When we hear the word death we think of the end of life. However, experiencing an end to life as we know it can be considered “death” as well.
With only one day of school left for students there will be goodbye parties taking place while teachers begin to tear down their classrooms, pack everything up and haul it away until they find out where they will be located the next school year.
This archaic ritual is performed each year without any consideration given to the multitude of deaths that are experienced by everyone in the school community.
The loss of a teacher, the loss of friends, the loss of a room that provided a feeling of safety and comfort, the loss of caring adults that make you feel strong are not considered as “deaths” yet the depression and anxiety felt by many children as the school year ends is very real and ignored by those who are our educational leaders.
Each year, as children leave at the end of the year, no one in the educational environment is sure they will be returning to the same school. No one is sure they will be returning to the same classmates, friends, or comforters.
Each year, as the new school year begins, the anxiety of starting out in a new life situation, having to meet new people, make new friends, and become acquainted with strange adults, takes place without notice.
This is very different for children in suburban and rural schools. These children live in the same neighborhoods and towns. They will meet each other in the same school they attended the year before, the teachers will primarily be the same. There is a consistency in their homes that overrides the feeling of loss experienced at the end of the year.
Urban school children quickly become desensitized to the feelings of friendship and caring formed in school and instead defend themselves against them with negative behaviors.
All of our children deserve to be taught in a safe nurturing environment that is consistent and caring.
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