As part of the Supporting Schools in Trauma-Informed Approaches initiative, the Health Department and NOLA FOR LIFE have supported us by providing financial resources and technical support, spearheading this work, organizing the collaborative, and supporting us in applying for more funding to continue the work. We are starting to realize that significant numbers of our youth have been exposed to trauma, often as a result of witnessing violence. The trauma-informed approaches work allows the schools involved to provide practices and services to scholars that will start to help the healing process. Also we know that violence in cyclical. Trauma-informed approaches help victims of violence address stress, trauma, and other social emotional issues to prevent the reoccurrence, or retaliation that often stems from witnessing violence or being a victim of violence.
This work has really expanded our social emotional support to not only scholars but also to families, thus stabilizing the family unit. In addition, the trauma-informed approaches really challenged some of our discipline practices and have pushed us to continue to make changes to reduce suspensions and expulsions. We were formally introduced to restorative approaches through the trauma-informed collaborative and this has significantly reduced the occurrence of ongoing fights at our school.
NOLA FOR LIFE is an incredibly innovative strategy that addresses violence and violence reduction through a dynamic and multi-leveled approach.