talk School Nursing!"

  • "School Nursing of Tomorrow Starts Today: A Culture of Health and Care Coordination"
  • Wednesday, Jan. 14, 9 a.m. PT
  • Register here.
Recent Editions of the EdHealth Newsletter

EdHealth Newsletter Issue 25: State fights lawsuit over instructional time
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 24: From eye screening to eye glasses: bridging the gap
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 23: Effective school discipline network launches
EdHealth Newsletter Issue 22: Districts ordered to use millions in unspent school lunch funds
Edhealth Newsletter Issue 21: National school boards group ends tobacco partnership

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