(UnitedVoice.com) – In 2020 and 2021, education took a back seat during the pandemic. Over time, tension rose between school administrators and teachers, and parents. The issues weren’t limited to long-term school closures. In 2021, voters took matters into their own hands in Virginia, New Jersey, and San Francisco.
For years, mental health experts warned children were paying the price for pandemic decisions many said were unnecessary. Now, the American Psychological Association says violence by parents and students against teachers is rising, and teachers need tools to help them solve the mental health crisis unfolding in the wake of the pandemic. Many educators say they are ready to quit education altogether.
Students Struggled as They Returned to School
Across the country, teachers said the transition from online learning back to in-classroom instruction was more challenging than expected. They experienced children struggling with stress, anxiety, and behavior disorders. The issues predated a return to the classroom.
In the fall of 2020, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry declared a child mental health emergency. CDC data demonstrated kids were experiencing a mental health crisis early in the pandemic.
So, is it a surprise the return to the classroom hasn’t gone smoothly? It’s not like kids were on summer break for a year, and everything went back to normal when schools reopened.
Violence Is Up at Schools
On Monday, March 14, an American Psychological Association survey said that 40% of school administrators reported parents for verbal and physical violence during the 2020-2021 school year. In addition, a third of teachers said they experienced verbal or threatening violence from students. Across the country, school districts say fights and disciplinary issues are higher than before the pandemic.
School administrators and teachers say if children’s social, emotional, and mental health needs aren’t addressed, they can’t help students catch up on education lost during the pandemic.
The survey added that 29% to 34% of administrators and school staff said they want to quit their jobs over school climate and safety issues. In January, the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics reported that 44% of schools have at least one teaching vacancy. Over half of the vacancies were because teachers resigned. The data doesn’t give the reason for the resignation.
The American Psychological Association report added that teachers need solutions to address violence. It stated they need mental health programs and that schools must hire more qualified teachers, psychologists, and social workers to meet student needs.
According to experts, the fallout from the pandemic could be something schools, parents, and students have to live with for some time.
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