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Not all kids excelling with in-person learning

Geometry class at Frederick Law Olmsted #156
Buffalo Public Schools
What Geometry class at Frederick Law Olmsted #156 looks like as in-person learning returns.

A lot of school kids are having a tough time as they return to every day in school. That from Ken-Ton Schools psychologist Larry Scott, who's also a Buffalo School Board member.

Besides his regular role as a school psychologist, Scott is also an alternatives to suspension specialist. He said kids in middle and high school are having particular difficulty.

He said problems range from some students sent back home to quarantine after exposure to someone with COVID, to those who get in trouble with social media.

"You add in, now, the social media aspects that we are living with. The Devious Licks that TikTok was circulating. And that has been a temptation for many of our adolescents and has led to some vandalism and theft in our schools," Scott said. "So that has been certainly some time that I have had to spend addressing with many of our students."

He said a lot of this is because the brains of teens aren't fully formed.

"A lot of dysregulated emotion and behavior. A lot of testing the limits. A lot of negative interaction with each other that, I think, after the fact, when we revisit and emotions are calmed down, we're able to have a better understanding that it was an impulsive response to a situation where emotions were running high," he said.

Scott said with remote learning, teachers and staff didn't have the day-to-day contact with students where they realize the kid has problems and needs help. Now, it's showing up.

"When you're fully virtual, it's mostly we're focusing on the academic," he said. "Maybe you're checking in a little bit, socially and emotionally, but you aren't able to have those just random informal conversations and observations of students like you do in person."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.