Post Date: October 24, 2006

On Tuesday, October 17, four HLS students at the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative — a partnership between HLS’ Hale and Dorr Legal Services Center and Massachusetts Advocates for Children — took part in a symposium to educate teachers on how trauma impacts a child’s learning.

“Having the opportunity to participate in this symposium is a great way for us to translate what we’re learning from our cases into big picture, systemic change,” said Mariel Davenport Pollock, a second-year student whose policy project will be a white paper focused on reforming state teacher education, and will serve as the basis for any legislative advocacy on the subject.

The other students who participated, all 3Ls, were Kimberly Ruthsatz, Emily Kernan and Laura Eichhorn. Each student has represented children who have been traumatized by family violence, and each shared her experience with trauma-related learning and behavior problems during the symposium.

TLPI’s goal is to ensure that teachers receive adequate training on the ways that trauma from exposure to violence can impact a child’s ability to focus, behave appropriately and learn in school.

TLPI is headed by HLS lecturers on law Susan Cole and Michael Gregory, co-authors of Helping Traumatized Children Learn. This year’s event was attended by representatives of the state departments of Education and Social Services, as well as by well-known experts in the fields of trauma and learning.