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Keeping Kids out of the Emergency Room

October 26, 2012

I found an article on the New York Times website that tells the story about a child named Gabriel. He is a second grade student at Public School 67 in New York and has anger management and outrage issues. Several times through out the year when Gabriel would have an incident the teacher would end up calling the paramedics and each time Gabriel would go to the hospital, have a psycho therapy evaluation and be released from the hospital for class the next day. This has been happening to many kids across the country because instead of them getting the real help they need, they are just unnecessarily taken to a hospital, where they aren’t dangerous enough to be held there, and released for class without an end results to the psycho evaluations. 

Usually disruptive children like Gabriel are placed in a class room setting where the ratio is 12 students to one teacher. But because the funding just isn’t there Gabriel is instead of a class of 30+ students and isn’t able to have the attention he needs and to be calmed down in the proper manner. After the September 29 incident in 2011, Gabriel was moved into a smaller classroom and given a personal counselor who could help him to control his anger and to process situations differently. There are many kids who need counselors and typically schools account for how many students need personal counselors at the beginning of the year and run out of money half way through, leaving many kids with unmet needs. 

The problem lies in public school funding, but the problem also lies within the social stigma that has arisen from mental illness. Why are these children, why is Gabriel a second grader being sent to the hospital as if this were a medical case, but then being released for class the next day. Instead of receiving the help he needs, Gabriel is being pushed through the system just as many people who suffer from mental illnesses are. What are some basics that these mental health counselors are doing that can be taught to teachers to help reverse the rule about sending children to hospitals for disturbance issues? This is a waste of money and time for all parties involved. 

Gabriel went through 3 counselors, and when the article was written in April of 2012, his counselor had left his job, and Gabriel began with a new woman. He had an outburst was sent to the hospital, and again released for school the next day. There is a greater problem at hand for school policy regarding mental illness and for the students who suffer from such issues. 




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