Current Trends and Perspectives Impacting PK–12 Education
We recently launched the Kognito PK–12 Expert Series, a series of interviews from subject matter experts about current trends in education as well as diverse perspectives on topics impacting elementary, middle, and high schools. In this issue, you’ll find tips and strategies from leaders in education about how to best support the entire school community and address topics such as bullying and identifying and reporting child abuse, neglect, and human trafficking.
We invite you to check out our PK–12 Expert Series to learn more about these critical topics impacting education today. Continue reading for highlights from the series or download the full PDF here.
Child Abuse and Human Trafficking – A Global Issue
According to the CDC, at least 1 in 7 children experience neglect annually in the United States. It is also estimated that 26.7 million people worldwide are in forced labor. To shed light on this serious topic, we spoke with Carissa Coons, Director of Youth Protection and Programming at the University of Southern California (USC) and subject matter expert in the development of our training, Protecting Our Youth.
Our conversation with Carissa highlights her professional experience working in education, her roles in youth protection that lead her become the Director of Youth Protection and Programming at USC, and her volunteer work at a rape crisis center where she works primarily with child survivors in the immediate wake of their trauma. Her professional experience, especially her work with child survivors of abuse, helped shape our product, Protecting Our Youth. She explains why conversations about these sensitive topics are important for both children and education professionals.
“Children really rely on the stability and support a teacher or educators can provide, and so it is realistic that they may choose to open up to an educator or their teacher and have these conversations. They are probably the most important people to know how to have them,” said Carissa Coons.
Bullying: An Adverse Childhood Experience with Lasting Repercussions
Bullying is considered a form of youth violence as well as an adverse childhood experience (ACE). It not only impacts a child’s academic performance, but its consequences can continue into adulthood. Educators and the school community play an integral role in bullying prevention. We interviewed Sharon Stevens, Educator and Program Manager of RSB at Cleveland Metro School system, about how to address and prevent bullying both on and off school grounds.
In this interview, Sharon highlights how educators, students, and parents can be proactive in preventing bullying, what the warning signs of bullying look like, and the best ways to address bullying in school and online. When asked what the best course of action for an educator to take with both the student who is being bullied and the student who is bullying, she replied, “You want to intervene immediately. Don’t let the incident pass and come back to it later. Immediately address the students involved, both the bully and the victim. It’s important that both students know that bullying behavior is not tolerated, and no one should ever be bullied. It’s imperative to address the needs of the bullied student. Find out what they need, whether that be counseling or other resources. Recognize that school counseling can be beneficial to both parties. The key is to step in quickly.”
The Changing Face of Bullying
The face of bullying has been evolving over the last several decades. Today, it takes on many different forms, including social, online, and identity bullying. In some cases, bullying can be so severe that it invokes significant feelings of distress that might lead to attempts at suicide. Kerri Geesey is an educator with over 20 years of experience at Wallenpaupack Area School District and a subject matter expert of our simulation for students Friend2Friend: Bullying Prevention. She shares her expertise on what defines bullying in today’s academic and social environment. She also discusses an increase in bullying as a result of the pandemic, and the importance of being an upstander.
“Over time, bullying behavior has changed quite a bit. I think when we were younger, a bully had to be a lot braver because they had to bully someone face-to-face. There wasn’t a screen they could hide behind or a false name, profile, or avatar they could use to stay anonymous. In today’s social and academic environment, it’s become a lot easier to be a bully.”
Download the Full PK–12 Expert Series
For more insights from these experts in education, download the PK–12 Expert Series here.