This post is a link-fest that provides critical research on why children act-out, are checked-out, or even drop-out of school. Keep in mind, that information about ACEs is not limited to children’s behavior and physiology, but also why parents, teachers, and other educators can be more prone to stress related illness, depression, alcoholism — and yes — even violence, sexual abuse, emotional cruelty, etc. Children do grow up after all. We have to be SELF AWARE before we can help the children in care. Enjoy your journey around the web.
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ACEs are adverse childhood experiences that harm children’s developing brains so profoundly that the effects show up decades later; they cause much of chronic disease, most mental illness, and are at the root of most violence.
“ACEs” comes from the CDC-Kaiser Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, a groundbreaking public health study that discovered that childhood trauma leads to the adult onset of chronic diseases, depression and other mental illness, violence and being a victim of violence….Hundreds of additional research papers based on the ACE Study have also been published. (from the Website: ACES Too High)
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“Children exposed to trauma express a wide range of issues resulting from behavioral and emotional dysregulation,” said Hitzel. Examples include aggression and self-destructive or impulsive behaviors.
In addition, trauma affects children’s attention, processing of information, memory and learning. Neurobiological changes in the brains of children exposed to trauma leave them in a constant state of stress in which they are highly susceptible to “triggers” in their environment.
“One thing that schools can and should be doing is training staff on the impacts of trauma in childhood, how to recognize when students are being triggered and how to react in a way that reduces re-traumatization,” said Shelley Hitzel, senior case coordinator, Child Advocacy Center of Niagara
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A teen starts a fistfight with a fellow student. Another brings alcohol to school. Another urinates on a fellow student’s locker, and a fight ensues.
Three years ago at Le Grand High School, in Le Grand, CA, these students would have been immediately expelled or suspended. This year, they weren’t. They didn’t miss any classes. They made amends. They learned from their mistakes.
In 2010-2011, Principal Javier Martinez suspended 49 students and expelled six. Last year, he suspended 15 and expelled only one.
This school year, with the help of the Restorative Justice League, he’s going for double zeros.