What is Giving Compass?
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Giving Compass' Take:
• Writing for The Hechinger Report, child psychologist Dr. Esther Calzada discusses the woeful treatment of mentally ill students by our nation's schools, pointing out that kids with mental disorders are punished at double or more the rate of their peers.
• How can we be more understanding when it comes to mental illness among youth, while still keeping schools safe? It's a tricky question, but the current system is clearly broken. One sensible solution proposed is to invest more in mental health services within schools.
• School discipline in general is receiving a lot of attention these days, and racial equity needs more examination. You can read more about how minority teens are disproportionally punished here.
As a clinical child psychologist and associate professor of social work, I’m concerned by the national discourse around mental health, violence and schools, as pundits offer misguided and simplistic solutions to the very complex issue of student mental health:
Arm the teachers. Install metal detectors. Practice lockdown procedures.
We can all agree that safety in schools is paramount, but by focusing on the intersection of violence and mental health, we are missing the point.
Our society is failing to effectively address the tremendous need for mental health supports for our children, my son included.
When I was growing up, springtime at school was reinvigorating: a time of warmer weather, spring break and even renewed enthusiasm for classes. Now that I’m a mother, each new season, or day for that matter, brings worry: worry that my teenage son won’t make it out of bed and out the door in the morning; worry that if he does, he will be misunderstood in the classroom, the cafeteria or, worse, the band hall.
The band hall has long been his refuge, where he retreats to get lost in the comfort of music. But last semester, after a series of absences and missed assignments, he was temporarily suspended from playing in the high school band. His suspension was no surprise; it is the latest in a string of punishments by adults who do not understand his depression. And it is just one small example of how our society punishes and criminalizes, rather than prevents and treats, mental health problems.
Read more about mental health in school by Esther Calzada at The Hechinger Report