s.e. smith

Is Climate Change Impacting Your Mental Health?

We already know that climate change comes with major public health implications, like the spread of disease as climate refugees flee their homelands and live in close-packed conditions with inadequate sanitation. What we’re now growing to understand is that this includes not just physical, but also mental health. If world governments don’t rise to the challenge, they could face a human-made mental health crisis on a very large scale.

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5 Despicable Ways We Keep Disabled People Chained to Poverty

According to 2012 census data, roughly 28% of disabled people between the ages of 18 and 64 live in poverty. Among those without a disability in the same age range, the figure rests at 12.5%. As of 2006,median income for individuals living with disabilities was $17,000, as compared to $28,000 for nondisabled Americans.

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Why Are Huge Numbers of Disabled Students Dropping Out of College?

When Andrea Chandler, a disabled Navy veteran, used her GI bill funds to go to college, she expected to graduate with a BA that would allow her to build a career and establish a new life for herself. Instead, she never completed the requirements that would have allowed her to transfer to a four-year college, joining the ranks of the many disabled students who are unable to attain a four year degree—despite the rising number of disabled students entering academia.

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10 Sexist, Homophobic and Otherwise Offensive Yearbook Editing Decisions

This is the time of year when yearbooks are starting to roll out -- and so are the accompanying controversies. Every year, it seems like a teen's photo is censored, removed, or altered to satisfy the whims of the administration, so instead of becoming a mode of expression and celebration, the yearbook turns into something that's more like a parting shot from school officials. 

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Department of Justice Zeroes In On Zero-Tolerance Policies In Schools

After years of hard work on the part of community leaders, civil justice organizations, and students, could the Department of Education (DOE) and Department of Justice (DOJ) finally be shutting off the valve on the school-to-prison pipeline? New guidelines issued in a joint “Dear Colleague” letter from both agencies in early January indicate they’re trying to do just that. 

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Zero-Tolerance Policies in Schools are Often Destructive, Fueling a School to Prison Pipeline

In 2011, a 13-year-old student in Albuquerque, New Mexico burped audibly in class (perhaps the school lunch didn’t agree with him). His instructor summoned the school resource officer, one of a new generation of police officers and specially trained go-betweens stationed in school environments, and the student found himself booked into a juvenile detention facility. He had fallen victim to his school’s zero-tolerance policy, a framework used across the nation to crack down fast and hard on unwanted behaviors, but one that has resulted in what critics are calling a school-to-prison pipeline, as students are fast-tracked to juvenile courts for offenses like writing their names on desks.

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Why Are Students at Military Base Schools Out-Achieving Their Civilian Peers?

If someone asked you to describe expected achievement scores in a student population where a) many have high personal debt with only a single parent at home; b) 40% of the school population is Latino or black; and c) students can expect to change schools between six and nine times as they move through primary and secondary school, “below average results” would probably come to mind. All of these stressors, it would be fair to assume, could contribute to difficulty with math, reading and other school skills, setting students up for an uphill struggle in the classroom.

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Medicating Our Children to Nowhere

“Kay” has a distinct memory of being sent to a psychiatrist when the troubles in school first started. After a momentary exchange with the doctor, Kay was left to sit in silence, while the psychiatrist addressed the adults in the room, instead, favoring “rigid conformation [and] inappropriate psychiatric medications” over listening to Kay’s actual problems.

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