- Micere Keels, an associate professor in comparative human development, writes for Edutopia on the benefits of utilizing de-escalation strategies to support students with chronic trauma.
- Keels notes that for students who have experienced adversity, such as daily street violence or chronic housing instability, can display hyperactivity and hypoactivity. These circumstances can also impact cognitive processes like critical thinking or problem-solving skills.
- De-escalation strategies like those outlined in the Acting Out Cycle can help educators recognize agitated actions preceding outbursts from traumatized students while also having a plan in place in case they don't catch a student's triggers.
School mental health services have received considerable attention once again amid the movement that has sprung up in the wake of the Parkland, FL, school shooting. But there's much more to those services than preventing such tragedies, and administrators must be aware of the additional stigma that can come as a result of those conversations receiving the most attention in the wake of tragedy.
Whether dealing with mental health in an inner-city school, where many students may face trauma from daily exposure to street violence, housing insecurity and other adversities, or in a more affluent school where concerns may stem from other factors but for fewer students, it's important that counselors be available to discuss those issues with students in a welcoming environment. Counselors and other mental health professionals can keep educators aware of any triggers specific students might have and work with the students, parents and others to ensure the right help is provided while avoiding any stigma.
On that front, social-emotional learning is also a critical component. When students themselves expect empathy from one another, they might find themselves in a better place to productively work through those underlying issues with the help of adults.