Bowling Green Independent Schools implement mental health training for administration

Published: Jun. 4, 2018 at 6:02 PM CDT
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Bowling Green Independent Schools are training to tackle overall mental health concerns inside their schools to improve the learning environment.

From preschool to high school, several students endure tragedy at some point.

"25 percent of students in our school have had some level of trauma exposure," Miriam Silman, representative from the Center on Trauma and Children at the University of Kentucky, said.

Silman trained Bowling Green Independent school teachers on recognizing that certain behavior may be occurring because of a trauma-based encounter.

"Kids behavior is there for a reason, and sometimes the things that don't make sense to us on the outside, if you can peel away at what's going on in terms of a child's feelings or thoughts, that may have been impacted by their experiences," Silman said.

Several administrators learned new techniques to deal with trauma exposed students, ones that don't necessarily involve punishment.

"As a special educator, having a safe spot in a classroom to where students can go when they're feeling anxious or feeling stressed out, they can go and calm down," said Patty McDougal, director of special programs for BowlingGreen Independent Schools.

Other techniques involve making connections and building trust with students that allow administrators to get more information about their traumatic ecperiences outside of school walls.

"If we can help them manage their stress and manage the effects of trauma on their bodies and their brains functioning, then they can thrive and grow in school and become the students and the citizens that we want them to be," added Silman.

Administators will begin implementing these practices in schools who have participated in the training, their goal is to help boost overall mental health in all students.

School administration said that several other schools in the district have signed up for the training as well.