School Controversies

The most controversial issues impacting public school students today. From bullying to book bans, this is a comprehensive look at some of the most oft-debated issues. This section features articles on school segregation, religion, over-crowding, civil rights, and green technology.

View the most popular articles in School Controversies:

Should Schools Screen for Childhood Trauma?

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Should Schools Screen for Childhood Trauma?
Childhood experiences shape who we become as adults, for good and bad. The new Surgeon General of California is pushing for childhood trauma screening in students in the hopes of resolving some of the issues that might later lead to the development of physical and mental health problems.

Childhood experiences shape who we become as adults, for good and bad. The new Surgeon General of California is pushing for childhood trauma screening in students in the hopes of resolving some of the issues that might later lead to the development of physical and mental health problems.

The new Surgeon General of California is working to implement an unprecedented plan to implement universal screenings for childhood trauma in children benefiting from the state’s Medicaid program.

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, the first person to hold the newly developed role of Surgeon General of California, is a pediatrician known for studying the harmful effects of adverse childhood experiences and toxic stress. The goal of the program is to identify children living with untreated childhood trauma so they can get the help they need and prevent harmful health effects from developing later in life.

Though Harris has already taken several steps toward implementing this plan, there are those who question its cost. Read on to learn more about the program and to explore the subject of childhood trauma in greater depth.

What Constitutes Childhood Trauma?

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), a traumatic event is one that threatens injury, death, or the physical integrity of self or others and also causes horror, terror, or helplessness at the time it occurs. Examples may include sexual abuse, physical abuse, school or community violence, domestic violence, accidents, medical trauma, national or manmade disasters, and traumatic loss.

The results of a national survey on childhood experiences conducted

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What Parents Need to Know About Lunch Shaming

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What Parents Need to Know About Lunch Shaming
Students all over the nation go hungry every day not because their schools don’t offer lunch, but because they refuse them to children with outstanding debts. Read on to learn about the horror that is lunch shaming and what can be done about it.

As an adult, you’ve well learned that while societal pressures still exist, it is, in fact, possible to say no to peer pressure. As a child in school, however, it feels like being liked and accepted is the most important thing in the world. No child wants to stand out too much, especially for the wrong reasons.Canon-McMillan School District

Unfortunately, underprivileged students are forced to fight this battle in a number of ways. From wearing hand-me-down clothing and sharing schoolbooks to enrolling in free lunch programs, it’s difficult not to stand out when you don’t come from the same economic background as more privileged students. In some schools, the differences are minimal and barely noticeable but children in many schools are experiencing something called lunch shaming and it may affect their education.

In this article, we’ll explore the subject of lunch shaming to discover what it is and how it affects public school students. We’ll also take a closer look at the incentives behind lunch shaming and what some people are doing to prevent it.

This video from PBS reports on the issue of lunch shaming.

What is Lunch Shaming, Anyway?

According to Feeding America, 16 million American children struggle with hunger each year. It may not be a daily battle, but at some point throughout the course of the year, these children lack the means to obtain nutritious food on a regular basis. Outside of this poll, American teachers notice that many of their students aren’t

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Are Service Dogs Too Distracting in a School Environment?

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Are Service Dogs Too Distracting in a School Environment?
Students with disabilities may require the assistance of a service dog, but how might the presence of a dog in the classroom affect other students? Could it be too distracting?

There is a special bond between children and their dogs but, for some children, a dog is more than just a best friend – he is an assistant for everyday tasks. Children with certain diseases and disabilities sometimes need the help of a service dog just to get through their day. The service dog accompanies them everywhere they go – even to school. While a service dog may be a necessity for the student he serves, it is possible he could become a distraction for other students. But where do you draw the line?

In today’s modern society, distractions are everywhere. Cell phones and tablets are being given to younger and younger children as society as a whole becomes progressively more reliant on technology. But what determines whether something is too distracting? When it comes to service dogs, there are some legitimate concerns regarding allergies and fears that some students may have, but are these concerns more legitimate than the student’s need for the service dog? Keep reading to learn more about this issue.

What Exactly Do Service Dogs Do?

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the definition of a service animal is, “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability”. Some of the tasks a service dog can perform might include pulling a wheelchair, picking up dropped items, reminding someone to take their medications, providing emotional

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The Pros and Cons of Tracking in Schools

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The Pros and Cons of Tracking in Schools
Tracking was once the standard of public education in the United States but today there is a great deal of controversy regarding its relevance. Consider the pros and cons of tracking to decide whether it might be a good option for your child.

The fact of the matter is that some students learn more quickly than others and some students need more individualized attention. In order to accommodate the differing needs of their students, many schools started to adopt a tracking system, separating students by academic ability into different groups for certain subjects or for all subjects. This type of program is sometimes called ability grouping (though these are technically two different things) and it is a hotly debated issue in public schools. Before you decide whether tracking might be a good option for your child, take a moment to learn what it is as well as the pros and cons of this type of system.

What is Tracking or Ability Grouping?

Also referred to as phasing or streaming, tracking is a system in which students are divided into classes based on their overall achievement. Students are ranked as being average, normal, or below average and they are divided into classes with students of the same achievement level. Tracking has been used in American public schools for nearly a century and it has changed and developed a great deal during that time. In the early years, tracking was a response to growing numbers of immigrant children coming into the public school system. The goal was to provide those children with an education that was catered to their limited understanding of the English language and their limited preparation, as compared to native students. What ended up happening, however, was a form of internal segregation within

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School-to-Prison Pipeline Persists Despite Local, State and National Efforts

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School-to-Prison Pipeline Persists Despite Local, State and National Efforts
Inadequate funding and resources for schools, harsh zero-tolerance discipline policies, police presence in public schools, and de facto segregation continue to create school environments in which poor and minority students have little chance of succeeding. The result is a continuation of the school-to-prison pipeline that has been commonplace in the American education system for decades, despite federal, state and local efforts to curb the problem.
What is the School-to-Prison Pipeline?
 
In an era in which negative or violent behaviors at school – from bullying and harassment, racism and sexism, and school shootings – is commonplace, public schools have taken measures to beef up security in the name of protecting students and staff. Schools in urban areas have long been home to security guards and metal detectors, however, security measures in recent years at urban and rural schools alike have grown to include armed school resource officers (SRO), complex networks of surveillance cameras, and zero-tolerance discipline policies that have resulted in a substantial increase in the number of student suspensions, expulsions, and school-based arrests. In fact, the number of disciplinary actions taken in schools is at an all-time high.
 
This video from the ACLU shows their belief that children should be educated, not incarcerated. We are working to challenge policies and practices that contribute to the school to prison pipeline.
 
 
 
However, this is just one component of the modern-day school-to-prison pipeline, in which students are forced out of school by Draconian policies that land them in the criminal justice system.
 
This begs the question, “How did we get to this point?” The American Civil Liberties Union has identified five primary factors in the development of today’s police-state schools that funnel children into courts and jails:

1.  Lack of funding and resources: Many discipline problems arise when students are disengaged and do not have support services to help them persist

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Common Behavioral Issues in School-Age Children and How Alternative Schools Can Help
Common Behavioral Issues in School-Age Children and How Alternative Schools Can Help
Being a parent is never easy, but some children are more challenging than others. If you're concerned that your child's behavioral issues might be more than just temporary, consider whether an alternative school might be the next move.
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Nearly 10% of students will encounter sexual misconduct at school. Make sure you know how to protect your child and recognize the signs of potential sex abuse.
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In a district where progressive discipline policies are already the norm, Denver Public Schools seek to limit student exposure to the criminal justice system, rather than criminalize student behavior.

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