Urging More Social Workers for Bronx Students

(Photo by Send me adrift., Creative commons license)

A dearth of social workers and mental health support for students in the Bronx, say parent advocates, means that students often find themselves carted off to emergency rooms in a crisis, Chalkbeat’s Christine Veiga reports. New Settlement Parent Action Committee rallied recently, demanding more social workers in district 9, along with better training for teachers and school leaders.

District 9 adjoins district 12, where one student, believed to have been the victim of bullying, on Sept. 27 pulled a knife on two classmates, killing one of them and severely injuring the other. Last year in district 9, writes Veiga, 20 percent of students were homeless — the highest percentage in the city, according to the Institute for Children Poverty and Homelessness. Over the last three years, there were more than 280 emergency calls from district 9 schools and 230 transports to the hospital, according to Bronx Legal Services.

[DeJohn] Jones, a parent leader with the committee, said more mental health support will not only keep students safe, but also steer them away from trouble that could lead them into criminal justice system.

She added that students of color rarely get the full support they need. However, she said she was encouraged that officials from the education department attended the rally on Wednesday.

“There’s work that’s being done,” she said, “little by little.”

Go to Chalkbeat to learn about the “de-escalation” training being offered in district 9.

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