Photo credits: NOLA College Prep/Twitter
An elementary charter school in New Orleans, Louisiana has a different approach when it comes to providing discipline for students who have dealt with traumatizing situations throughout their short lives.
Generally, charter schools all across the country are known as hardline education institutions that are tough on students who exhibit poor behavior. However, Crocker College Preparatory School, a primary charter school in New Orleans takes the adverse personal life experiences of children into consideration before taking corrective measures.
Crocker has two social workers who are present and on duty in the school every day. This is a necessary human resource for the school to have due to many of the out-of-school problems that Crocker’s students are dealing with. In 2013, the Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies released a study, which proved that nearly 40 percent of the children in New Orleans are living in dire poverty.
Violence also still plagues many of the neighborhoods in post-Katrina New Orleans. These type of issues are definite causes of trauma for school-aged children.
“Lack of social and economic resources, exposure to violence, poverty, and living in unstable neighborhoods can cause anxiety and toxic stress for any population, but the brunt of negative effects is borne by children.,” the study’s authors wrote.
This is why Crocker College Prep uses counseling, not harsh disciplinary procedures to deal with its troubled children who may be dealing with issues that are not school-related.
“The types of traumas we see run the gambit,” said Rochelle Gauthier in her interview with the Atlanta Black Star. Gauthier is one of Crocker College Prep’s two on-site social workers.
“We have students whose parents are incarcerated, students in foster care due to physical and sexual abuse and neglect, homelessness, exposure to domestic and community violence – anything you can think of,” she continued.
Crocker College Prep in New Orleans has a model for correcting student behavior that should be copied in urban schools across America. How the most innocent ones among us behave in school is strictly dependent upon the negative or positive triggers of their out-of-school environment.