Over the last 15 months I’ve collected around 4,000 stories on the decline of children’s health and behavior and what it’s doing to schools around the world. The February 14th shooting in Parkland, Florida is just one factor forcing educators to address mental/behavioral health problems. State legislatures are okaying millions of dollars to address mental health in schools, and districts are adding more experts to help with the social/emotional needs of students.
Educators are struggling and they’re scared of a student population unlike any they’ve had in the past.
Incredibly we’re not seeing any panic over what’s happening. In fact, our Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has assured us that THEY KNOW WHY childhood is dramatically different: bad parents are raising children in abusive homes. There is a massive effort to educate teachers about what Adverse Childhood Experiences are doing. Below is just a sample of what’s out there.
When children can’t learn, pay attention, or behave in school, teachers are told, “Instead of saying what's wrong with you, why can't you just sit still and pay attention? We say: what happened to you?”
Parents now have a lot to answer for.
Mar 18, 2018, Wakefield, RI, Narragansett Times: Town council, school committee negotiate budget
… Among those identified needs that would be included in a budget with a 2.93 percent PTT are the addition of a family community engagement (FCE) teacher, a SKHS career pathway/ internship teacher, a social emotional learning (SEL) teacher and a teacher assistant (TA) with a chauffeur license who could help transport families to IEP and 504 meetings.
School committee member Kate Macinanti pointed out that each of those positions would benefit students’ mental health.
“One of the big things that has been a hot topic since [the mass shooting in Florida last month] is the mental health wellbeing of our students,” Macinanti said.
“I think all four of these positions feed into helping to solve that problem,” she continued. “They’re all related to social emotional learning… and making sure that [students] are being connected with so that they have the support system that they need in place K through 12.”
Mar 18, 2018, Vermont Digger: Senate backs program that would prevent childhood trauma
The state Senate has approved a bill aimed at addressing the long-term health and social effects of severe childhood trauma.
The legislation, S.261, which now goes to the House, is designed to bolster the state’s support for children and families who have experienced “toxic stress.” Exposure to severe stress has been shown to alter brain chemistry and affect behavior. …
The bill also seeks to ensure that school administrators, school nurses and accountable care organizations are involved in efforts to prevent and combat the effects of adverse childhood experiences.
Mar 18, 2018, The CT Mirror: How Safe Are CT Students at School?
… This lack of progress in stemming aggressive behaviors is happening as student suspension and expulsion rates steadily decline – and as some mental health experts and teachers in Connecticut point out that services aimed at helping children overcome their behavioral issues are not always sufficient. …
“Classrooms have to be repeatedly cleared when a student becomes violent,” Ava Biffer, a library media specialist in East Haddam, testified before the Education Committee last week.
“The behavior is getting worse,” testified Jennifer Babb, an art teacher at an elementary school in Bridgeport.
“There are so many risks to other students and educators in the classroom, and if other parents actually knew what was happening, they would be shocked,” testified Laurie Degross, a special education teacher in East Hampton.
These teachers were among many – including some who had been assaulted by students – testifying about the dangers they face at school and in support of a bill that would require school leaders to develop plans to specifically address “daily classroom safety” problems, such as assault and harassment. State law, already requires safety plans to address bullying, security and responses to emergencies.
Mar 19, 2018, Attleboro (MA) Sun Chronicle: As enrollment declines, Norton selectmen consider school closure
… “These are really young children. We shouldn’t compromise their well-being” for nominal cost savings, school committee member Carolyn Gallagher said. “I’m very concerned with developmental needs of children and the growth of social and emotional issues and increased special needs. All that is clearly different than in 2002.” …
Mar 19, KMSP—TV, Eden Prairie, MN: Mother speaks out after son with autism detained for two days
A mother is speaking out after her son, who has autism, was locked up in juvenile detention facility for attacking his teachers. …
Last Wednesday, 10-year-old Trystan was taken into police custody. According to court documents provided by the family, it’s alleged Trystan had violent outbursts on consecutive days inside his Janesville school. Prosecutors wrote that Trystan had become angry and stabbed a school staffer in the hand with a pencil before punching, kicking, and head-butting a couple others as they attempted to restrain him. His behavior is described as “an ongoing problem.”
“He doesn't have what we all have when we get upset: the ability to calm ourselves,” said Frazee. …
Mar 19, 2018, (UK) Grimsby Telegraph: Pupils to make a splash in new school hot tub
… Staff members, parents and volunteers gathered at Cambridge Park Academy for a special ribbon cutting ceremony, as they officially opened their new hot-tub facility that will allow students to take part in hydro and sensory therapy. …
"We are using it to provide hydrotherapy, along with sensory therapy, and we have found that with some of our students that it has a brilliant calming effect them on as they get in the water for a dip. …
Mar 20, 2018, NBC, Charlotte, NC: Union County Schools raising its focus on students' mental health
… In response, Union County Schools are figuring out a plan to put "mental health therapists and additional social workers into all schools, so that kids have access to professionals to help them in times of crisis.”
Houlihan told NBC Charlotte, hiring more counselors and mental health therapists for all schools is his number-one focus for the 2018-2019 school year budget….
Mar 21, 2018, New Canaan (CT) Advertiser: Council signals no more reductions to school budget increase now
… The district-wide special education program is now more costly than the entire high school budget, according to Councilman Steve Karl.
Mar 21 2018, Hutchinson (MN) Leader: Resilience is key to dealing with adverse childhood experiences
… Hutchinson Public Schools is a proud member of PACT for Families Collaborative, a children’s mental health and family services collaborative, that serves to strengthen children, families, and communities.
One of their current initiatives, Partners for Resilience, is providing Adverse Childhood Experiences (known as ACEs) & Resilience training through the help of a Bush Foundation grant. I am honored to have been selected to represent our school district and McLeod County at this two-day training in early April.
According to Minnesota Communities Caring for Children, ACEs are being considered a public health disaster. …
Mar 21, 2018, Des Moines Register: Suicide prevention bill gets final OK from Iowa Senate Iowa school employees working with students would be required to have least one hour annually of training in suicide prevention under a bill that received final approval Wednesday from the Iowa Senate ….
This gives them more in their tool kit to address mental health issues in the classroom," Mathis said."
The legislation requires the State Board of Education to adopt rules requiring school districts to adopt protocols for suicide prevention and intervention after a suicide, and for the identification of adverse childhood experiences to mitigate "toxic stress response." The protocols must be based on nationally recognized best practices….
Mar 22, 2018, Washington, DC, Sojourners’: Mental Health Disorders Are Pervasive in the Juvenile Justice System—Here’s How One State Is Addressing It
Between 50 and 70 percent of the young prisoners in state juvenile justice systems have a mental disability, but an analysis of those systems found that only one state — Indiana — requires all teachers in such facilities to have special education certification. …
Mar 22, 2018, Fergus Falls (MN) Journal: Health professionals: School safety includes us
“We are facing a public health crisis,” Carol Quinn told the state House Education Finance Committee Wednesday, March 21, with tear-filled eyes.
The Minneapolis Public Schools social worker said more people like her, counselors, psychologists and other professionals can help students facing mental health problems find help before they take guns into schools. …
Mar 22, 2018, Grosse Pointe (MI) News: How adverse childhood experiences can affect one’s health
ACEs are stressful or traumatic events that include abuse, neglect and other household dysfunction such as witnessing domestic violence, family members with substance use disorders or parental separation/divorce. Significant research demonstrates a relationship between ACEs and health problems such as increased risk for cancers, heart disease, diabetes, substance use disorders and depression. …
Stress plays a major role. There are many types of stress responses and most are normal and essential parts of healthy development. Children who experience high ACEs experience systems where the body and brain are activated at excessive levels and/or for prolonged time periods. This type of “toxic stress” has been shown to produce damaging effects, especially to the immune system.
Mar 22, 2018, Deccan Chronicle: Childhood 'toxic stress' linked to parenting challenges in adult life: Study
Parents who endured “toxic stress” during childhood may be more likely to have kids with developmental delays and have a harder time coping with their children’s health issues, new research suggests.
Adverse childhood experiences, commonly called ACEs, can include witnessing parents fight or go through a divorce, having a parent with a mental illness or substance abuse problem, or suffering from sexual, physical or emotional abuse.
Previous research has linked these experiences to what’s known as toxic stress, or wear and tear on the body that leads to physical and mental health problems that often continue from one generation to the next.
Mar 22, 2018, (Canada) Hamilton (Ontario) Spectrum: Violence on rise in local schools
Teachers, educational assistants, administrators, academics, parents and students agree there’s a growing problem with school violence but they don’t agree on what to do about it …
If Ivan is prone to aggressive outbursts, it's not entirely his fault. He has autism, obsessive compulsive disorder and Tourette's syndrome.
And unions representing teachers and educational assistants in Ontario don't blame kids like him. But they say a lack of government funding for special-needs students is leaving them ill-equipped to deal with violence in classrooms. …
There are about 12,000 students receiving special-education services in the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, which accounts for about 26 per cent of total enrolment. …
Mar 22, 2018, Leesburg, VA, Loudoun Times—Mirror: 'Tip of the iceberg'—Loudoun parents of students with special needs unite, bond over troubling treatment of their kids by some LCPS staff
Concerned parents of special education students meet once a week to share stories including the use of seclusion and restraint against their students, a breakdown of communication with teachers and county staff and IEP processes that are so difficult they require advocates or lawyers. While parents stressed there are great teachers and administrators in LCPS, they are working to bring problems to light and hopefully find solutions. …
The use of seclusion and restraint against special education students has captured the county’s attention since a recent Times-Mirror report, but parents say that is only the tip of the iceberg. …
Four more parents have shared stories of LCPS using seclusion and restraint on their child without following county procedure that calls for alerting parents within 24 hours. …
Mar 22, 2018, CBS7, Roanoke, VA: Lynchburg leaders continue to push for community wide Trauma Informed Care
…According to Bridges out of Poverty, those experiences can then go on to affect kids in schools, their behaviors, and ability to do work. The trauma is referred to as “adverse childhood experiences” or ACE. …
At the last city council meeting, school and city leaders discussed behavior issues. They're even adding new bus aides to help ease the problem.
Trauma informed care teaches how someone can respond differently to behavioral issues.
“Instead of saying what's wrong with you, why can't you just sit still and pay attention? We say: what happened to you?” said Graham. …
Mar 22, 2018, NBC11, Grand Junction, CO: D51 considering school based health care
School based health care. A concept that is currently being explored by District 51.
"We are really in a feasibility study, to see if we really could do this. I'm really excited about it I hope we can move this forward," said Prevention Services Coordinator, Cathy Ebel.
The focus is keeping kids physically and mentally healthy so they can stay in school….
"We are focusing on that physical health element, as well as the mental health or the behavioral health element," Joseph said. …
Mar 22, 2018, Raleigh (NC) News &Observer: N.C.'s school safety panel makes a good start
Jim Deni, immediate past president of the N.C. School Psychology Association, told the committee that there are “significant mental health issues in schools,” but school funding is inadequate to provide enough school psychologists. He said 20 percent of student have mental health or substance abuse issues, but there is not enough staff to identify or respond to all students in such circumstances. …
Mar 22, 2018, Kearney, NE ABC—TV: Lawmakers pushing for more social workers in Nebraska schools
A bill introduced by Senator Lynne Walz is a way to allow more social workers in Nebraska schools at each of the 17 Educational Service Units in Nebraska….
Mar 23, 2018, (UK) Wigan Observer: Plans to close all Wigan special schools met with backlash
Education chiefs in Wigan have been criticised for launching a consultation with options that include closing all the borough’s special schools.
The controversial suggestion is contained in a survey asking parents for their views on ways council chiefs can increase the number of places available for children in the borough with special educational needs. …
Mar 23, 2018, Evanston (IL) Now: Goren: Harsh political climate spills over into schools
… Paula Zelinski, president of the Distrct 65 Educators' Council, says more kids are coming to school in crisis.
“Our teachers have faced a growing challenge to serve students who may not be responding to classroom-based interventions,” she says, “and the district’s response has not kept pace with the number of kids who desperately need resources and supports.” …
Mar 23, 2018, (Canada) Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Soo Today: Hospital to begin training its first ever psychiatrist in residence
… Admissions to SAH’s inpatient psychiatric unit increased by 19 per cent between 2011 and 2017, along with a 47 per cent increase in visits to SAH’s emergency department for psychiatric reasons in that same time period.
Admissions to the childrens psychiatric unit also increased by 110 per cent. …
Elbohy commended the Algoma District School Board (ADSB) for having a mental health lead working in schools and referring children and youth to SAH for mental health treatment. …
Mar 23, 2018, Iron Mountain (MI) Daily News: Proposal: Protect kids with more school police, counselors
…Sidestepping the debate over gun laws, Michigan’s law enforcement and education leaders on Thursday proposed a $120 million security plan that includes staffing schools with more police and counselors in light of last month’s shooting massacre at a Florida high school….
… It would pay for 500 more “resource officers” — armed local police and sheriff’s deputies embedded in school districts — and an unspecified number of school-based mental health professionals. About one-third of traditional districts now have such officers….
Under the school-security proposal, the state would allocate $50 million annually for school-based police, $50 million for counselors and $20 million to help update school buildings with “hardened” doors, windows and other security features. …
Mar 23, 2018, Storm Lake (IA) Pilot Tribune: Sensory room at school provides a common-sense solution
Students in Alta are enjoying a less conventional form of therapy implemented at Alta Elementary School. The “sensory room” gives children up to fourth grade the chance to get their energy out in a positive, mutually beneficial way, just a few minutes at a time. …
“Sensory needs come in so many different ways,” said Sheri Van Berkum, coordinator for the program. She works with about 10 regular students every day and a variety of students, as needed, from day to day. No day looks the same, keeping both her and the kids on their toes…
Mar 23, 2018, Stowe (VT) Today: Budget proposal restores support for 3,000 severely disabled people
… Special education costs are growing faster than any other cost in state spending, even faster than health care. We hope to repackage how we give funds to schools to serve children with special needs, and in so doing lighten the documentation load on special educators.
Mar 23, 2018, WJCT—Florida Public Media: Mental Health Providers Plan In-School Services
A few weeks ago, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed the state’s School Safety Bill into law. Part of the new law sets aside $69 million to provide mental health resources in schools. Now a special team is already marshaling those resources for the schools in Leon and seven surrounding counties.
Mar 23, 2018, WBTV—Charlotte, NC: UCPS Superintendent wants more social workers inside schools
Union County Public School (UCPS) Superintendent Dr. Andrew Houlihan wants more social workers and psychotherapists inside the county's more than 50 schools. …
Mar 23, 2018, NPR Illinois: Students Suffering from Non-School Adversity Can Receive Help
Schools in 15 southern Illinois counties can participate in a program to help students deal with stress outside the classroom.
The Consortium for Educational Change and the Partnership for Resilience received a 50-thousand dollar grant to support a program to limit the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACES.
The consortium's executive director Mary Jane Morris says many students in the area suffer from broken homes or other trauma.
"Whether it be physical or mental abuse. Anything that might be traumatizing to a student, even bullying. Anything that causes an impact on a student would be considered trauma."…
"A student who has been traumatized, it's really difficult for them to think and concentrate….
Mar 23, 2018, Orlando Sentinel: Let's make life better for kids: No more trauma
… Each day hundreds of children in our community experience what are known as ACEs, or adverse childhood experiences. These toxic stress events can be triggered by domestic violence, child abuse, sexual molestation, loss of a parent through death or divorce, opioid overdose or any severely traumatic event that affects early brain and neurological development. But the wounds go deeper….
Mar 23, 2018, Chillicothe (OH) Gazette: Teachers get insight for working with traumatized children
The session was led by a pair from Findlay City Schools who have trained their district's 800-member staff to recognize when a child's behavior may be the result of trauma or home-life circumstances, how to address it differently, and when to refer for additional services like counseling. …
Mar 24, 2018, Warwick Valley (NY) Dispatch: Warwick School District Gives Fourth Budget Presentation
Holmes provided an overview of the BOCES Budget for 2018-19, which is projected at $12,941.439. This shows a decrease of $10,638 from the previous budget. The significant increases come from a $244,876 increase in Special Education and related services …
Mar 24, 2018, Jeffersonville (IN) News and Tribune: Autism in education: Mom still pushing for General Assembly's attention
… According to the Indiana Department of Education, last year, the state identified 15,210 school-age students whose primary disability was autism spectrum disorder; this year, it is 15,721, an increase of 511 or 3.3 percent. "This has been the trend for the last several years," said Pamela Wright, director of the office of special education, Indiana Department of Education. …
Mar 24, 2018, Penn Live: Parents press West Perry school board for changes
Clouse said over his 11 years he has seen an increase in the number students with severe behavioral and emotional issues.
Mar 24, 2018, Willmar (MN) Tribune: Montevideo to build $4.5M special education school
Construction is expected to get underway late this year on a $4.5 million school in Montevideo to serve special education students in the region. …
The plans call for constructing an 18,000-square-foot facility on city-owned property about one block north of Minnesota Highway 7 on the city's east side. It will be designed to serve an expected enrollment of 30 to 40 students with special needs. The instruction will focus on students with autism, mental health and severe emotional and behavioral needs.
Southwest West Central Service Cooperative expects to staff the facility with up to 30 special education professionals. …
Mar 24, 2018, Waterbury (CT) Citizen’s News: Budget proposal keeps school spending flat
… Though spending is projected to be flat and contractual costs are rising, student enrollment in the district continues to trend downward. Enrollment dropped 13.4 percent over the last eight years to 2,177 students as of Oct. 1, 2017. The number of special education students, however, has gone up 11.7 percent over that same time.
Overall enrollment is projected to drop to 2,150 students in 2018-19….