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Spartanburg, NC: CDC study connects "out-sized emotional response" of students to trauma at home

May 21, 2018, Spartanburg (SC) Herald Journal: Schools become frontline in fight against childhood trauma http://www.goupstate.com/news/20180521/schools-become-frontline-in-fight-against-childhood-trauma ...Studies show a child who has gone through ACEs is more likely to develop diseases and adopt risky behaviors, ultimately shortening his or her life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those same experiences can also derail a child’s education and put that child at a steep disadvantage compared to peers. That’s why a group of local educators, focused on the problems that affect schools with high rates of poverty, are working to better understand the effects heavy stress puts on children — especially those in poverty — and figure out how to help students deal with the strain. … “It’s important to really understand what’s going on, because stress is such an overarching concern,” said John Stockwell, executive director of the Spartanburg Academic Movement..” … The CDC has conducted research into the science of adverse childhood experiences and defines a wide range of traumas as falling into the category, everything from emotional, physical and sexual abuse to childhood neglect, parental separation and living in the same house as someone with a mental illness. A CDC survey done from 1995-1997 showed that traumatic experiences are relatively common. More than a quarter of respondents reported physical abuse in their past, for instance. It also found that someone who suffered from one traumatic experience is likely to experience another. Forty percent of 17,000 survey respondents reported two traumatic experiences. More than 12 percent reported at least four ACE episodes. Over time, stress takes a toll on performance and on a child’s ability to learn, Stockwell said, or sometimes school attendance begins to suffer. Other children take on unhealthy coping mechanisms due to debilitating stress, Parker said. Catching the scent of an adult’s cologne that reminds a child of a stressful situation could cause a student to withdraw from interaction, or have an out-sized emotional response. “Then you end up in a situation where a principal is nose-to-nose with a kid whose emotional level is just at a 10, and you don’t know exactly how you got there,” Parker said. Parker said embracing “Compassionate Schools” principles — a framework designed to integrate academic achievement, with physical, emotional and mental fitness — could make major inroads toward helping traumatized children in all schools. Under that model, a child’s behavior becomes a tool for educators to evaluate, not just a reason for discipline. “There should be consequences for behavior,” Parker said. “But an educator should take that as an opportunity to find out what’s really going on and help that child to find opportunities to build more resilience.” For a child acting out because of problems at home, it is counterproductive to suspend them for 10 days, Parker said....