|Displaced K-12 Students in Alabama Schools
This bulletin highlights problems and issues among K-12 students displaced by Hurricane Katrina who were evacuated to Alabama’s Mobile and Baldwin counties. This work summarizes data on the number of displaced students enrolled in Mobile and Baldwin county schools as well as a small number of discussions (5) with school and county personnel familiar with the experiences of displaced students. This research is limited in scope and is intended as a preliminary assessment of social problems and issues that characterize the transition of displaced students.
Key Research Findings:
- As of May 2006, 581 displaced students were enrolled in Baldwin County and 3,100 in Mobile County. A total 5,434 K-12 displaced students were enrolled in Alabama schools.
- Displaced students faced a range of problems, including unstable or inadequate housing; lack of money and school supplies; inaccessible school and medical records; high levels of PTSD and related stress issues; and inadequate mental health support.
- High levels of emotional stress and depression led to poor academic performance, discipline problems, and irregular attendance among displaced students.
- Teachers dealing with displaced students had to modify lesson plans to accommodate the students’ varied abilities and high stress levels. County officials had to supply basic school supplies and other forms of assistance which displaced families could not afford.
- These negative social, psychological, and educational impacts are likely to continue for some students well into the future.
- More research is needed to fully understand the long-term social psychological impacts of displacement on families, students, and teachers at host schools, particularly systematic data collection.
- Greater resources should be made available to host school districts to support therapy and counseling for traumatized students and their family members.
J. Steven Picou, Professor, Department of Sociology, University of South Alabama, 251-460-6347, email@example.com.
1) J. Steven Picou and Brent K. Marshall. 2007. “Social Impacts of Hurricane Katrina on Displaced K-12 Students and Educational Institutions in Coastal Alabama Counties: Some Preliminary Observations.” Sociological Spectrum, 27:767-780.
The SSRC Katrina Task Force oversees a range of research projects
on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and acts as a clearinghouse for
information emerging from those projects. For additional literature on
Hurricane Katrina see our Research Bibliography. For more information about the SSRC Katrina Task Force see the Katrina Hub or contact Siovahn Walker at
firstname.lastname@example.org. For other Research Bulletins see our Archive.