Military children are an overlooked population in need of more attention from school officials, according to David Albright, an assistant professor at the MU School of Social Work. In the past, children from military families were shown as children with an increased risk for emotional, behavioral, and relationship difficulties.
Albright said teachers, administrators, guidance counselors, and social workers should be aware of military culture and how it could influence the behavior of children at school.
“Many children who act out in school are asked about common causes of bad behavior, such as bullying or parents’ divorce,” Albright said. “Rarely are children asked whether parents or siblings serve in the military. If their loved ones are away, these children may be experiencing feelings of separation or worrying about whether their parents will be injured or killed. If family members recently have returned from active duty, they may be displaying symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) that can make children’s home lives more stressful.”
“Right now, we don’t have a set of approved best practices for supporting children from military families,” Albright said. “If schools begin asking whether family members serve, then we can better help these children.”
Albright recommended that interventions should be developed that could then be implemented in schools that directly target military children and their family members.