Trauma of Inequality and Discrimination on Children

Violence against African Americans and uprisings are grief triggers.

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June 2020, Volume 43, Issue 10

The recent violence against African Americans and uprisings to demand police reform can be grief triggers that highlight the trauma of inequality and discrimination and the resulting impact on the mental health and wellbeing for students, families, teachers, and principals alike.

Community members look to school principals as a beacon of hope and inspiration when communities are being tested. Now is the time to recommit to advancing social-emotional learning and ensuring we provide the resources to fully support those students experiencing trauma. Use these tips from the Coalition to Support Grieving Students.

  1. Identify a safe space or location where the student can go.
  2. Provide the child with the name of an adult they can see when feeling upset or wishing to talk.
  3. Set up procedures that allow the student to obtain support, such as a signal or statement that doesn’t draw attention but does allow the student to leave the classroom. It’s difficult for children to ask for help and expose their vulnerabilities in front of peers when they are already feeling overwhelmed.
  4. Allow the child to call a parent or family member if they feel it would help.
  5. Give permission and encouragement for the child to speak with a school counselor, school nurse, school psychologist, or school social worker.
  6. Offer private time with a teacher to talk over feelings, questions, or other concerns.

For other tips on helping students overcome trauma, visit the Coalition to Support Grieving Students website.


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