Trauma-informed Approaches to Behavior in Schools
The Trauma-informed Approaches to Behavior in Schools (TIA) grant program supports 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.