There is a common thread among so many critical issues today. If one looks at it from a macro level we can see breakdowns in social justice underly homelessness, chronic illness, domestic violence, poor educational outcomes…the list goes on and on. The plethora of empirical data available to demonstrate this rather intellectual concept is fascinating. Still, if you think about it, most of the information is common sense. If a child doesn’t know where she will sleep that night can she concentrate on schoolwork?
A teacher friend of mine got a frantic call from a student one night. She had a paper due and an exam the next day. When she got home her mother told her they had to move that night. They were getting evicted.
Would your child do well in those circumstances? Amazingly this child did. She called a trusted teacher who helped her work through a barrier overwhelming to a young student. In the end they agreed the child could use the library to get her work done, though chaos reigned at home. When she was done she went home to pack knowing one part of her life was still ok. At least the trauma of eviction did not exacerbate the harm for a good student to get bad grades.
A simple intervention of a caring adult protected this child from the brunt of this particular social injustice. Whatever the reason for the eviction she was bearing the burden of it. If we are willing to put aside judgement and connect the dots we can reduce social injustice.
For more on homelessness and educational outcomes see http://www.bctf.ca/publications/NoteFromTeachers.aspx?id=14584