Schools making progress but much work remains
The recent News article, “In Buffalo’s children, wounds no one sees,” touched me deeply on a personal level. Urban educators, school counselors, psychologists, nurses and administrators are on the front lines and face, on a daily basis, students who have undergone trauma and suffer in silence. As an educator, it’s important to take a nurturing, holistic approach when dealing with these very frail young children.
We have made progress regarding the importance of placing mental health clinics in some of our schools with the intentions of restoring the health and wellness of our students. Student support teams have been invaluable to our students and families. However, there’s more work to be done to help restore the culture of our youth in such violent neighborhoods.
Partnerships, such as resource officers establishing positive relationships with our youth, and hiring more full-time school counselors to address the needs of our high-risk students can make a huge impact on a student’s life. Unfortunately, financial constraints always enter the picture when implementing programs in our city.
We need an increase of resource officers visible in our schools so students can connect with them and feel safe. We need to change the culture and attitudes of our youth regarding the importance of respecting our police officers so our neighborhoods can become safe. We need to have full-time school counselors to manage over 980 students living in poverty. We need caregivers to be truthful regarding their child’s PTSD so that we, as a school team, can provide interventions that can improve school performance. We need caregivers to follow up with “wraparound services” in hopes of restoring family harmony.
I am a special education teacher at Waterfront Elementary. I’m proud to be an integral part of our school system, and have witnessed firsthand the benefits of having various services in place to assist our students toward academic success. Our schools have made positive strides to work with students who have been victimized; however, I believe it’s not enough.
Deborah A. Krystofik