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After decades of unmet mental health needs in New Orleans schools, teachers and activists scramble to help kids on the brink (


By Kaylee Poche, Staff Writer, April 4, 2022

Amanda Schroeder saw a lot during her time as a school counselor in New Orleans.

Schroeder, who now works as the president of the nonprofit Communities in Schools, recalls the time a decade ago when she worked in a public school in New Orleans East. A kindergartener at the school would abruptly bolt from their desk, running out of the classroom without warning. Sometimes, he’d run out of the school building altogether.Screen Shot 2022-04-11 at 5.59.38 PM

According to Schroeder, there wasn’t an obvious trigger like being bullied. In fact, the child wouldn’t cry or ask for help before bolting. He’d get up with no warning and, just, run.

“It was a very dangerous situation,” Schroeder says. “The child would be able to access a busy street in moments if adults couldn't reach him fast enough.”

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