Teachers urged to
More than 2,000 members of the Hawaii Army National Guard's 29th Infantry Brigade are set to go to the Middle East as part of a wave of reservist unit call-ups across the nation.
Maj. Gen. Robert Lee, state adjutant general, told Board of Education members yesterday that the National Guardsmen's children will likely be hit hard by the year-long absence of one or even both of their parents.
He said teachers need to be trained to pinpoint troubling changes in affected students and "be aware of some of the signs of depression."
"A couple of weeks after Mom or Dad is gone, you might start to see a difference" in children, Lee said. "They're used to seeing Dad and Mom going away for two weeks, not 12 months. And that's what's happening. ... (It) actually causes a much greater strain on the family structure."
Lee said most of the students whose parents will be deployed are on Oahu, but there are also dozens on the Big Island, Maui and Kauai.
He said the Army Reserve's Joint Venture Education Program will train teachers and school administration statewide on how to monitor students affected by the deployment. The program has been successful in working with schools near military bases, where there is a high population of soldiers' children, he said.
Army Reserve officials are compiling a list of schoolchildren affected by the 29th Brigade's deployment. Lee said the list will be shared with the Education Department and schools with affected students.
Also, Lee said there are at least 24 public school teachers and 28 state Department of Education employees who are set to be deployed.
One of the employees is an assistant principal in Hilo, Lee said. "It's going to impact the entire state," he said.
Schools Superintendent Pat Hamamoto asked that the list of employees and teachers who are set to be deployed be forwarded to the Education Department so that officials can plan for replacements and substitutes.
The Education Department has no way of telling how many employees are being deployed because it keeps no centralized data on reservists, she said.
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