The continued saga of how to eliminate disproportionate discipline has led a local school districts to utilize mental health training of teachers. The implementation of this strategy continues to redirect the focus from teachers to students which will eventually result in an unsolved dilemma. Schools must respond to the root cause of disproportional disciple which will eliminate the necessity of metal health training for teachers along with other unfounded strategies.

There are many rules that preschool teachers enforce. According to the article, 50,000 preschoolers are suspended each year. Can mental health training for teachers make a difference?, teachers complain that children become a problem by:

  1. Crying
  2. Have Meltdowns
  3. Aggression Towards Adults
  4. Aggression towards Other Students
  5. Name Calling

Preschool teachers respond to a crying toddler in ways that continue to upset the young person therefore contributing to a cycle that suspends that student without reporting to administrators how their behaviors contribute to the problem. Also, it is not reported that teachers opt to contact parents requesting that they pick up their child which also goes unreported. This is also as effective as suspending a student without adding to the suspension statistics.

Preschool teachers are also known to yell at students. When a teacher yells, uses harsh words, shames, degrades, or embarrasses a student, such behavior influences all students. Teachers who exhibit these fore mentioned behaviors develop a culture where all students reject the teacher and their authority.

This rejection by students will lead to additional frustrations for teachers. Teachers will then have a spike in stress. Teachers become overwhelmed which will contribute to increasing the employee turnover rate for preschool teachers.

It has been reported that many preschool teachers are unprepared for interacting with preschool students due to a lack of training. One of the biggest contributing factors is that many early childhood teacher-training programs include very little, if any training regarding the social and emotional needs of young children. It means that many teachers are unprepared to successfully help the children that are labeled as difficult.

According to experts, it is believed that mental health training will help preschool teachers. It is reported that mental health professionals have the capability to help teachers with difficult students. For example, it was reported that a student was aggressive towards other students and teachers. The health care professional recommended that the preschool staff try to understand what the child needed to cope with stress. It was an overall success and helped the child to become successful because the teachers became empathetic towards the child.

Empathy is the experience of understanding another person’s thoughts, feelings, and condition from his or her point of view, rather than from one’s own. Empathy facilitates prosocial or helping behaviors that come from within, rather than being forced, so that people behave in a more compassionate manner. It only makes sense that a child who is a four year old should have teachers who’s responses will side with the empathy side rather than the side of discipline that continues to led to disproportionate discipline. Since we have disproportionate disciple, the initial root cause has to be the cultural biases that these preschool teachers bring to the school.

On strategy that preschool teachers must use is identifying the possible reasons for crying, having meltdowns, aggression towards adults and other children, and name calling. Some preschoolers have a harder time adjusting to change than others, and they’ll protest any change with tears. “Some kids just have a personality that’s overly cautious or slow to open up to new situations,” says Jaquie Nickoriuk, a psychologist with Aspire Special Needs Resource Centre in Red Deer, Alta. “It’s normal.” Taking this into consideration, preschool teachers need to develop positive relationships with their students instead of resorting to mental health training.

Related Articles

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California Hopes to Fight Preschool Expulsions with Mental Health Services

All the best,

Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

(856) 566-3267


Author of:

  • Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships
  • Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology
  • The Raccelerate Formula App
  • Treasures of Hidden Racism in Education
  • The Ultimate Guide to Classroom Racism Management
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“Dr. Campbell did his part and now all we have to do is run with it.”
 ~ Tom Coleman ~
Woodstown-Pilesgrove Public Schools Superintendent of Schools

“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.

~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor

“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools”

~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President

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