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Training Teachers to Identify Student Trauma Will Be Main Legislative Priority, Teachers Union President Says

Training Teachers to Identify Student Trauma Will Be Main Legislative Priority, Teachers Union President Says

The president of the largest teachers' union in Indiana has identified the group’s legislative priorities for this year, listing training teachers to identify student trauma as being the number one priority. 

Indiana State Teachers Association President Teresa Meredith says the main priority of the group will be pushing for the state legislature to "create a grant program managed by the Department of Education to train teachers,"says WFYI.

The program is based off a successful program already launched in Massachusetts called the Safe and Supportive Learning Environments grants program.

Overall, Massachusetts grants program is designed to help districts within the state "ensure that each school creates a safe, positive, healthy and inclusive whole-school learning environment and makes effective use of a system for integrating services and aligning initiatives that promote students' behavioral health, including social and emotional learning, bullying prevention, trauma sensitivity, dropout prevention, truancy reduction, children's mental health, foster care and homeless youth education, inclusion of students with disabilities, positive behavioral approaches that reduce suspensions and expulsions, and other similar initiatives."

It is perhaps no coincidence that Massachusetts has both a commitment to helping students improve their mental health and behaviors by identifying and working through trauma and consistently ranks as a state with the best educational system in the country.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network says that for students experiencing trauma, they are more likely to demonstrate "high levels of emotional upset, potential for disruptive behavior, or loss of student attendance unless efforts are made to reach out to students and staff with additional information and services."

A lack of effort to intervene, NCTSN says, can result in "lower grade point averages, more negative remarks in their cumulative records, and more reported absences from school than other students."

According to Meredith, identifying students who suffer from trauma and consequentially helping them overcome these adverse circumstances is the missing puzzle piece to guaranteeing that students achieve success.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

1/5/2017

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