top of page
  • Writer's pictureJason A. Brasno

Good Girls, Bad Boys, and Sacred Cows

Updated: Oct 21, 2021

We must be careful about basing today's decisions upon yesterday's experiences, for all that we know is a result of what we have learned. And, for many of us, much of what we know is that which we were taught in school.

Whether or not those lessons were the ones that we needed and how those experiences translate into our current reality should provide perspective for, but not determine, our approach towards educating today's children.

The U.S. Department of Education recently released a 103 page resource, Supporting Child and Student Social, Emotional, Behavioral and Mental Health. It states:

In schools, we prioritize three critical and interrelated components of mental health: social (how we relate to others), emotional (how we feel), and behavioral (how we act)

While this may be a far cry from our school days of compliance ("The teacher is always right"), exclusionary discipline ("Punishment as the teacher"), and stigmatizing labels ("He is so aggressive"/"It's just not fair to the other kids"/"She is so dramatic"), we should recognize and accept that what may have worked -and in many cases not worked- cannot blind us to the needs of today's children. According to the same document:

The mental health crisis for children and youth in the United States has reached a critical point. The pandemic has exacerbated already alarming trends in mental health, and, without increasing the number of high-quality, evidence-based mental health services, the increased need for services for children and youth will not be met

We need to move from the modes of thinking that we were taught in order to effectively advocate for our children. Challenges with their mental health, as with all of the physical health issues we handle as parents and guardians, are a natural and acceptable part of their development. What isn't natural is the tendency to bury these learning opportunities because we are scared that they reflect upon us as parents, as educators, and even more so because we are afraid they will forever saddle our children with a scarlet letter for the rest of their lives.

Counterintuitively, we must reduce these social, emotional, and behavioral learning needs into measurable, and non-value based, present levels of performance. We need to develop evidenced-based plans for increasing the positive response to interventions implemented through Multi-Tiered Systems of Support that are necessary for schools to have in place for supporting the whole child. These needs are no different than many of the others that arise during childhood. Their hidden and internalized nature should not frighten us from addressing their importance.

135 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page