Another crisis,

another responsibility for schools

Schools play an integral but often unrecognised and unacknowledged role in helping communities respond to and recover from disasters

Opinion: Schools in Auckland and other flood-affected areas are about to re-open after a delayed start to the new school year. Students will return to school having experienced wide-ranging impacts. While some will only have seen the worst effects on their television screens, others will have lost everything – their homes, their possessions and their sense of safety and security.

Traumatic events, such as weather-related disasters, affect students differently. Some will slip back easily into school routines, excited to catch up with their friends. Some will be anxious and nervous, wondering if the next fall of rain will another big one. Others will be quiet and withdrawn, not ready to process what has happened. Some will be clingy and tearful, others hyper-alert and acting out. Some will appear fine but will start behaving out of character much later. These are only some of the responses I have recorded in more than a decade of research on the role of schools in disasters and crises.

We know most children will recover in time given opportunities to process what they have experienced and where they have learned strategies to calm themselves and to overcome setbacks. A proportion, however, will need specialist support beyond what schools can provide.

Link to article: Another Crisis, Another Responsibility For Schools | Newsroom


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