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Brookfield Schools And WCSU Partner To Identify Troubled Students

Gabriel Lomas Photo Credit: Western Connecticut State University
Western Connecticut State University is working with the Brookfield School District in finding ways to identify students who may need emotional support. Photo Credit: File

DANBURY, Conn. -- Western Connecticut State University and the Brookfield School District are working together to educate school staff on how to identify students who might need emotional or mental health support while there is still time to help them.

Gabriel Lomas, professor of education and educational psychology at WCSU, is leading training for middle and high school staff to provide “more awareness on troubling behavior so that some stabilization can be put in place.”

If it proves effective, Lomas said, the program could be offered to districts throughout the region.

The Brookfield program is supported with a $1,000 “Typical or Troubled” grant from the American Psychiatric Foundation. The money will pay for books and information for teachers and staff.

Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School murders in 2012, the state legislature passed several laws regarding the physical safety of schools and evaluation of emotional, mental and behavioral health issues among students.

“Most teachers have such a jammed curriculum that they’re often not exposed to information and literature that can help them identify behavior that needs to be addressed,” Lomas said. “We’re making inroads to destigmatize mental illness and create early intervention.”

Each member of the staff of the middle and high schools will attend the 90-minute training sessions.

The evidence-based curriculum is similar to that taught in education courses for aspiring teachers at WCSU, Lomas said.

“We’re creating more awareness in the classroom, which will help teachers to identify troubling behavior and methods to stabilize the situation,” he said.

For more information, call the WCSU Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

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