The Gap in the System

The Background

Young people from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds are most at risk when considering attendance and engagement. Underlying reasons for these students’ lack of engagement often involve challenging home environments including parental attitudes towards education, instability and conflict, and individual issues such as low self-esteem, mental health issues, and a lack of connectedness to the school environment. As a result, children require personal support that they cannot receive from the classroom environment.

Sometimes, young people’s lack of understanding about how to deal with difficult or traumatic experiences leads them to act out during school hours, be placed on suspensions and be disengaged from the school system once again. Students get caught in suspension cycles, beginning with one day before accruing five and, eventually, twenty-one day suspensions. This is the result of an inability to relate to these young people and handle their problems effectively, leaving many students without a path to properly re-integrate and catch up in school.

Alienation from the school community often leads to emotional and behavioural issues, and more time spent around negative influences, and involvement in drugs, alcohol, and reckless behaviour, trapping youth in a cycle of poverty and crime.

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