Lower Suspension Rates through ALIVE

A school in Connecticut is reimagining disciplinary methods. Rather than insist students leave their troubles behind when they enter the classroom, this school among others are offering therapy for students from troubled family backgrounds or other trauma. Rather than sending students away with suspensions, possibly leaving them with only their toxic home environments, the schools instead find help for students to keep them in the classrooms and achieving. The Animated Learning by Integrating and Validating Experience (ALIVE) is a trauma response program that provides therapists to work with teachers to identify trauma in students. They employ drama therapists who hold master’s degrees in psychology and theater, offering one on one therapy for students. Freshman are required to take a course that uses drama and role play. Over half of U.S. school children experienced traumatic events tied to poverty or family dysfunction, putting them at greater risk for suspensions when they act out as a response to trauma.

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