Safety Back to School?

The 2020-2021 school year has begun and depending on what school district you live in the school setting may look different this year. COVID-19 has impacted and infiltrated what feels like nearly every aspect of our lives and heading back to school is one of them. Whether the school district is starting off the school year in-person setting, in a hybrid setting, or an all virtual setting – the setting of the school year is bound to be fluid and evolve over the course of the coming months.

Typically, schools can provide school-aged kids a respite from the chaos at home. School provides kids with a support network of friends, teachers, and guidance counselors. School also provides a meal and food that children can rely on.

For children that are living in a home where domestic abuse is present, the fear of the unknown is constantly present. When back to school time comes this is often filled with anxiety and fear. This school year, more than ever is filled with unfamiliarity. School can often be a safe haven for kids living in a home with domestic abuse. When children are experiencing chronic trauma, their brains are wired to survive, not to think. Kids in a home where abuse is present, doing well in school, virtual from home is a set up for failure.

Our Children and Youth Advocates work closely with school staff to ensure that all kids have the best experience at school regardless of what their home life looks like. This school year, the lack of interaction with friends, teachers, and support staff raises concerns among our staff on making sure that kids are getting the support they need.

School can provide an environment in which kids don’t need to worry about the chaos that is at home,” stated Jennifer, a Children and Youth Advocate at Harbor House, “kids need to be able to remove themselves from that constant state of trauma to learn. Feeling safe and supported is key to this and school can often provide this environment. Virtually learning from home doesn’t allow kids to leave the abusive environment and that is a huge concern to us.”

At Harbor House, our staff has been busy trying to support both our kids staying in the shelter and those living outside of the shelter with support as we transition into this school year. We are here and will be here to support our community. Whether you are a family member, a parent, a neighbor, a friend, a teacher, etc. and you have a concern about a family or child who may be experiencing abuse or an unsafe home-life, please give us a call at 920-832-1667, we are here to support and help.