Teen Perspective (02:27)
Kevin, a student at El Centro de Estudiantes, thinks pain is the greatest teacher. Hope gets him through the tough times and he would not change anything about his life.
What Happens to Youth from Traumatized Environments? (01:38)
David Bromley, Director of El Centro de Estudiantes describes the types of teenagers who attend his school.
Educational Trauma (03:19)
Teachers from El Centro de Estudiantes describe how students are inherently distrustful of adults and believe everything has a price as result of violence in the neighborhood or broken families.
Typical Students (03:15)
Many students have been incarcerated, raped, or self-medicate. Stefanie Contraras elaborates that even if these things have not happened to a student, it is still present in the environment. Marcos Almonte explains how the bad things in their lives have been consistent while the good things are sporadic.
Trauma of the Neighborhood (04:11)
Joseph Lively describes how students need a few minutes to calm down after arriving at school. Zeelyna Wise explains how these students believe abuse and violence are a part of life, which she thinks helps aid their resilience. Almonte describes an event in his classroom.
Students Speak (02:36)
Students from El Centro discuss how the neighborhood and media affect them. Brenda Jordan describes how stress from the parents trickles down to the children and kids inherently want to be like their parents. Joshua Velasquez talks about removing himself from the stress for the good of the child.
Exposure to Stressors (04:07)
Jordan describes how teenagers become defensive, shut down, and apathetic when left unprotected. Erica Rivera describes how she refused to trust anyone because she has been hurt so many times before.
Hypervigilance and Reactivity (03:15)
Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg interviews three students about why they believe traumatized kids are reactive. Rivera explains that these kids are fed up with negative emotions. Jordan elaborates that they do not have the skills to control their tempers— thinking adds stress, and snapping avoids that stress.
Teachers explain that kids naturally become hyper-vigilant due to neighborhood events like shootings, domestic violence, and drugs. Almonte describes how this manifests in the school setting.
Hypervigilance in School (02:02)
Contreras provides an example of an everyday "beef" at El Centro and explains how it is never just about the independent issue but a convoluted series of events and personalities. She elaborates on how teachers try to solve these problems.
Reactive Students (03:51)
Teachers describe how traumatized youth are primed to react and how it manifests in their bodies. Because they have no coping mechanisms, any small stressor will put them over the threshold. Wise explains how the cycle replicates from teenagers modeling what they have seen adults do.
Difficulty With Trust (02:34)
Teachers describe why traumatized youth are inherently distrustful. Almonte explains that when students arrive at El Centro, their trust has been violated so many times they believe they cannot trust anyone.
Dissociating or "Zoning-Out" (03:19)
Students discuss why they zone out. Teachers explain that when the traumatized youth reach a tipping point— they become out of control and need to be physically restrained. It can be a conscious choice where the teen needs to display their emotions.
Unresponsive Students (02:57)
Almonte provides an example of a student "zoning out" and how he approached the situation. Lively explains that students shut down because it is the only place they have complete control and can deescalate in their own time. Wise elaborates that it is a protection mechanism.
Lying or Confabulation (03:32)
Students discuss whether traumatized youth lie. While Jordan says she always told the truth. Rivera thinks it easier it is to lie since some adults will not leave you alone until they hear what they want. Velazquez explains that it is better to lie to in order to avoid abuse at home.
Lying as a Protection Mechanism (02:32)
Teachers discuss how lying comes from fear. Explaining that concept to traumatized youth helps them tell the truth in the future. Almonte describes how teens tend to believe the lies they tell and believe they deserve the trauma.
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