Happy Friday, Rules readers. What a busy week full of news.
Before I share some links about school climate and student well-being, I’d like to recommend my post from earlier today about a report that documents Newtown school shooter Adam Lanza’s mental-health and educational history. The report, prepared by the Connecticut Office of the Child Advocate, recommends stronger collaboration and coordination between families, health providers, community organizations, and schools to ensure that serious issues don’t slip through the cracks.
“The dynamics presented in this report represent common concerns over siloed systems of education, physical health, and mental-health care for children,” the report says. “Findings in the report strongly implicate the need to assist parents with understanding and addressing the needs of children with complex developmental and mental-health disorders.”
Do you feel like your school has the resources and flexibility it needs to partner with other sectors to face these serious challenges and to meet other whole-child needs? If not, what would it take to get there?
Please share your thoughts.
Other links this week relate to sexual assault of students, bullying, disadvantaged youth, and the family dynamics of traumatic exposure.
The aftermath of alleged assaults...
The girls he allegedly raped have all voluntarily left the school they attended together, Norman High School. Their families say they were hounded out of Norman High by merciless taunting from their classmates about the rapes, and, in one case, a physical assault." —Jezebel explores allegations of rape and subsequent school climate issues at an Oklahoma high school.
On poverty and school attendance...
But I haven't always been able to make school my priority. When I was younger, I felt like a robot. All I did was go home and help baby-sit and clean. I never had that freedom before—to be able to hang out and skate with my friends. So in 9th grade, I started cutting every day." —On NPR, a teenager explains his experiences with poverty.
Passing trauma between generations...
Traditionally, psychiatrists have cited family dynamics to explain the vicarious traumatization of the second generation. Children may absorb parents' psychic burdens as much by osmosis as from stories. They infer unspeakable abuse and losses from parental anxiety or harshness of tone or clinginess—parents whose own families have been destroyed may be unwilling to let their children grow up and leave them." —The New Republic covers research about how parents' traumatic experiences affect their children.
Bullying and the brain...
The researchers found that students who reported high levels of peer harrassment at age 9 showed significant differences in brain structures at age 14." —Inside School Research covers discoveries about how bullying in childhood leads to changed brain structures later in life.
A strong and caring older role model can really make a difference for disadvantaged youth—even when those youth aren't human." —Also from Inside School Research, what research about monkeys can teach us about caring for disadvantaged youth.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.