There is a lot that can be said about what kinds of emotional things kids come to school with each day. Like a backpack full of books, it weighs them down and threatens to hurt them if they carry it around too long. Merely recognizing that kids have life problems that impact them just like adults is not enough.
Schools are failing to help kids in crisis and watching them languish all day long. Why should the education system confront the state of emotional crisis of our youth today? Because when they are awake, kids are in school more than they are anywhere else at a given time.
We already know that trauma-affected students have difficulties keeping up academically and it makes all the sense in the world when you think about how a life-changing situation affects adults in their work life. In the grown-up world, adults take leaves of absence or sometimes quit their jobs when an emotional crisis hits, not so with a student.
Why has it taken this long for the education system to get its mind around the fact that failing to help kids in crisis is a large part of the reason why students are failing to hit academic benchmarks?
Failing To Help Kids In Crisis Resigns Them To Fail Academically
The almighty standardized test has had students and teachers alike quaking in their boots as they prepare for long test times and silent environments. The results of standardized testing weigh so heavily on everyone’s mind.
Is that one reason why schools are failing to help kids in crisis? Could it be that the very reason for lowered standardized test scores is the one thing they are ignoring when it comes to academic achievement?
Students faced with life challenges, up to and including emotional and physical trauma, are not going to focus when it comes to much of anything, never mind a standardized test. Perhaps when we are preparing our students to undergo standardized testing, we should be taking a good look at their emotional ability to do so. Testing environments are stressful. Adding stress onto a child who is already emotionally maxed out is not going to yield good results.
We need to look at standardized testing from another angle when we think of way schools are failing to help kids in crisis. If the reasons for low scores are not academic abilities then it is something else entirely.
Not Having The Right Resources Is Failing To Help Kids In Crisis
One shocking metric to consider is the guidelines for the student to school counselor ratio is one to 250 students. How could one person ever be able to cover the emotional needs of 250 students on a daily basis? Even worse is the metric for school psychologists; one in 700. When you consider that the majority of school psychologists are not actually psychologists at all, the metric seems irrelevant. A most recent survey of these metrics by the ACLU found that out of these metrics almost none of the states measured had the appropriate resources per student in place.
If we have metrics that make it impossible not to be failing to help kids in crisis and we are not even able to meet those, then how are we ever going to be able to give our students what they need for emotional interventions in order to succeed academically?
Do School Administrators Really Know What Their Students Are Facing?
You could look at all this and say, “Well, those school districts probably have other problems we don’t see here at in our school district.” We should never underestimate emotional trauma and its effects on our students, no matter what their socio-economic demographics are.
The wise school administrator will apprise him or herself of what school counselors and school psychologists are discussing with the students in their care right now.
There is much to be learned by school principals and school administrators on what is going on in the personal lives of their students to be able to know what resources to ask their school committees and departments of education for, in order to be of any real help.
More collaboration is needed for education to stop failing to help kids in crisis. It takes the involvement of everyone available to win the war on the emotional health of our students. The first step is seeking to understand, the second is arming yourself with enough understanding to be able to advocate for their needs.