This Technical Assistance Bulletin (TAB) from NCMHJJ and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court judges, with support from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, provides the steps necessary to implement a School Responder Model in order to keep kids with behavioral health needs in school and out of court.

Throughout the 1990s, the rise of zero-tolerance school discipline policies resulted in the widespread adoption of strict and mandatory responses for a large range of misbehavior in school. An unintended consequence of these policies and practices was that youth with behavioral health needs were put at an increased risk for exclusionary discipline and school-based arrests. Disabled students and those with behavioral health needs have been disproportionately impacted by this shift in policy and practice. Communities and states have recognized the need to address those with behavioral health needs, and have implemented a School Responder Model (SRM), which originally emerged from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change Mental Health/Juvenile Justice Action Network. SRMs are a multidisciplinary approach to responding to youth with behavioral health needs and have been shown to effectively divert those youth away from the juvenile justice system.