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Tennessee: Effort to train teachers about how trauma at home leads to bad behavior at school

Nov 19, 2018, Nashville Tennessean: How a Franklin school is working to meet the needs of children experiencing trauma https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/local/williamson/franklin/2018/11/19/franklin-tn-school-liberty-elementary-adverse-childhood-experiences-aces/1989281002/ Five years ago, Liberty Elementary officials realized their approach to disciplining students wasn't working. They adopted a new approach called positive behavior intervention supports, and focused more on praising students when they made good choices. … Over time, school officials saw a drop in the number of student discipline referrals. Half a decade later, Liberty Elementary is now the first school in Williamson County to participate in a statewide training on meeting the needs of children who have experienced significant trauma. Part of the Franklin Special School District, Liberty Elementary is one of 70 schools selected by the Tennessee Department of Education to participate in its Trauma-Informed School Initiative earlier this month in Lebanon. Robey and Assistant Principal Janetta Davenport attended the training and plan to train all of the school's staff next semester. They hope to see the training adopted districtwide in the future. … But this isn't the first stride Liberty Elementary has taken to better understand the nexus between student behavioral issues and adverse childhood experiences, also known as ACEs. Those include abuse and neglect, divorce, enduring the death of a loved one and substance abuse in the household. … Understanding how adverse childhood experiences affect brain development is a crucial component of trauma-informed schools, Davenport said. "It's not a behavior problem; it's a brain problem," she said. "There are actual developmental differences in the brains of children who have experienced chronic stress and trauma over time." ACEs affect kids in different ways, but they almost always manifest themselves through a loss of control or an inability to self-regulate, Davenport said. Some children shut down when faced with a task under pressure, while others may physically lash out. Sometimes it's a student who takes a dozen bathroom breaks to avoid being called on in class. …