JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – Violence, trauma, the economy, and just putting food on the table are issues grown-ups struggle with, so what about children? 3 On Your Side talks with Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Errick Greene on ways educators are helping children navigate the troubling times we live in while still learning and succeeding in the classroom.
There is more focus on teen violence with crimes committed by those as young as 15 here in the Capital City. Children are aware of what is happening, and some can have a hard time navigating trauma. The COVID pandemic has increased that trauma for many. Dr. Errick Greene, JPS Superintendent, talked with us about resources available for scholars and families. He tells us the core work of the district is education, but they do what they can to help students and families.
Dr. Greene said, “It’s hard, if not impossible, for us to do our core work if we don’t help individuals to get the kinds of resources that they need.”
JPS has its own counselors and also works with outside partners.
“We engage quite a bit with the resources around us and obviously with law enforcement and others just to help us to understand some of the things that we’re seeing and hearing to try to get ahead of any bubbling — any issues or conflicts that might be bubbling up. And again to try to be proactive as much as possible and not reactive,” said Dr. Greene.
Dr. Greene says the district wants to help in every way it can. But some scholars are dealing with issues like housing and food insecurity, and family issues.
“Food insecurity, housing insecurity that’s very real in the scholars’ life and their experience, and they could be a complete barrier to them accessing and thriving in their educational experiences,” Dr. Greene said. “And so we absolutely do what we can to overcome that. We are not resourced. We don’t have the skills nor the capacity to be all of that for all of our children, period, dot, the end. We cannot do that.”
When it comes to crime, according to Dr. Greene, there are nearly 20 thousand students in JPS, and no more than 1 percent, if that, are engaged in some of the problems we see in the Capital City.
“If all of that was to be owned by the school system then and we weren’t doing what we’re supposed to be doing, then it seems like many more of our scholars would be out making such bad decisions. We don’t own it all. We can’t do it all. We’re happy to partner with those who have real ideas and some real arms and hands and feet put behind those ideas to help all of us experience less of these unfortunate incidents.”
Dr. Greene says educators with JPS have to rely on parents, the community, and churches to help throw a lifeline to kids in crisis. JPS is also providing programs to help guide students through conflict resolution and grief.
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