Trauma-Informed Classrooms Technical Assistance Bulletin (School-Justice Partnership National Resource Center)
The aim of a trauma-informed classroom is to infuse an understanding of the impact of trauma and adverse life experiences on students into the classroom culture and promote a physically and psychologically safe environment to foster student growth. More specifically, psychological safety refers to individuals’ inner sense that they are safe because of their ability to feel capable of managing stressors or connecting with someone else who can help the individual manage stressors that make her feel unsafe. From an organizational perspective, implementing a trauma-informed approach, “realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery; recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in [individuals] involved in the system; responds by integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices; and seeks to actively resist re-traumatization” (Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA], 2016). While administrators and school policy-makers are generally responsible for establishing trauma-informed practices school-wide, educators play an integral role in developing a classroom structure that promotes safety, appropriately uses disciplinary action and related resources such as school resource officers, and helps students manage overwhelming responses to stress—the heart of a trauma informed approach.