Schools should provide help for traumatized children

On the surface, the two stories are unrelated: the appalling upsurge in shootings and homicides in Chicago this year and the Chicago Teachers Union’s announcement of plans for a strike authorization vote. But look closer—there’s a connection. Union leaders want the district to negotiate on a host of issues, among them the lack of social workers and other mental health clinicians in schools. It’s a need that’s become more critical given this year’s upsurge in violence.

Tragedy’s aftermath

Students who witness shootings, lose a parent or experience other trauma often have trouble focusing in school and fall behind academically. CPS leaders want schools to provide therapy strategies that have been proven effective elsewhere. But a lack of resources has hindered the district’s plan.

A temporary fix

At Fenger High, extra funds have provided critical mental health and social-emotional support to students. But what happens when the money runs out?

A necessary luxury

In many neighborhoods, violence is common and helping students cope is essential. But often schools must look for outside funding to pay for full-time social workers.