Teaching the Emotionally Disturbed

DALLAS — Dealing with violence in the classroom and identifying mental health issues are at the center of a new course being offered to education majors at Misericordia University.

Jared Loughner and Adam Lanza. They’re names we’ll never forget, names associated with the victims we’ll always remember.

As students at Misericordia University head back to class, some education majors will work this semester to hopefully prevent mass shootings in the future.

The university in Luzerne County is offering a new class called Methods and Management for Emotional Support. It’s a class designed to help future elementary and special education teachers identify and help emotionally disturbed students.

“What are the markers that we should look out for? What are the characteristics of kids that suggest that maybe they’ll grow up or become teenagers who experience violence?” said Dr. Joseph Rogan, a teacher education professor.

Those are just a few of the questions Doctor Joseph Rogan hopes to help these 26 students answer. He calls “Methods and management” an important course for elementary ed majors. He says the earlier a troubled child is helped, the better.

“Children become themselves by about 4th or 5th grade, so if we can help shape them by the time they’re in 4th or 5th grade, we’ll have done some good,” said Dr. Rogan.

This new course is a requirement for special and elementary education majors. But the students say after the shooting in newtown, it made them want to take this class to learn how to help their future students.

“It’s hard to see but I would love to maybe eventually be able to tell who needs the help and who doesn’t,” said Misericordia senior Kelsey Cameron.

“I feel like it’s the perfect time for us to have it since there are such issues outside in the real world that we can discuss and learn from,” said Misericordia junior Holly Welsh.

And maybe even prevent something like what happened in Newtown from happening again.

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