Opinion
Student Well-Being Letter to the Editor

Schools Need More to Face Trauma

July 13, 2020 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

We are writing to offer additional considerations related to the opinion essay “Police Violence and COVID-19 Have Been Traumatizing. Here Are Tools That Can Help Schools” (June 16, 2020). While the essay offers an overview of research on trauma with a focus on how schools can identify and respond to children who have been affected, it is missing attention to necessary systems for effective implementation.

Author Heather C. Hill appropriately identifies that reactions to trauma will be individually determined and recommends that restarting school should include screening for exposure and symptoms. Although screening may be appropriate, effective screening procedures must involve more than adapting a particular instrument and having students complete it without having supports available to avoid retraumatization. The systems supporting appropriate data use and response are equally, if not more, important.

With tighter budgets and ever-expanding lists of decisions that need prioritizing, schools must think carefully before engaging in any new assessment practices. They need to ask critical questions, including what data are needed to inform response, what data are already available, and how to prepare staff for identification and response roles.

We also agree that trauma-informed response must attend to both staff and student needs. An emotionally safe environment is critical to successful recovery and will not happen if staff are not ready and able to support students. We recommend relying heavily on existing frameworks for tiered service delivery with emphasis on strengthening core services based on community context.

Core services must have relationships at their center but should extend beyond teacher-student relationships to adult-adult, adult-student, and student-student in coordinated partnerships across school, family, and community.

We strongly recommend that schools engage their existing multitiered frameworks for identification and response, focusing efforts on strengthening the role of every staff member in identification and response to trauma.

Sandra M. Chafouleas

Licensed Psychologist

Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor

Neag School of Education

University of Connecticut

Storrs, Conn.

Jeana Bracey

Associate Vice President of School and Community Initiatives

Child Health and Development Institute

Farmington, Conn.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the July 15, 2020 edition of Education Week as Schools Need More to Face Trauma

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Budget & Finance Webinar
The ABCs of ESSER: How to Make the Most of Relief Funds Before They Expire
Join a diverse group of K-12 experts to learn how to leverage federal funds before they expire and improve student learning environments.
Content provided by Johnson Controls
Science K-12 Essentials Forum How To Teach STEM Problem Solving Skills to All K-12 Students
Join experts for a look at how experts are integrating the teaching of problem solving and entrepreneurial thinking into STEM instruction.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Modernizing Principal Support: The Road to More Connected and Effective Leaders
When principals are better equipped to lead, support, and maintain high levels of teaching and learning, outcomes for students are improved.
Content provided by BetterLesson

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Well-Being Opinion Student Anxiety Is Rising. Here’s What Helps—and What Doesn’t
Parents' natural inclination is to step in and eliminate their children's stress.
Tracy Dennis-Tiwary
2 min read
Images shows a stylized artistic landscape with soothing colors.
Getty
Student Well-Being What the Research Says COVID Vaccination Rates for Kids Are Stalling. What It Means for Schools
What's a school to do when just 1 in 3 elementary students are on track to be fully vaccinated by the end of the school year?
5 min read
Image of young boy wearing a mask getting a bandage applied after a vaccine.
E+
Student Well-Being From Our Research Center How Much Time Should Schools Spend on Social-Emotional Learning?
District leaders and experts say what’s most important is integrating SEL skills into all academic subjects.
5 min read
Image of a teacher in a classroom working with students.
In a national survey of educators by the EdWeek Research Center last year, about 85 percent said one hour should be the maximum amount of time devoted to social-emotional learning per day.
xavierarnau/E+
Student Well-Being School Counselors Sound Cry for Help After Buffalo Shooting
For many schools, the May 14th shooting rampage in Buffalo prompted staff discussions on how they might respond differently.
6 min read
A Buffalo police officer talks to children at the scene of Saturday's shooting at a supermarket on Sunday, May 15, 2022, in Buffalo, N.Y. A white 18-year-old wearing military gear and livestreaming with a helmet camera opened fire with a rifle at the supermarket, killing and wounding people in what authorities described as “racially motivated violent extremism.”
A Buffalo police officer talks to children at the scene of Saturday's shooting at a supermarket on Sunday, May 15, 2022, in Buffalo, N.Y. A white 18-year-old wearing military gear and livestreaming with a helmet camera opened fire with a rifle at the supermarket, killing and wounding people in what authorities described as “racially motivated violent extremism.”
Joshua Bessex/AP