Letters to the Editor (February 2013)

More social workers needed in schools

I, like most of you, have been deeply affected by the recent events in Newtown, Conn., and other acts of violence visited upon our communities. I have been pondering the role of social workers as we move forward, and would like to offer some thoughts.

I believe we need to enhance our efforts to increase the number of school social workers across the United States. I know that limited finances are often cited to explain and justify the lack of social work positions in schools, but now is the time to convince school leaders that prevention is worth the investment.

While I am not suggesting that we can prevent all acts of violence by having more school social workers, I do think we can be key participants in the collaborative effort to address the emotional and behavioral needs of our youth. Early identification and intervention can potentially reduce the risk for later violence and other difficulties.

Jerry Jo M. Gilham, PhD, LISW-S
Steubenville, Ohio