The NH Board of Eduction has no authority to mandate psychologist services for school districts. Authorization cited for this proposed rule is RSA 189:49 IV, which explicitly specifies that these services are optional:
RSA 189:49 OPTIONAL Services. – The school board of any school district may provide the following child benefit services for pupils in each public and nonpublic school in the district or in another school district in this state: IV. School guidance and PSYCHOLOGIST services.
Proposing mandates, which exceed statutory authority granted by the legislature, is unconstitutional. Using the term "shall" in Ed 306.25 Comprehensive School Psychologist Services attempts to mandate requirements under the color of law. Every "shall" must be removed, or the entire section eliminated.
Additionally, proposing psychological services without first obtaining informed parental consent before treating minor students usurps parental rights.
Without the inclusion of such language the state Board and districts could face lawsuits from parents, especially if this treatment resulted in a harmful situation for the child.
Parents must be able to select their own psychologist in lieu of a school's psychologist to insure that HIPAA rules protect the privacy of the child's records and prevent them from being shared without consent.
Requiring informed written parental consent provides an opportunity for the district to include clarifying language as to what treatment is being proposed and what, if any, liabilities for future treatment that may be associated with any psychological tests, assessments, psychological treatments or prescriptions, etc.
Without these disclaimers, it might be construed that the State of NH or the school district must bear the costs of any recommendations that a school psychologist might make pertaining to a minor child.
A court might find the State is liable because of Ed 306:25, or it could burden the school district because the district decided to employ school psychologists and therefore must follow Ed 306:25, and parents were not given any choice under Ed 306:25 rules.
The best solution is to strike out 306:25 in its entirety, and not get involved in making optional rules for school psychologists. Let districts make their own policies, liability disclaimers, parental informed consent forms and financial liability disclosures for parents to understand and sign or refuse.
Proposed rules will be voted upon by the Board of Education at 9:00 am on November 21st in East Swanzey:
MONADNOCK REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL
580 OLD HOMESTEAD HIGHWAY
EAST SWANZEY, NH 03446
MIDDLE-HIGH SCHOOL ANNEX
Contact information for NH Board of Education members:
Tom Raffio, Chairman
57 Bow Bog Road
Bow, NH 03304
Home (603) 715-2750
Office (603) 223-1300
Fax (603) 223-1299
(District 4) Term 1-31-2017
434 Harriman Road
Dalton, NH 03598
(District 1) Term 1-31-2016
Cindy C. Chagnon
12 Carriage Lane
Bedford, NH 03110
Home (603) 472-8029
(At Large) Term 1/31/2016
50 Adams Point Road
Durham, NH 03824
(District 2) Term 1-31-2017
15 Carriage Lane
Laconia NH 03246
(603) 524-6440 Home
(603) 524-0004 Office
(At Large) Term 1-31-2015
James C. Schubert,
975 Ocean Boulevard #8
Hampton, NH 03843
(District 3) Term 1-31-2014
Helen G. Honorow
46 Raymond Street
Nashua, NH 03064
Home (603) 598-8433
Office Barry and Honorow, PLLC
161 Kinsley Street
Nashua, NH 03060
Fax (603) 886-8625
(District 5) Term 1-31-2016
Ed 306.25 – Comprehensive School Psychological Services
(a) If a district employs a school psychologist, the standards in (b)–(e) below may [shall] apply. Nothing in this section shall prevent a school district from contracting services with qualified school psychologist.
(b) Employing school districts may [shall] require that school psychological services are provided by certified school psychologists in a coordinated, organized fashion, and are deployed in a manner that results in the provision of a comprehensive continuum of services. Comprehensive school psychological services may [shall] be based on this section and The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Model for Comprehensive and Integrated School Psychological Services, published by NASP in 2010.
(c)[ (b) ] Only after obtaining informed parental consent may the school psychologist [shall] provide comprehensive psychological services throughout various learning environments to help children and youth develop academic, social, behavioral, and emotional competence through:
(1) Data-based decision making and accountability methods that use[psychological and] psycho-educational assessment results, data collection strategies, and technology resources to design and implement services and programs and to evaluate outcomes; [School psychologists utilize assessment findings to diagnose educational and behavioral disorders and to facilitate treatment planning.] This language is moved below as a separate requirement.
(2) Consultation, collaboration, and communication with educators, families, health care professionals including mental health, social services and other systems to promote effective and coordinated implementation of services;
(3) Interventions and instructional supports to develop academic skills, incorporating available research and assessment data to develop and implement evidence based instructional strategies designed to support students’ cognitive and academic skills;
(4) Interventions and mental health services to develop social and life skills in collaboration with others, using assessment and data collection methods to implement and evaluate developmentally appropriate services that support socialization, [leaning], learning, and mental health;
(5) School-wide practices to promote learning, developing and implementing evidence-based practices and strategies to create and maintain effective and supportive learning environments for children and others, including multi-tiered systems, to support students’ academic, social, emotional, and behavioral goals;
(6) Preventative and responsive services employing theories and research related
to resilience, risk factors, and multi-tiered prevention, to support evidence based strategies for effective counseling, crisis response, and behavioral intervention;
(7) Family-school collaboration services to facilitate and provide effective collaborative partnerships between families and schools that support children’s learning and mental health utilizing a strength-based, culturally sensitive approach;
(8) Diversity in development and learning to provide professional services that promote effective functioning for individuals, families and schools with diverse characteristics, cultures and backgrounds, across multiple contexts. The diversity in development is a part of the foundation of all service delivery;
(9) Research and program evaluation to support educational decision-making and evaluate programs; and
(10) Legal, ethical, and professional practice consistent with legal requirements and ethical and professional standards including the NASP Principals of Professional Ethics (2010).
(d) School psychologists may [shall] utilize assessment findings to diagnose educational and
behavioral disorders and to facilitate educational treatment planning.
(e) [ (c) ] Employing school districts may [shall] insure that an effective program of supervision
and evaluation of school psychological services exists. [ Supervision shall be available to all
school psychologists to the extent sufficient to ensure the provision of effective and accountable
services.] School psychologists in cooperation with their employing districts or agencies, shall
be responsible for the overall development, implementation and professional supervi
sion of school psychological service programs.
The new language in (e) and (f) was recommended by the school psychologists organization.
(f ) [ (d) ] Professional supervision may [shall] be available to all school psychologists to an
extent sufficient to ensure the provision of effective and accountable services. Beginning school
psychologists in their first year of employment as a school psychologist may [shall] receive a
minimum of one hour of face-to-face supervision contact per week. Supervisors may [shall] meet
Ed500 requirements for certification as a school psychologist and [ shall ] have at least 3 years of
professional experience as a school psychologist in a school system.