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Students’ Lawsuit Against District Could Set Precedent for Mandated Trauma Support Services in Schools

Students’ Lawsuit Against District Could Set Precedent for Mandated Trauma Support Services in Schools

A group of eight students and teachers are in the middle of suing Compton Unified School District after they say it failed to provide proper resources for dealing with trauma and violence that is typical to the area.

According to In These Times, “[c]omplex trauma during childhood brain development can cause stress responses to become permanently impaired, so that even the smallest trigger can send a person into 'fight or flight' mode, severely limiting the ability to focus or engage in everyday activities.

One such everyday activity is school, where focusing and engaging are required.

As a result, children who are exposed to complex trauma are more likely to fall behind in school and be disciplined for behavioral issues.

“ Long term, individuals who experience complex trauma are more likely to suffer with depression, anxiety or substance abuse and can see their life expectancy reduced by as much as 20 years. Such complex trauma is highly correlated with race and socioeconomic status, meaning that poor children of color are at a disproportionate risk,” the article said.

In CUSD, a significant percentage of its student population is both poor and minority, but the students and teachers suing the district say it hasn’t done enough to address the trauma its students are dealing with, creating an unequal access to a good education.

"Annie Hudson-Price, an attorney for the plaintiffs, says the current system leads to students being punished rather than supported,” and the group hopes that the suit will set a precedent for trauma support services being a legal right in schools.

“'If this precedent is set, hopefully that will lead school districts around the country to start taking trauma more seriously and recognizing its impact...This goes beyond students getting their educa- tion; it impacts the long-term health of these communities,’” Hudson-Price says, according to the article.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

1/4/2016

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