Thursday, September 15, 2016

School is Back in Session


 

We are now  half way through September, which means school is back into full swing. Parents are rushing to get their kids ready and out the door each morning, school buses are busy running their routes, and teachers are caught up in the stress of planning lessons and adjusting to a new class full of students. In the midst of all this stress we cannot forget to slow down and observe our surroundings and for teachers observe the very students that fill their classrooms each day. Teachers are often the first to notice a change in a student who could be experiencing domestic violence in their homes. These students could suddenly become withdrawn or depressed; or they could go the complete opposite and start acting out or become aggressive with other students. Along with changes in behavior, you often may see the child victim’s grades drop, incomplete assignments, extreme tiredness, and even physical signs of abuse on the child’s body. 

A teacher who is suspicious that a student of theirs could be living in a dangerous home, often don’t know how to approach the situation or even what to say. This is where domestic violence programs like Dove, can help. Dove provides prevention programs such as BABES (Beginning Awareness Basic Education Studies), a program for Kindergarten through 3rd grade students, in which the trained volunteers use puppets to talk about difficult topics such as positive self-esteem, making good choices, drugs and alcohol, domestic abuse, inappropriate touching, and safe adults they can talk to if they ever feel in danger.  There is also the Teen Dating Violence Prevention Program that is for Junior High and High School level students which teaches them what a healthy relationship versus an unhealthy relationship looks like. It gives the students resources and the knowledge they need if they ever find themselves in a dangerous situation or even one of their friends who could be in a violent relationship or home.

All of our trained volunteers and presenters are always excited to work with teachers and school counselors to help coordinate efforts and resources if they ever find one of their students in trouble. Our teachers are wonderful individuals who teach our children and look after them every day of the school year. Your dedication and passion know no bounds and you know your students better than most people and spend a lot of time with them. If you are ever suspicious please talk to your school counselors and don’t be afraid to make a report. You could be the first person to recognize abuse and help that child seek counseling and help or even save their life. Thank you teachers for all that you do!!

Megan Neaville

DeWitt County Dove Outreach Specialist

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