They often say that public school teachers are on the front lines when it comes to issues plaguing American children. And in a recent survey, over 2,200 them admitted to seeing a sharp increase in the amount of students with addicted parents and caregivers. This ranges across a broad age spectrum and certainly brings forth some important conversation points.
Not surprisingly, the origin of the survey goes back to the country’s crippling opioid crisis. With millions of families impacted across the U.S., it is becoming more commonplace for moms, dads and grandparents to fall prey to addiction. And tragically, their children are victims as well; which has become all too apparent to teachers nationwide.
Of the 2,200 teachers surveyed, over half saw a “significant” increase in parental addiction issue among their students. Others reported “some” difference, at the very least. Sadly, only six percent believed there was a decrease or no change at all within the past year.
The study also delved into classroom solutions, where applicable. Roughly 130 questions were asked, which included how teachers’ view their ability to handle students from addicted homes and what possible training resources they would need.
Dr. Jessica Troilo, who helped administer the study, spoke publicly about the results. She emphasized that, as sad as these results may be, they should not be all that surprising.
“Unfortunately, many people in active addiction are also parents,” Dr. Troilo explained. “But little is known of what teachers are facing in the midst of this epidemic, and that was the purpose of our study. We were looking for research on what teachers are experiencing, and we couldn’t find anything.”
The truth of the matter is, many of these teachers are having face new unplanned scenarios. Survey answers revealed that some had to wash children’s clothes at school. Others brought mats into the classroom so students could sleep after a difficult night at home. There were also conversations about bringing in extra food to feed neglected kids.
The final portion of the survey had respondents freely express their feelings with open ended answers. This was also telling and says a lot about morale within this industry.
“I wish back in the 1980s in college, that I had chosen another profession,” one teacher wrote. “I see my peers in other professions happy and pleased with their careers at this point, at least not struggling. I have been struggling the entire time, all these years, and it only gets worse. And I feel I am more equipped than 95 percent of most teachers in this field with my background experiences.”
Let’s hope the feedback gets in front of the proper decision makers and true progress can be made.