As social workers in the field of education work to help students return to the classroom during this persistent and deadly pandemic, they are finding students more traumatized and fearful than they realized. The on-again/off-again guidance coming from the adults in the room as to whether masks are required, or vaccinations are indispensable, or social distancing could do it, or if you want to protect yourself and your family just stay home, has raised the anxiety level in students and greatly diminished their trust in their elders.
On a recent call with a professor in the social work department at a large Eastern university, we asked him what he saw as the human race's most vexing social problem. His answer was fascinating and quite unexpected. Below find excerpts from that conversation.
Drug and alcohol use remains a severe problem among school age children, with the National Institute on Drug Abuse showing that 5.4% of 8th graders, 9.8% of 10th graders, and 14.3% of 12th graders use illicit substances, and nearly 1.3 million teens have a substance use disorder. Unfortunately, recovery treatment is often unsuccessful when teens return to their schools and are surrounded by the same peers and the same opportunities to use. Data shows that nearly 70% of students who attend recovery and return to their school will relapse in 6 months or less.
Since 1977 when Annie opened on Broadway, theatrical artists have been portraying endangered youth who have experienced both maltreatment and engaged in delinquent behavior like Oliver Twist and Little Orphan Annie.
Oliver! and Annie, two of Broadway’s most iconic musicals, star two children caught between Juvenile Justice and Child Protective Services.
Whether we're threatened by the second or the third spike of this persistent and deadly COVID-19 pandemic, parents are again faced with school closings and re-openings that have them confused and in doubt. Is their child better off at home being schooled on-line or attending their local brick and mortar school with their classmates and teachers?