HAVERHILL (CBS) – Some schools say they are seeing more behavior issues in classrooms this year and the pandemic may be to blame.
Kids are acting up and it’s something parents and teachers are noticing.
“When you’re alone all the time, you don’t have to be accountable to anybody else for a year, year-and-a-half and then you come back to school with 1,200 kids in a school, you know we are going to see some of those acting out behaviors,” said Haverhill health educator Lori Curry.
Haverhill eighth grade teacher Tim Briggs said he immediately picked up on the difference when the new school year started.
“The last time they were all together and we had a full school, they were in sixth grade,” he told WBZ-TV. “You can kind of tell the difference between who was engaged with other human beings quite honestly and who wasn’t.”
Many superintendents’ offices we spoke to Thursday said they were aware of the clear changes in students.
How kids are acclimating to being back at school is something every district has its eyes on.
“There are a lot of soft skills over the course of your time in school that our young kids haven’t had the time to develop,” Neema Avashia, an educator with the Boston Teachers Union, explained. “How do we prioritize social-emotional learning and how do we prioritize student mental health?”
The union says the district has brought in social workers, but more help and a greater overall understanding are needed.
“We can’t just return to normal. We need to make something different for them, something that really acknowledges what they’ve been through and supports them in returning to school after that, and that’s not normal, it’s a ‘new’ we have to make,” Avashia said.
The solution may be time itself, according to Briggs.
“I think we have to be patient because what they’ve really missed is time. So I think what we need to give them is time with that we can only be so patient with some of the behaviors we’ve seen,” he said.
As well as having parents and administrations turn to the only experts we may have on this – the teachers.
“Ask. Ask us! There’s nobody who’s an expert on the pandemic because we’ve never had one. The only experts on how these kids are feeling during a pandemic are them (the teachers),” Briggs said.