By: Kate Bargerhuff (2L), Spencer Churchill (2L), Leanne Gaffney (2L), Sonya Ho (3L), Seth Packrone (2L), Niousha Rahbar (2L), and Amanda Savage (2L)
On November 14, 2013 the professors and students from the Education Law Clinic traveled to Brockton, MA to celebrate the release of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative’s (T.L.P.I.) second book, Helping Traumatized Children Learn Volume 2: Creating and Advocating for Trauma-Sensitive Schools. T.L.P.I. is a partnership between HLS and Massachusetts Advocates for Children (MAC) that focuses on the need to address trauma in schools and the impact it can have on student learning. T.L.P.I. uses its policy work, advocacy, and direct legal services to help traumatized children succeed in school.
Attendees at the release celebrated the success of Mary E. Baker Elementary School, a trauma-sensitive school, and the Brockton community, and featured different stakeholders involved in education policy and reform, including HLS Lecturer on Law and Director of T.L.P.I. Susan Cole, Principal Ryan Powers of the Mary E. Baker Elementary School, and Matthew Malone, Massachusetts Secretary of Education. Both the educators and legislators in attendance highlighted the achievements of T.L.P.I. and Brockton’s efforts aimed at creating trauma-sensitive schools, and emphasized the need for broader support and connectivity among education professionals.
The energy in the room was palpable as Joel Ristuccia and Professor Michael Gregory, two of the book’s co-authors, revealed T.L.P.I.’s new website, which includes a wealth of information on trauma, an online bookstore, and a forum designed to create a nationwide dynamic trauma-sensitive learning community focused on making schools safe and supportive.
Meanwhile, for the student attorneys at the Education Law Clinic, the book launch was a break from advocating for appropriate educational services for individual students in Massachusetts who have had traumatic experiences, and an opportunity to share in the excitement of T.L.P.I.’s success and witness the results of advocating at the systemic level. Anne Eisner, one of the book’s co-authors and the Deputy Director of T.L.P.I., played a large role in orchestrating the entire event. Overall, the evening was an exciting new step in creating awareness for schools’ mandate to create a more supportive environment to meet the whole needs of the child.