Congressional briefing: bringing the power of social work to schools
Wednesday, September 23, 2020 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time Online
In response to numerous act of police aggression, too often resulting in the deaths of unarmed Black citizens, there has been a call for social workers to be more engaged in the responsibility for public safety. Most recently, several cities and localities have elected to remove police from public schools and replace them with social workers and other service providers. This briefing will discuss these issues in light of H.R. 7848—Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act—a bill recently introduced by Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar in the House of Representatives. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Chris Murphy introduced a companion bill—S.4360—in the Senate. The focus will be on the benefits social workers can bring to schools.
Dr. Charles E. Lewis, Jr., a political social worker, is the founder and director of the Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy (CRISP), a nonprofit organization that works to engage social workers with the U.S. Congress. He is an adjunct professor at Columbia University School of Social Work and a member of the 12 Grand Challenges for Social Work Leadership Board. Dr. Lewis was Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director for former Congressman Ed Towns and a member of the faculty of Howard University School of Social Work. He earned his MSW degree in clinical counseling from Clark Atlanta University and PhD in policy, planning and policy analysis from Columbia University.
Pia V. Escudero serves as executive director of the Student Health and Human Services (SHHS) division in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest school district in the United States. She is responsible for implementing policies and direct services that promote the health and well-being of students, families and staff. She oversees more than 2,000 administrators, service providers, and support staff in several departments. Escudero is a nationally-recognized leader in the field of school mental health, wellness and trauma. Her expertise includes the development, implementation, and evaluation of high-quality interventions that promote resiliency, healing, and lifelong health. Under her leadership, SHHS has been instrumental in supporting comprehensive services to students and their families, promoting engagement in a virtual world, addressing mental health and health-related barriers to learning during the COVID 19 pandemic and community activism, providing support to district staff to increase student, family and community engagement, and strengthening partnerships with community organizations.
Dr. Ron Avi Astor is the Marjorie Crump Professor of Social Welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs with a joint appointment in the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. His work focuses on the physical, social-organizational and cultural contexts of schools in relation to bullying and school violence. More than 200 scholarly manuscripts have been published from the finding of his studies during the past 20 years. His most recent book is Bullying, School Violence and Climate in Evolving Contexts: Culture, Organization and Time. He recently co-authored a national study and policy brief on the basic needs of students in schools during the Covid-19 pandemic that was featured by CNN. Astor’s work has won numerous international research awards. Astor is a fellow of APA, AERA, and SSWR, and an elected member of both the National Academy of Education and American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare.
Mo Canady is the executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, a nonprofit organization founded in 1991 for school-based law enforcement officers, school administrators and school security and/or safety professionals who work as partners to protect schools and their students, faculty and staff members. Mo Canady holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Jacksonville State University and is a former Lieutenant with the City of Hoover Police Department in Hoover, Alabama. He retired from the Hoover Police Department in 2011 after a 25-year career. The last twelve years of his career were spent as the supervisor of the School Services Division. He was appointed as an instructor for the National Association of School Resource Officers in 2001 and a NASRO board member in 2005. He is a past President of the Alabama Association of School Resource Officers. Canady co-authored the national report; “To Protect and Educate – The School Resource Officer and the Prevention of Violence in Schools” and recently testified on the matter of school safety before the United States House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
Sandra D. Shephard is a member of the Board of Education for Prince George’s County, Maryland with 14 years of dedicated work with the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC), providing services to Washington, D.C., Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County youth and families. Shephard served a year as teacher’s assistant for the AmeriCorps program, and, because of her outstanding commitment to the organization’s mission with youth and families, she was promoted to the Prince George’s County Managing Director in 2017. As Managing Director, Mrs. Shephard oversees a budget of $2.5 million and programs that provide the workforce opportunities, emergency housing, AmeriCorps Program and educational programs that offer after-school and summer programming serving over 1,100 youth annually. Sandra is a proud mother of a recent Prince George’s County High School graduate from High Point High School. She is a Prince George’s Community College alum and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland in May 2020.