Are our US Schools Prepare for this Crisis?
According to the Pew Research Center unaccompanied students and children are rising for 2014 with untold consequences for our public schools. In 2011 the number was 5,236 in 2012 climbing to 10,759 moving to 24,481 in 2013 and lastly so far in 2014 – 60,000 plus with estimates topping 90,000 unaccompanied students by year’s end. The U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s Administration for Children and Families has not shared any numbers by Nationality but the largest groups of students are from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. How will schools handle these displaced students when school start next month?
- Texas with 4,280 unaccompanied minors
- New York with 3,347 unaccompanied minors
- Florida with 3,181 unaccompanied minors
- California with 3,150 unaccompanied minors
- Virginia with 2,234 unaccompanied minors
- Maryland with 2,205 unaccompanied minors
with numbers expecting to rise since this only accounts for 30,000 of the 60,000 which have already entered the US and another 30,000 expected by year’s end.
This Crisis has already overwhelmed a number of government agencies, how will it affect our public schools? A lack of shelter space to house these unaccompanied minors led to severe overcrowding at detention centers run by the Border Patrol. This severe overcrowding has brought about the need for this agency to begin a nationwide search for temporary housing in military bases and other facilities. Since some States have reported not knowing that these unaccompanied minors were placed in their State, it is unclear if
schools will be given a heads up prior to school starting on the number of unaccompanied minors that will be placed at their schools. Therefore, it is critical that school districts be prepared for the possible influx of foreign students.
What might be some of the concerns that districts may need to consider;
- Will Districts have staff on hand to handle language challenges? Having an inability to communicate with these students may cause other problems.
- It has been found that “transfer students” (with schools lack of information about the students, the student’s lack of a support system, these students expected difficulty to connect with other students, their cultural differences, and the culture of possible violence these student’s are escaping from) will cause major challenges for the District with which these students are placed.
- Will Districts have appropriate funding to manage this influx of undocumented minors?
- Are District personnel trained to handle the unique challenges that these unaccompanied minors pose, like;
- growing up in violent countries of origins,
- possibly being severely traumatized by traffickers or the cartel members,
- Severe Anxiety
- Severely withdrawn
- having severe emotional issues by what they saw and were forced to do on their journey to the US.
- Suppressed or Expressed anger or violence
- Suicidal or Homicidal ideations, gesturing, plans or attempts
- Self mutilating or other concerns
- possibly being gang involved (MS-13 is one of El Salvador’s largest and most violent gangs).
- Attempts to recruit or establish a local group
- Juvenile Justice involvement
- Severe Violence
- lacking a family support system and all that this brings. Due to missing family support systems, the necessity of dealing with overwhelmed Government Support Agencies who are already stretched to the breaking point.
- struggling to communicate effectively with these unaccompanied minors
- meeting their unique academic needs and determining appropriate grade level.
- lastly, unknown health concerns of these unaccompanied minors. Will Districts have to put health precautions in place to guard against common disease endemic’s from these Third World Counties.
When an undocumented minor is displaced to a new country, new location and new school, he or she has considerable adjustments. When a large group of undocumented minors from violent third world countries move or are placed by government agencies into new communities and new schools miles away from their home countries; there is considerable adjustment for those displaced students and those receiving the displaced students, ie. the communities and schools. Add to the fact that many of these displaced students may not have wanted to leave their families, community, schools and the added pain of leaving countries where they have lost parents, family members, friends and other support systems in.
Keep in mind that not only will the communities, schools and other systems be overloaded, so will the government support systems that normally would be readily available. Community officials, school offices and yes -Teachers can expect to be called on to handle issues that counselors handled before and counselors will be called on to handle issues that clinics previously handled and School District’s may be called on to handle issues Government Agencies have previously handled and yes, we have already seen how States have be called on to handle issues that the U.S. Government previously handled.
Therefore, we at Keys’ ask this question:
“Will School Districts be ready to manage this building Crisis? “
Learn how Keys’ can help!
Displaced due to Disaster
Dealing with Anger, Suicide, Depression, Anxiety Disorders and other disorders of Displaced individuals
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