Despite the pervasive effect of traumatic experiences on student performance,only 11 states encourage or require school staff training on the effects of trauma. Half of states have policies on suicide prevention. And just one state, Vermont, requires a school nurse to be available daily at every school campus.
Those are among the key findings of a report released Thursday by the nonprofit Child Trends, which found that most states have failed to adopt a comprehensive set of policies to address student well being.
Nearly half of America’s students have traumatic experiences, including divorce, substance abuse, and domestic violence, according to the Child Trends report, leading an increasing number of states to enact laws that aim to better equip schools to educate youth who experience trauma. But Child Trend researchers argue a more comprehensive, “whole child” approach is key. Such an approach, which focuses on range of factors from student health to school safety, is necessary because disparate school policies affect student welfare.. Even as districts implement strategies to help students with adverse experiences, the report argues other school policies, such as frequent suspensions, could further traumatize youth.
To read the Child Trends report, see https://www.childtrends.org/publications/using-policy-to-create-healthy-schools