CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Over the last year we have heard school counselors tell us just how crucial it is to offer support for Kanawha county students.
“There is so much trauma these kids go through and deal with on a daily basis more than I can fathom as an adult” Libby Bird, a behavioral and mental health coordinator with Kanawha County Schools, told 13 News back in January of 2020.
Often times the trauma they face comes from their home life. Chelsey Cosby, a Mary C Snow counselor, told us in November 2019, “It is a daily battle and I can almost get tears in my eyes when I say it or it’s hard for me to talk about because it is extremely hard to see what our kids are facing and how they have to have so many resiliency skills to overcome them.”
So now that home is the only place students can go and counselors can’t see them in person … what is being done?
“I’ve been posting videos on Schoology with weekly messages and skills on how to calm down, different ways to help manage our emotions and then I have also been posting videos on Schoology with our regular counseling lessons,” says Emily Patterson, Kanawha County’s lead elementary school counselor.
Patterson also says if their students aren’t checking in online then they are taking it a step further to make sure those students are safe.
“When all else fails my principal and we just we’ll get in our cars and we will go knock on doors, we can have a conversation with someone from six feet away in their yard or in their house just to make sure everything is okay,” Patterson tells 13 News.
Emily Patterson has also started riding the meal buses every Monday with her principal to check in on the kids at the stops. This isn’t just working for these counselors. It’s personal.
“Anytime you need to vent, I’m here … I think it’s important for them to know we are still here we do support them…reassuring them that we are all in this together and we will try our best to stay as normal as possible,” says Nitro High School counselor, Megan Meadows.