Event to Focus on Students and Trauma

Miss Kansas 2022 Ayanna Hensley. and two experts from Salina USD 305 Schools will join a panel of experts in the field of childhood trauma at an event at Fort Hays State University.

Hensley is the daughter of parents who struggled with substance abuse and incarceration. She decided to make promoting awareness of the impact of trauma and connecting those affected to intervention options the focus of her “Social Impact Initiative” as Miss Kansas.

According to the school, Fort Hays State University will host a panel discussion on the impact of childhood trauma at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, September 20, in the Black and Golf Room in the university’s Memorial Union Building.

According to federal statistics, more than two-thirds of children in the U.S. report experiencing a traumatic event by age 16. Adverse childhood experiences and trauma disproportionately affect rural schoolchildren, putting them at greater risk of academic underachievement throughout their lives.

Dr. Sarah Lancaster, an assistant professor in Fort Hays State University’s College of Education and an expert in this field, offers this preview of the September 20 panel discussion:

“Trauma is much more far-reaching than some realize. Chronic stress, poverty, parents in prison, witnessing an act of violence or feeling threatened by one, natural disasters, medical issues, etc., can all be trauma. The basic needs of all students have to be met before learning can occur. A student cannot “check” their personal life at the door and learn math because that’s what they are supposed to be doing at school.”

Two distinguished panelists from USD 305 in Salina will join Ayanna and Dr. Lancaster for the discussion, including Dr. Curtis Stevens, director of secondary education, and Dr. Lindsey Sellers, the counseling department chair.

Also joining the panel will be Rekala Tuxhorn, an instructor in the university’s Department of Social Work and an experienced K-12 therapist, and Amanda Brown from the FHSU Health and Wellness Services.

The event is offered as a service to education and social services professionals in our region and is open to the public. Attendees are asked to RSVP via email to [email protected].