Paper Tigers

   Monday, Nov. 28, the Plevna School staff had the opportunity to watch the movie Paper Tigers. The movie was a documentary directed by James Redford. It follows a year in the life of six students at an alternative high school in Walla Walla, Wash. This school has radically changed its approach to disciplining its students becoming a promising model for how to break the cycles of poverty, violence and disease that affect families.

   The movie centers around ACE – Adverse Childhood Experiences, and how they have an impact on our youth. There has been much foundational research done in this area. The study is one of the largest scientific research studies of its kind, with over 17,000 mostly middle income Americans participating. The focus was to analyze the relationship between childhood trauma and the risk for physical and mental illness in adulthood. Over the course of a decade, the results demonstrated a strong, graded relationship between the level of traumatic stress in childhood and poor physical, mental and behavioral outcomes later in life.

   An Adverse Childhood Experience is growing up while experiencing any of the following conditions in the household prior to age 18:

   1. Recurrent physical abuse

   2. Recurrent emotional  abuse

   3. Contact sexual abuse

   4. An alcohol and/or drug abuser in the household

   5. An incarcerated household member

   6. Family member who is chronically depressed, mentally ill, institutionalized, or suicidal

   7. Mother is treated violently

   8. One or no parents

   9. Physical neglect

  10. Emotional neglect

   This research is the most advanced of all time linking childhood adversity to many types of negative health and social outcomes in adulthood. It is sweeping the country and– informing teachers on how to create better learning environments, understand children differently, and help our children be more successful. Learning about ACEs and gaining a full understanding of why children do what they do, can absolutely be transformative for our children, for parents, and for us as professionals. This information was provided by ChildWise Institute of Helena, Mont.