This week, I attended several interim studies hosted by the House Common Education Committee, including one hosted by Rep. Trish Ranson of Stillwater. Earlier this year, she had requested a study to examine the benefits of violence de-escalation training for teachers and the need to help divert harm while attending to the needs of students in trauma.

Rep. Ranson told the committee that the interim study request came about through conversations with teachers about violence in their classrooms and schools. Our teachers are concerned about the safety of children in the classroom, in addition to worrying about their own safety. Violence in the classroom, as well as trauma in a student’s life outside the classroom, interferes with a student’s ability to learn.

Many violent situations in the classroom arise from students who unfortunately have undergone adverse childhood experiences, also referred to as ACEs. These experiences refer to traumatic events that occur in a person’s life prior to the age of 18 and are usually in the form of household challenges, abuse or neglect.

An ACE score is a tally of different types of abuse, neglect, and other adverse childhood experiences. Over 61% of adults have experienced at least one ACE, and Oklahoma has the highest prevalence nationally of children experiencing two or more ACEs. As well as presenting challenges while a student is in school, studies also show a tie between childhood trauma and health outcomes later in life.

There are also concerns about the need for violence de-escalation in the classroom given the large number of emergency certified teachers. Traditionally trained educators learn classroom management skills at the college level, but our emergency certified teachers don’t receive that type of instruction prior to entering their classrooms.

Additional training over de-escalation tactics that can be applied to the classroom may be needed to help teachers better respond to students who may be acting out, as well as utilize preventative skills and practices. This is something that every teacher, and even every parent, could use!

As November approaches, make sure you have a plan in place to vote! The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 9, and the registration form can be printed from https://www.ok.gov/elections/ and mailed in.

The last day to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 27, although the sooner, the better! Voting absentee gives you time to research candidates and state questions. Absentee ballots can be mailed in the included return envelope or they can be dropped off in-person at your county election board.

Early voting begins at county election boards on Thursday, Oct. 29 and continues through Saturday, Oct. 31. For those wishing to vote in person, you can vote at your polling place on Election Day, Nov. 3!

If you’re registered to vote, you can locate your polling place and view your sample ballot at https://okvoterportal.okelections.us/.

Don’t forget that there are several state questions on the ballot this year as well! I recommend you do your research and read multiple sources while deciding how to vote on these issues.

As always, you can contact me at 405-557-7304 or john.talley@okhouse.gov. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve you!

Rep. John Talley, a Republican, serves District 33 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which covers Logan and Payne Counties.

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