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Nine Rutherford schools to become ’Trauma-informed’

May 5, 2021

By JAMES EVANS
Rutherford County Schools

Nine Rutherford County schools have been accepted into a two-year training program to become “Trauma-Informed” schools.

Once completed, faculty and staff members at the schools will be equipped to better recognize and assist students who may be suffering from mental health issues, said Pamela Parker, behavior support specialist for Rutherford County Schools. 

“We know many of our students come to us with multiple, stressful experiences in their lives,” Parker said. 

The experiences may include a death in the family, an incarcerated parent, chronic health conditions or other traumatic events. 

“Research shows us that while these issues impact children differently and to varying degrees, they can affect brain development and children's ability to form nurturing, positive relationships and ultimately benefit from their school experience,” Parker said. 

The nine schools include Holloway High School, John Colemon Elementary, LaVergne Lake Elementary, Oakland Middle School, Rocky Fork Elementary, Rocky Fork Middle School, Rutherford County Virtual School, Smyrna Elementary and Smyrna Primary.

As part of the training, each school will send up to five faculty members who will then bring the training back to school level. The outcome will be a “toolbox of strategies,” Parker said, for teachers to use when students are feeling overwhelmed or acting out. 

The training is being facilitated by the Tennessee Department of Education.