SPRINGDALE, Ark. — Representatives from Ozark Guidance visited Elmdale Elementary School Oct. 4 to lead a professional development session about dealing with trauma in the classroom. 

The visit was a part of Mental Illness Awareness Week, which seeks to bring attention to individuals who deal with issues pertaining to mental illness. 

Michele Hutton, the principal of Elmdale Elementary School, said the class will help teachers better understand why kids act the way they do when experiencing trauma.

“I want us to understand that, so when children have these crazy behaviors, we respond the correct way,” Hutton said.  “So we help them, and not add to their problems.”

Hutton went on to say that the class was important for Elmdale’s educators and students, because the school has a poverty rate exceeding 91 percent and 75 percent of the students are learning English as a second language. 

Both of those factors can be strong sources of trauma for students.