Health & Spirit

Kindergarten teacher's request for mental health books goes viral

Jerry Davich, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Health & Fitness

While too many of us play the blame game, DuBrock shapes the minds of children. And while our country's lawmakers debate whether to arm teachers with weapons, DuBrock is arming students with what she believes they desperately need.

"I can make school a place they want to be, and teach them that learning can be fun. I worry about them day and night," she wrote on Facebook.

Her recent post went viral, grabbing the attention of the social media world with behind-the-scenes glimpses of her job.

She wrote, "Over the years I've had children that have been abused, neglected, a parent or both parents in jail, more parents that have been terminally ill than I can count, and children that have lost a parent to illness, and a few to suicide."

DuBrock knows her students inside and out. She greets them at the door every morning. She tells them they're loved. She has given thousands of hugs, believing that each hug may be the only hug a child receives that day.

"Other students come in with parents that are inflicted with addictions, depression and other mental illnesses. Some (kids) come in with high anxiety to a point where they already see a weekly specialist. All these situations used to be rare or even unheard of, but now it is part of a sad norm," she wrote.

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She worries about their mental health as much as their physical well-being. Earlier this school year DuBrock wrote a grant proposal for an after-school yoga and mindfulness program. More than 100 students signed up.

"I tell them that school is their safe place and I have always believed it," DuBrock said.

In her post, she put out a request for materials for her classroom, citing school budget constraints and the lack of state funding. Along with the school's six-member kindergarten team of educators, they launched a movement to prioritize mental health education in schools, beginning in DuBrock's classroom.

"It needs to be a part of our school day," DuBrock said. "As our country's climate seems to be hitting a low, a needed step to a solution became more eminent."


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