Educational Trauma is defined as the inadvertent perpetration and perpetuation of victimization by educational systems against students. Victims of educational trauma may include: children, adolescents, and adults interacting the educational system. This type of trauma can also impact communities spreading a sense of helplessness and a feeling of dis-empowerment.
History of Educational Trauma:Edit
Between 1971 and 1974, 30 states passed special education laws, many of which mandated screening the entire school populations for defective vision and hearing, for malnutrition, dental concerns, "oedipal conflicts," "ego disturbances," normalcy in impulse control, withdrawal and social behavior. This information was used pooled in data banks used by school districts to inform program and policy development.
The 4th R:Edit
In his 1998 book, Talking Back to Ritalin: What doctors aren't telling you about stimulants for children, Peter Breggin, MD discussed The 4th R. He described the use of Ritalin in schools as common place as the teaching of reading, writing, and arithmetic. In 1996, the International Narcotics Control Board reported that 20% of students were taking stimulant medication in some schools. With 85% of teachers having attended at least one workshop on ADHD, it was an integral part of teacher training. The workshops were presented by professional advocates of ADHD/RItalin. School guidance counselors were trained to direct and advise the parents toward further evaluation.
[Bullying] is a relationship of abuse involving an imbalance of power. Repeated acts may occur at the individual level - one-on-one, and within groups. It exists in educational systems when students gang up on one another and also between staff members and parent groups. [Robert W. Fuller] examined bullyingin the context of [rankism]. In his model, a hierarchy exists between members of a group with activites of discrimination, exploitation, and abuse occuring between them.
Examples of Educational Trauma:Edit
Incidents of Educational Trauma occurred at multiple Los Angeles Unified School District schools, where LAUSD is the 2nd largest school district in the nation: Although other incidents may not be as dramatic as what has occured at LAUSD at other school districts; they still negatively impact people on multiple levels.
On January 11, 2011, in Gardena, CA, a boy brought a loaded weapon to school, accidentally discharging it and wounding his peers. According to report, the victim's parents retained the Cochran Law Firm and anounced that this was avoidable. 
On January 12, 2011, 9000 individuals were locked down in 9 different schools, only to be released after 7pm, when an LAUSD Police Officer suggested he was shot outside El Camino High School in Woodland Hills, CA. The officer has since recanted the story: 
Educational Trauma conceptualized using the Adaptive Information Processing Model:Edit
Using the Adaptive Information Processing model introduced by Francine Shapiro, this phenomenon may be further understood. New information is not being processed and laid down into new learning, but rather evoking heightened and sustained posttraumatic reactions at systemic and organizational levels. The collective unconscious appears to be wrapped up in poorly metabolized experiences, evoking memory networks containing the physical sensations and negative affects of poorly metabolized experiences. The collection of negative memories concerning education seem easily triggered - from all directions. So, as a community, we become ineffective at dealing with traumatic incidents that vary from severe to mild occuring in our schools on an everyday basis. Educational trauma may be discounted by many because it occurs on a systemic governmental level. School districts need to be mindful of the trauma they inflict as a system on a child, family and a community.
Breggin, P. (1998). Talking Back to Ritalin: What doctors aren't telling you about stimulants for children. Maine: Common Courage Press.
Schrag, P. & Divoky, D. (1975). The Myth of the Hyperactive Child & Other Means of Child Control. New York: Dell.
Shapiro, F., Kaslow, F.K., and Maxfield, L. (2007). Handbook of EMDR and Family Therapy Processes. New Jersey: Wiley.
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