Schools as Potential Conduits of Trauma
The endemic issue of drugs in the school system is warranting the need to take measures,and that has led to the proposed new Board of Education policy across several school systems to allow police with dogs to be invited into schools to search for illicit drugs. A vote that may allow this to become a policy has serious consequences. The Boards position is that this will have a meritorious effect resulting in greater health. However, this seems to be a little bit too simplistic of an understanding of a wider issue.
The promise of police involvement leading possibly to an enduring police record or even incarceration and the effect on the young life is yet to be known. Why should this be allowed to happen? The brain is not developed until age 25, and poor executive functioning today can have enduring effects on young lives.
This approach opens up high schoolers or middle schoolers to arrest records or any type of ncarceration at this tender age and would have deep repercussions on the psyche of the child and possibly their public record for life.
There will always be parents who are less proactive, and in order to protect those unprotected children the system can not be allowed to incarcerate them with records that will leave an indelible mark.
Trauma once lodged is internalized, and if there is not awareness, motivation and ongoing therapy to overcome it, the trauma never truly leaves the mind and the body where it becomes a source of life-long triggers and possible dysfunction.
This policy development has to be open to review by parents and not just the Board of Education in these towns , which may have a well-intended agenda. Each parent, present and alumni, needs to get an email of the policy to preview, and an outside agency needs to be hired by a parent-led committee chosen by both parents with children in the school and alumni who bring experience.
Make this request for recruitment through local news media. Ten people should comprise this committee. The outside agency needs to be Town funded, so that there is greater chance of objectivity and less chance of influence by the Board of Education and its agenda. In addition, a couple of child psychologists and psychiatrists and lawyers, chosen by parents, not by the Board of Education, must be on the committee. In short tiers of interventions are needed.
The amount of resistance to this idea of allowing outside sources to form policy will give an indicator of how vested each Board might be in its own agenda. The focus of the policy ought to be a tier system of therapeutic interventions, both within school and to be done privately, and if none works then have the child suspended from the school for punctuated periods of time and not be incarcerated.
What also remains unclear is how the installed cameras in schools can not obviate the necessity of this intervention? What would be the purpose of those cameras if not to enhance safety without jeopardy?
Life teaches us that we are still Darwinian in nature. Children with any vulnerability are likely to be at greater risk. No system ever protects the vulnerable. This includes the not-so-popular kid, the overweight kid who is picked on, the dark skin kid, the poorer kid,
the special needs kid, and so on. Therefore it follows that these children, if taking any substance or selling a substance or if being used by another person for such purposes will beat a greater loss to defend themselves. Add to this the trauma of a police record. A humanistic society would never do this to a young mind.
Then comes the possibility of court cases. Defending means proving, and this can be an expensive uncalled-for legal battle that families may not be able to afford. Even typical children can be manipulated or someone can plant drugs in their backpacks or lockers for revenge and a host of other reasons. We may not trust any system to allow this.
Developing a police-search policy is a process that will take time and must be a last resort. What is being asked here is to come up with measures that entail no lasting trauma. The process must involve care, understanding, forethought, plurality, objectivity,and compassion — the essentials of humanistic policy in this First World Superpower.
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