Upper Valley, VT: More "emotional disturbances and behavioral issues"; district blames parents

Nov 27, 2017, White River Junction (VT) Valley News: Vermont Education Secretary Urges Shrinking Schools to Cut Staffing But several Upper Valley administrators expressed discomfort with the idea of reducing the kinds of support available to students with special needs. “The state is suffering an epidemic in terms of student trauma,” Millington said, adding that this epidemic has been “manifesting itself in an explosion of students with significant emotional disabilities, who need high levels of service to be able to exist within our schools and access the curriculum.”

He feels that the increasing number of support staff across the state is largely in response to the rising number of children who receive support for emotional disturbances and behavioral issues, which are often tied to traumatic experiences. Instead of the state pressuring schools into downsizing their special education staff in the interest of financial efficiency, Millington would prefer to see the causes of student trauma “addressed through programs at the state level that seek to prevent the trauma from happening in the first place,” so that over time, these top-down initiatives would reduce schools’ special education costs, he said.