The Missouri Association of School Psychologists

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MASP Position Statement on Equity and Social Justice


The Missouri Association of School Psychologists (MASP) represents the school psychologists, psychological examiners, and related professionals that serve children and families in the state of Missouri. As school psychologists, we acknowledge the longstanding systematic racism, oppression, discrimination, and violence faced by people of color and marginalized populations in the United States and across the world. We recognize that we have an ethical responsibility to engage in socially just, equitable, and antiracist practice to empower families and communities. Social Justice refers to the fair treatment of all people in a society, including respect for the rights of historically marginalized and minoritized children and families and equitable distribution of resources among members of a community. 

MASP recognizes all aspects of human diversity and social justice as strengths that are valued and respected throughout the school psychology community. Human diversity is broadly defined as it relates to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identification, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, linguistic differences, ability, and intersection of any of the above. We must advocate for culturally responsive and supportive treatment for historically marginalized people with visible and invisible differences (NASP, 2010). 

As we work toward a more equitable society, MASP recognizes that social justice is both an ongoing process and a goal that requires action. As school psychologists, we recognize that we have a responsibility to advocate against societal injustices whenever and wherever they arise. Individually and collectively, we must be the voices that call out overt and covert racism as well as other biases, prejudices and discriminatory practices toward minoritized populations. 

In order to confront explicit biases and discrimination in our schools and communities, we must first engage in self-reflection and in examination of our own internalized racism and implicit biases. We must be aware of and honest about our personal perspectives, cultural values, norms and expectations and how these may influence our professional practice. To do this, it is essential that we model compassion and acceptance through our words and behavior, and that we foster resilience by teaching desired behaviors and helping children manage strong emotions in response to stressful events (OSPA, 2020). 

As school psychologists, we are also responsible for building supportive and culturally responsive systems in schools. By examining the existing systems which perpetuate inequality and racism, we can begin to move toward antiracist and equitable practices. We are responsible for engaging in and advocating for systems-level school climate-focused interventions and professional development designed to explore equity and social justice. We must also recognize that colleagues of color have been put in the unfair position of having to shoulder and take on the undue burden of work related to racism, inequities, bias, and bigotry, and this can no longer continue in equitable schools and places of practice. 

Therefore, (MASP) stands in solidarity with the Unified Call to Action issued from APA Division 16, Trainers of School Psychologists, Council of Directors of School Psychology Programs, Society for the Study of School Psychology, the American Board of School Psychology, and the National Association of School Psychologists.  As school psychologists, we are responsible for supporting all children and families in an equitable and culturally responsive manner. Racism, discrimination, and inequities have no place in our schools. 


Some actions that you can take as a member of the MASP educational community are as follows:

  • Engage in self-reflection of your own biases and how they may impact your practice in school psychology, and encourage this same reflection among colleagues 

  • Learn about the diversity within your school community and use this knowledge when providing services to students and families

  • Partner with members of your school community to better understand and advocate for the needs of your local population 

  • Highlight injustices in current systems level practices and promote equitable changes

  • Examine disaggregated data regarding discipline practices, special education evaluation and placement, and student outcomes in order to evaluate effectiveness of school policies and services for all students 

  • Provide professional development and consultation to advance culturally responsive  practice  

  • Participate in MASP’s social justice advocacy initiatives, including staying current on legislation issues important to school psychology practice and social justice and by  contacting state representatives


MASP’s Commitment to Socially Just Practices:

  • MASP will not remain silent when faced with injustice

  • MASP will support legislation and legislators who advocate for equity and social justice

  • MASP will provide space for ongoing dialogue on equity, diversity, and inclusion and include these topics in state and local leadership training and board meetings

  • MASP will be inclusive of historically underrepresented and minoritized presenters in conferences and when educating the Missouri school psychology community

  • MASP will improve outreach to the Missouri school psychology community via social media by sharing examples of EDI work in practice and social justice initiatives at the school or district level

  • MASP will increase awareness of school psychology via in-person and remote presentations at the K-12 and college levels through the use of the NASP Exposure Project materials. 

  • MASP will develop a practical and accessible resource library on the MASP website.


Resources 

References


Note: If you would like to get more involved in MASP Social Justice and Equity work, please reach out to Equity Chair Erin McClure at emcclure@umsl.edu



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