ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- How much do you know about what’s happening inside your child’s classroom?
Local school districts are searching for solutions to limit disruptive behavior that forces classrooms to be cleared or evacuated.
In September, News 4 Investigates heard from teachers about explosive behavior that disrupts the learning environment.
Some teachers provided photos showing trashed classrooms.
“I feel sad for those children, and worry about them as individuals,” Tracy Moore of St. Louis County said.
As a mother, the story hit close to home for Moore. She said her son was responsible for classroom clears when he was a young child.
“It was one of the worst calls I’ve gotten. You don’t want your child to be that upset and wonder what’s going on in their brain do that,” Moore said.
In September, a former Hazelwood teacher told News 4 many parents aren’t aware of the daily challenges faced in the classroom.
One former teacher said, “tearing things apart, walking on desks and tables, hitting kids” were fairly routine occurrences.
When asked if it was the reason she quit, she responded, “It was a driving factor for sure.”
Local districts told News 4 children are coping with more trauma in their daily lives and it’s manifesting into explosive behavior at school.
Lakesha Davis runs Hopewell, a mental health resource center in St. Louis.
She said her organization can help local schools identify warning signs and triggers that can lead to disruptive classroom behavior.
Davis said Hopewell currently has therapists stationed inside multiple schools across the city.
She understands why classrooms get cleared, but also feels districts need to consider alternative options.
Davis made it clear teachers already have a demanding job, and therapist is not part of a teacher’s title.
“I think it happens. We ask them to educate kids, maintain behaviors, and if they have an outburst figure it out so everyone can move on with their day,” Davis said.
Davis wants school districts to face reality, and understand behavior challenges must be addressed differently than in the past.
She is advocating for schools to go beyond a school counselor, but also consider adding a therapist to the staff.
Davis said Hopewell and other mental health resource centers are available to help.
“I would love to see this grow to a full-time, embedded therapist in every school,” Davis said.
According to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, a new initiative is currently in the works to place 30 Trauma Informed School Liaisons around the state as an additional mental health resource tool for students.
And according to the Department of Mental Health, the location of those trauma specialists and their role in local schools has not yet been determined.