October 7, 2010
AFT Responds to New Report on Effects of Natural Disasters on
The National Commission on Children and Disasters (NCCD) released its “2010 Report to the President and Congress.” The report highlights the long-lasting emotional trauma and family instability suffered by children after natural disasters, and makes recommendations for how the federal government can prevent or mitigate these negative effects.
WASHINGTON—The report from the NCCD contains thoughtful and comprehensive insights into the trauma suffered by children who live through events like Hurricane Katrina long after their stories disappear from the headlines.
The AFT agrees with the NCCD’s assessment that, as a nation, we can do a better job of ensuring that our children and communities are equipped to respond to and rebound from natural disasters. Schools should be an integral part of the effort to create the kinds of supports that are vital in the aftermath of a disaster. Community school models set the tone for providing the services—such as healthcare, nutrition and counseling—needed by children, parents and families, particularly in economically distressed neighborhoods. We should make every effort to ensure that teachers and school staff receive appropriate training in disaster response and the delivery of emergency services.
This report is a great vehicle for creating a dialogue about the relationship between our schools and the safety, health and security of our communities.
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The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.