EPISODE #76: And How Are the Children?
Guests: Dr. Terry Harris, Executive Director of Student Services, Rockwood School District
Aashish Allu, Student, Rockwood School District
“And how are the children?” The traditional Masai greeting is his moral compass. And unlike the usual, “How are you?” – an American greeting that typically doesn’t wait for the person’s real answer – the Maisai greeting is not rhetorical or dismissive in nature. When Dr. Terry Harris asks it, he wants a response. And his greatest hope is that the children themselves will genuinely reply: “The children are well.” That’s why, as Rockwood School District’s executive director of Student Services, Dr. Harris invites the students themselves to lead the charge of helping the adults in the room understand how the children are really faring.
To get a gauge on Rockwood SD students’ emotional and mental health last year, high school senior Aashish Allu and fellow students administered an anonymous student survey to get a pulse on the mental health of their schoolmates. Of the 852 students surveyed, an alarming 550 (or 65%) across the third largest school district in Missouri admitted that they were struggling. Something needed to be done. With Dr. Harris’ guidance, Aashish and the classmates brought kids and teens to the table with adults, not only to be listened to but also to teach the adults about what was really going on with them – the pressures, the pandemic, what they were feeling and going through. The administrators and teachers listened and responded. So how are the children today? Tune in to this week’s “Mental Health Matters” with Tom Duff, LCSW to find out what the students’ candid answers revealed and what is being done to ensure that all children and adults can confidently answer the greeting: “The children are well!”