AUSTIN, Texas – The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health has awarded $100,000 in grants to two Texas public schools and one school partnership for the Trauma-informed Approaches to Behavior in Schools grant program.
Angela G. Leal Elementary School in San Benito ($25,000), Crockett High School in Austin ($25,000), and a partnership between Dora M. Saucedo and Veterans Middle Schools in Donna ($50,000), were the recipients of the awards. The grants support the deployment of evidence-based, trauma-informed alternatives to exclusionary discipline models.
Research has found a strong link between untreated trauma and negative outcomes and behavioral issues in schools. Children with histories of abuse demonstrate higher levels of depression, conduct disorder, PTSD, impaired social functioning, and other problems. In addition, race and socioeconomic status significantly correlate with a child’s likelihood of exposure to adverse life experiences.
Traditional, exclusionary approaches to discipline such as expulsion and suspension disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minority students, as well as special education students. Widespread use of punitive discipline, up to and including police arrests, is manifest in the “school-to-prison pipeline,” in which students – disproportionately African American – are alienated from academic pursuits and become increasingly subject to the criminal justice system.
Throughout the education system, there is a growing interest in widening the use of proactive, trauma-informed, equity-driven approaches that lead to more positive behavioral outcomes. Examples of such interventions include, but are not limited to, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), Social Emotional Learning (SEL), and Restorative Discipline.
“This is a new program area for us, but it is fully in keeping with our mission of advancing recovery and wellness,” said Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director of the Hogg Foundation and associate vice president for diversity and community engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. “These schools are doing the vital work of testing psychosocial interventions that are sensitive to the impacts of trauma and children’s unmet emotional needs.”
The Hogg Foundation advances recovery and wellness in Texas by funding mental health services, policy analysis, research, and public education. The foundation was created in 1940 by the children of former Texas Gov. James S. Hogg and is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin.