As part of the Education Community Health Advocate (ECHA) program, members of the HLC Community Health Worker/Community Health Advocate team are working with local students and school staff to identify and address barriers to school attendance. Building on their trusted relationship with those students, they learned a lot this year about those barriers and summarized them in a document called “13 Reasons Why… Students Don’t Go to School”
The list challenges assumptions that adults may have about students and highlights just how many barriers students may encounter in trying to succeed in school.
1 – Makes good grades and sees no reason to go. Not challenging enough.
2 – Judged on past experience with their siblings that attended before they did. Felt teachers and staff treated them unfairly without getting to know them.
3. Being bullied, picked on because of race, social skills and class (Including students and staff).
4 – No classes, electives, before/after school programs or clubs that interest the students. Felt teachers and staff yell at them and tell them things they already know.
5 – Not understanding their culture or heritage. (Example: telling a student their hair is a distraction.) Feeling disrespected.
6 – Being blamed for things they didn’t do. Feeling like staff don’t try and figure out who really did it.
7- Constantly suspended from school instead of trying to see if extra help is needed at home or counseling of some sort.
8 – No supervision at home. Meaning if they wake up late or say they don’t want to go, parents let them stay home. It’s left up to the student to decide.
9 – Weather! If it’s raining really hard and they walk to school, students will stay at home. Also if it’s cold, does not have proper clothing. (Ashamed to ask for help).
10 – Watching younger siblings or older members of the family while parent works.
11 – Single parent household. Parent works a lot needs to sleep or work. Can’t take student to school and allows them to stay home.
12 – Not from here and not used to or like staff students or school. Travels back and forth to “home” and here. Missing family.
13 – Homeless. Lives with different people not sure where they will be day to day. Sometimes in boundary of school. If not, don’t go or arrive real late.