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NYC rolled out a trauma-informed curriculum. Educators worry they have little time to learn it before schools reopen.

08.26.2020 | Chalkbeat NY | The new curriculum and training will “build a solid foundation” for teachers to understand student trauma as they return to buildings, said Dawn Yuster, director of the School Justice Project at Advocates for Children New York, which has advocated for restorative justice practices at schools. 

But Yuster wants the department to ensure that school staff will know how to properly help students with the most profound mental health challenges and disabilities who experience emotional crises at school this year. These students may need a lot of additional support after months of remote learning, and she doesn’t want staff to respond by calling police.

The department has some experts at borough offices and schools, such as behavioral specialists and social workers, who are supposed to help teachers de-escalate mental health crises, she said. But borough offices alone saw $20 million in cuts this fiscal year, upon the request of City Council, and it remains unknown how those cuts fell. Yuster worries that some schools may not have access to such support workers. Given this year’s budget cuts, individual schools with smaller budgets may choose to let go of social workers or school counselors on staff.

“It’s really important that the city and the department of education have those professionals ready to be able to address crises when they occur,” she said. Read article