BTU Member and Higginson educator Elsa Jimenez-Vera writes powerfully in the Bay State Banner about one of our contract priorities: ending student homelessness:
When homeless children come to school, teachers are often the first to spot problems the students are experiencing away from school. Their clothes look like they could use a wash, their head is down and their eyes look sad, they’re tired after a bad night of sleep and often haven’t done homework.
There are about 3,500 Boston public school students who have no fixed address. As incredible as it sounds, 6 percent of Boston’s 56,000 students are homeless. They might live temporarily in a run-down motel, move from shelter to shelter, stay in substandard housing or “couch surf” from house to house.
While homeless students might try to cover up what they’re going through, teachers are part of the front-line army, knowing the signs of homelessness and doing what they can to help overcome their obstacles to learning. Homeless students often come to school exhausted and depressed because of chaos in their after-school lives. Many are chronically absent. They have serious transportation issues just to get to school. They might be hungry and haven’t eaten a healthy meal in a very long time. They need an extra shirt or two, a warm coat for the winter, hygiene products. They need ready access to medical and dental care as well as social and emotional services to help them through their challenges. They need after-school programs, both academic and recreational, and would benefit from an adult mentor.
See Elsa’s full article, “Hub Schools, with wraparound services, are like outstretched arms for homeless students” on the Bay State Banner website.
Read more of our contract priorities in Creating the Schools Our Students Deserve: btu.org/contract