Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Kids are back in school. For many, it's a happy time, one they've looked forward to.
That's not the case with many children, however, especially if they live in any kind of shelter, including foster homes and institutions.

Kids who do not live at home with their parent(s) are especially vulnerable at school because:

*Their mother may not be able to attend the Parent/Teacher conference because she has no transportation, her work hours don't fit the conference schedule, or shelter curfew is too early.
*The adult in contact with the teacher about the child may be a social worker.
*These kids may not dress well at first, especially if they moved to a shelter or foster home shortly before returning to school.
*Their parent may have so many problems, the kids don't want them to visit the school.
*Bullies are sure to notice them and have a field day with their lack of "style," imperfections, and arrival via the "baby bus."
*Teachers may show their frustration in having to call or email a parent many times, sometimes without success or a response of any kind.
*A child's school records, including immunizations, may be difficult to obtain.
*The child may need extra help because of frequent moves, an undiagnosed learning disability, poor behavior or lack of concentration due to depression, anxiety, or insufficient rest.

When I worked as a school social worker, the teachers who made children from non-typical homes happiest were those who protected the child's differences and made an effort to pair him or her up with a popular, nice kid.

There's no reason to punish a child whose parents can't take care of him. He's been punished enough already.

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