On October 3, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Brown County and the Honors Program hosted a screening of the Paper Tigers documentary in Fort Howard Theater for nearly 50 community members, CASA advocates, and SNC students.
Paper Tigers follows several teens over the course of their senior year at Lincoln Alternative High School located in Walla Walla, Washington. There low grades, violence, and truancy were raging out of control before the administration made a drastic change in their ideology. Paper Tigers provides an inside look at the non-punitive administrative approach for troubled students. It also presents the ACE’s program (Adverse Childhood Experiences) to the public, which tests children for signs of childhood trauma and gives them identifiable terms for the various abuses they have suffered. This cutting-edge academic style is based upon scientific research that points to stress in the underdeveloped brain of adolescents caused by childhood trauma, which makes some students susceptible to cognitive underdevelopment. As a result, they are much more likely to make poor decisions and experience many physical health problems. One breakthrough way to lower this stress: the presence of a caring adult in their life. Paper Tigers showcases the positive school-wide influence of staff demonstrating genuine interest, care, and love for their individual students on a daily basis. The high school is also one of the very few to have a free medical clinic on campus that provides care and counseling to students.
After viewing the film, childhood trauma experts and community leaders from various programs such as Headstart and Green Bay Area Schools discussed the possibilities of implementing the change-making tactics seen in the film into local school systems. Overall, the film proved to be as informative as it was emotional for many who came to watch. Not only did citizens and students feel more informed about the phenomenon of childhood abuse and stress-causing factors in America, but concepts from the film were able to be practically related to ongoing situations in their own communities.
A big thank-you goes out to CASA of Brown County for sharing Paper Tigers with the St. Norbert College campus. CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, serves as “the voices of abused and neglected children and youth in Northeastern Wisconsin, seeking to protect and ensure them safe, permanent homes.” It recruits and trains local community members to advocate for children undergoing court cases until they are placed in a safe and permanent home. As the “eyes and ears of the court,” Volunteer Advocates - assigned by juvenile judges - work with a specific child or sibling group, conducting weekly visits during which the advocate makes observations of the child’s well-being and then submits a written report to the judge. In fact, a CASA advocate is “Often the only consistent adult presence in the lives of abused and neglected children.”
For more information about CASA, please visit: http://www.casabc.org/mission.