Making Our Education System Less Violent
CHICAGO, IL — The recent mass shooting in Las Vegas has reignited a debate on the overall negative effects of gun violence on our mental health.
Noting that America’s youth—who are among the most gun-exposed in the world— are killing themselves and others at an alarming rate, President Barack Obama held a gun violence summit in White House on Tuesday to create new solutions to the epidemic.
While Obama emphasized the importance of addressing mental health issues as a means to counter gun violence, he admitted that more time has to be spent on the topic before addressing the prevalence of guns.
Even prior to the president’s declaration, however, the disturbing statistic has led to renewed efforts to raise awareness and education on mental illness in schools.
In fact, with the help of National Association of School Psychologists, there’s a new report released at the beginning of the month showing that in 2014, as many as a quarter of American public school teachers were exposed to at least one mental health disorder. The National Center for Education Statistics also reported on May 17th, 2016 that ten percent of public high school students had experienced a violent act in the last year, nearly double the number that were gun-toting teens.
However, as we’ve been hearing quite a bit, research suggests that the majority of teachers are not getting trained to deal with mental illness or abuse.
Mental health training is important and crucial to the well-being of any school. But how much of that conversation—and attention—should be devoted to children?
Without recent attention to teaching about the brain and other aspects of learning, we are at risk of forgetting this.
Enacting solutions through education and curriculum based on correct concepts like healthy behavior, healthy relationships, and relationship management, along with incorporating opportunities for real-life, experienced teachers will help create a more inclusive education environment.
Programs, such as TeachABLE, that “unlock the potential of autistic children through a comprehensive approach that helps them manage emotions, creative expression, concentration, and various fine and gross motor skills,” utilize this training method.
Former President Clinton has long called for programs like TeachABLE, to be more accepted and utilized by state and federal governments.
According to a 2015 study, more than 30 percent of American adults with an autism spectrum disorder say that teachers did not understand how to teach them.
The same study found that only 1 in 10 teachers reported having received training in how to assist children with autism, autistic disorder, or Asperger’s syndrome.
As someone who comes from a class who does not have a teacher with autism or Asperger’s, I did not have the training or ability to receive assistance from another student because there was no such teacher in my class.
How can we make certain that everyone who attends school has an opportunity to receive correct and adequate instruction and behavior intervention skills?
Taking a cue from TeachABLE, programs such as with Google’s Project Treble and volunteers should be encouraged to seek out trained teachers.