The West Virginia Public School System is on the frontline with teachers and school personnel often serving as the first responders to students who need their basic neurological, biological, psychological, and social emotional needs met. Supporting these students is a priority of our school system to ensure our children can continue to grow and thrive as they navigate the challenges they face.
West Virginia children are exposed to adverse childhood experiences creating toxic stress which manifests itself in a variety of ways in our classrooms. Childhood trauma crosses all socioeconomic barriers and has greatly affected students living in homes and communities directly engaged in substance abuse. While not the intent of the parent or caregiver, opioid addiction and other substance abuse often has a direct correlation with abuse and neglect. The manifestation of trauma in our schools ranges from erratic behaviors to an array of social-emotional needs in the classroom. For teachers and school personnel, the impact of toxic stress can reveal itself in the form of anxiety, depression, hopelessness, behavioral disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and others.
ReClaimWV is an initiative that seeks to advance wellness and resilience in students to equip them to become lifelong learners and achieve personal success. Students touched by trauma and the secondary impact of trauma on school personnel must be addressed and supported by schools, families, and communities.
In response to the opioid epidemic, the West Virginia Department of Education will support and collaborate with local education agencies, communities, and families to address the social-emotional, physical, behavioral, and mental health needs of our students. Please join us in this effort to “reclaim” our future leaders from the substance abuse epidemic.