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Even when the smoke clears, schools find student trauma can linger (Lake County Record Bee)


By Carolyn Jones, September 29, 2020, Lake County Record Bee. 

Schools can serve as a hub for an entire community after a disaster, experts say

For some students, the fire is only the beginning. The nightmares, the grief and an all-consuming dread can persist for months or even years.

That’s what teachers and school employees have observed among students in California’s fire-ravaged areas, especially Sonoma and Butte counties, where deadly wildfires have struck repeatedly in recent years.

Now, those school districts are sharing their observations and advice with schools around the West that are adapting to a new reality: regular catastrophic wildfires.

“Unless you’ve been through a large-scale disaster, you don’t realize you’re not going to struggle a little. You’re going to fall apart. You’re not going to be OK,” he said. “And there is no panacea. You can coach the adults how to provide support in the moment, how to keep stress levels low, but it’s very hard. Many people here are still struggling.”

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