Superintendent Hofmeister Speaks Before Congress About Gun Violence, Trauma In Schools

Wednesday, September 11th 2019, 7:59 am
By: Tess Maune

Oklahoma's State Superintendent testified in Washington D.C. before a Congressional panel about gun violence and trauma in schools.

Superintendent Hofmeister is one of four panelists invited to go before a U.S. House subcommittee hearing on "trauma-informed instruction."

She spoke about how Oklahoma supports students with trauma.

The state is part of a case study for how to combat childhood trauma in schools.  So, Hofmeister had a unique take on the subject. She told lawmakers authentic relationships between educators and students are powerful in mitigating trauma's impact.

"When we ask students what they need from their teachers, their message is consistent: 'Get to know us. Connect with us. Care about us as people,'" she said.

Oklahoma has one of the highest rates for what is known as Adverse Childhood Effects, or ACEs, traumatic events in childhood.

The state has also become a national leader in recognizing and treating ACEs. A recent $12 million grant made it possible for Oklahoma to hire regional mental health professionals and fund training programs for teachers. 

This summer alone more than 4,000 Oklahoma teachers were trained in recognizing and responding to trauma. 

The CEO of Chicago Public Schools, an associate Superintendent in rural West Virginia, and the California Surgeon General were also part of the panel.