Safe school assessment


New Member

Seems like my son is back to his old tricks of drawing violent pictures (battle scenes, etc) instead of doing his work in class. His ERC teacher is concerned.

In any event we have agreed that the school will redirect him when he starts these drawings.

His therapist doesn't see him as kid at all likely to act out--at least at present, but mentioned to us that schools in our area (not sure our school district is though) are beginning to do safe school assessments where they get pscyhologists to evaluate kids with markers for potential violence. I am all in favor of this, but have little if any positive regard for the SD psychologists I've met so far.

What would the school do if they decided he was somewhat of a danger? I am wondering if this could help us down the road possiblelyif we decide we need a more therapeutic milieu (child in not behavior problem so much as he just goes into school refusual mode) or if it is likely to backfire into possible getting him sent off to some very untherapeutic place?

Any one have any experience with this?



What is ERC?

I'd want a copy of the state rule/regs that gives the school district authority to unilaterally perform this type of evaluation.

In theory, this sounds like a good idea. In practice, it could be abused by school district's. I'd think think there should be some 2nd opinion avenue at school district expense and some type of appeals process.

Ultimately, however, if they are concerned an evaluation via IDEA should be performed to see if he qualifies for an IEP. If difficult child already has an IEP, his behavior should be controlled via a Behavior Intervention Plan. Likewise, if he has an IEP, the psychiatric evaluation should be performed under IDEA regs. There are built-in protections for student and parents, e.g., if you do not agree with their evaluation you can get an IEE at no cost to the parent.


Active Member
Does your difficult child like to play video games or watch tv shows that have fighting? Lunch time at school, we have kids that play act as if they are characters on Power Rangers, Pokemon, cops & robbers, etc. Inside days, they will draw pictures of those scenes. We always tell them that we'd like for them to find another game or activity. We explain that someone could mistakenly think that what they are doing is real & that it could get out of control also. Drawing in class instead of doing work could just be his version of doodling.



I have heard of this happening also. I think it is likely to be abused---at least by some SDs.

Your question would it get your child a therapeutic placement or an alternative very untherapeutic placement? I cannot answer but untherapeutic placements are growing.

I would argue that any child who draws such pictures frequently enough to have re-direction in his BIP, has underlying emotional problems. It is another question whether he EVER would act out aggressively.

I would like to point out that forensic psychiatrists cannot predict which ADULTS will act out with certainty, and all due process rights are in place in a committment hearing. Children are more difficult to predict and I am very interested in what protection of rights are going to be in place. I don't see many.

I definitely would not trust a school psychologist to decide this matter.The strange thing is--that peple with less training will allege that they CAN predict but a psychiatrist will often say--"no evidence that it will happen, no intent, but no one can fortell the future." If you contrast the level of training behind these two points of view, you can see the hubris in the school's position.

I also agree with Sheila that IEP procedures should be used. Schools are trying to get around Special Education by using a school-wide three level system of services as a prerequisite for referral. I have posted recently aoubt the conflict betweeen school's "intervention teams," and parents' right to have an evaluation done.

I spoke with a student I trained recently who is OK with the idea that a student she counsels (who has violent fantasies) should go directly to an "alternative school" because she is "socially maladjusted," (which is a label specifically barred from receiving Special Education services.) I cynically asked if the adolescent in question is white, and of course, the answer was, "no."

I said if the girl were white, she would be hospitalized for evaluation but the way this SD will handle this is she will be shipped off to an "alternative school," which has an 8:1 boy to girl ratio, and she will drop out. The SD wants this, they know it will happen, and they are turning back the clock on Special Education.

I wanted to disown having trained my former student--but training does not "stick" when graduates get into SDs that do these things.



New Member
I do know the district next to mine had a highly publicized incident where they expelled a kid for drawing ......"crowns" in his spiral notebook and as doodles etc. the district said it was a gang symbol and gang related and thus qualified for expelling the student.

I cannot remember, but I think he was in middle school. and I do know not even pretend fighting or aggression is allowed here.

ANd yes Martie, while my dtr is white as is most of our district, she wound up in a classroom of herself and 8 boys. THat does carry it's very own set of difficulties. It was AWFUL. But our school could not even be forced to bend on their placement of her. (she was in 8th grade for that) In HS it changed slightly and there was one other girl with her. and no she did not make it past grade 9 (or even thru grade 9)