The Compton Unified School District held a monthly training on September 28 for principals that covered two important areas---trauma and restorative justice. The trainings are designed to give those in schools the best tools to help Compton students in their day to day lives.
The sessions had a goal of training principals on the core skills needed for their faculty and staff to make a positive impact in assisting students - who may have experienced abuse, neglect or possible household dysfunction.
The training focused on how principals, teachers and other staff must ensure that they are harnessing their own well-being. JaMaiia Bond, Senior Director of CUSD Education Services, told them, “You can’t take care of others if you can’t take care of yourself.” Driving the importance of self-care and taking time for each professional to focus on down time, as it allows the individual time to rest, relax and release so that they are well prepared emotionally and socially for the hard work in the classroom.
‘Harnessing Community to Create a Trauma-Informed Campus,' was the title of the training led by Jessica Ellis and Whitney Harper of the Centinela Youth Services which is a nonprofit that was started by police officers from the Inglewood Police Department in 1975. The premise is simple: arresting youth is not an effective solution to improving their behavior.
The training focused on how negative childhood experiences equal what they called “a High Level of Toxic Stress.” The result is the creation of a constant state of “hypervigilance,” that can make the student defensive and often believed to be threatened. The resulting aggressive behavior makes success in the classroom difficult to achieve. Punishing the student through suspension, expulsion, detention or arrest does not work to address the needs of students.
The training the principals received is similar to what CUSD Police have been undergoing. The Centinela program is getting high marks in the district and the training is designed to expose more decisions makers---principals, teachers and police—to using it as an option to address student behavior.
The goal is to have more students do well in the classroom---not put them in jail.