By Krista M. Torralva

Principal George Donovan finds it necessary to greet students as they come off of the bus. His reasoning for this? School can be so stressful sometimes that students sacrifice their emotional and social well beings in exchange for higher test scores. At his school, this was not okay.

The Massachusetts Advocates for Children’s Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative published a book entitled “Helping Traumatized Children Learn.” At only 117 pages, it was a relatively painless read; however, its true impact came in the form of therapy to students of teachers who were required to read the book as part of training.

A 1998 ACE study determined that there is a “link between childhood trauma and chronic disease, depression, mental illness, violence and becoming a victim of violence in adulthood.” While this is troubling, the book did wonders. “From 2011-2014, the three trauma-sensitive schools experienced an 80-percent decrease in suspendable issues and 43 percent fewer office referrals.”

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