Sometimes life is not easy for a child of a military service member or veteran.
South Carolina is working to ensure educators know what challenges a military child faces and how they can help the child grow through those challenges.
“People forget that there are still deployments going on for our active, National Guard and reserve forces and what that creates is a different home environment for the children,” said retired Army Brig. Gen. Keith Martin, Program Manager with the Military Child Education Coalition.
The coalition provides training for teachers in military communities across the country to help children cope with the unique challenges faced by a parent’s deployment.
Funding from the South Carolina General Assembly in the last three years has provided training to educators in military communities.
“South Carolina is one of only four states to step up and fund educational programs for military children,” Martin said. She said Alabama, Texas and Florida also “recognize the importance of addressing the unique issues and challenges confronting military children.”
The federal government and individual military branches previously provided funding, but Martin said that funding has “dried up.”
“The children are having to deal with the absence of a parent,” he said. “They’re having to deal with a parent who may have come home from deployment, perhaps with some issues related to their service and all of that tends to cascade to the children. It tends to affect their everyday lives.”
The coalition helps educators “recognize issues and challenges and respond to them with sensitivity and informed support.”
Recently the coalition hosted a program in Aiken called “Supporting Military Children through School Transitions: Foundations.” It plans to host more training sessions statewide.
Martin said communities such as Columbia, Sumter, Beaufort, Charleston and their surrounding counties have been hosting military families for years.
“Every one of those communities has active programs including the school systems to provide support, make military children feel like they’re welcome, to make service members themselves feel like they’re welcome,” Martin said. “Many of the employers in those areas have very active programs to hire veterans.”
Click here for more information in the Military Child Education Coalition.