By Maurice J. Elias
Depending on how one might estimate, an approximate four million students have parents who are connected to the military, and of those, at least 80% go to public schools. However, teachers often do not know when these children are in their classes, and their many social-emotional needs are not being adequately met.
Children of military and veteran parents was the topic of a White House conference — Operation Educate the Educators — convened by Dr. Jill Biden and Joining Forces (a military initiative with First Lady Michelle Obama). I had the privilege of attending the conference last month, and I would like to share some of what I learned.
First, schools should seek to know which children have parents who are connected to the military. These children suffer from what I refer to as ecological disruptions of nurturance. These disruptions are related to frequent relocations, which means changes in schools, peers, health care professionals, and religious institutions.