Maltreated Students: What’s the Problem?



When I was a junior in high school, I applied for a teaching internship at a local elementary school and I was placed as a teaching assistant for an English teacher in sixth grade. I would stay for the first half of the day, from 8am to after they finished lunch, about 12pm. Afterwards I would head back to my high school for the last two periods of the day. While I was at the elementary school, I helped the students do homework, work on class assignments, answer questions about upcoming projects, practice flash cards, and memorize vocabulary lists.

I grew very close to the students in the class. They would come into school every morning, get their breakfast, and come sit and eat at my table in the classroom, telling me all about the day they had the day before. Every day when we took our daily bathroom break right before lunch time, they would always fight over who got to walk with me to the lunchroom, until one day was different. I noticed we were missing someone when we left from the bathroom break to head to the lunchroom so I trotted back to the classroom to see if he was straggling behind. I had found the student, who I will call Devin, where he remained at his desk in the classroom with his head face down into his crossed arms. I went and kneeled by his desk and asked him what was wrong. He just slightly tilted his head, just enough to let a ray of sunlight hit the stream of tears on his cheek.

“Nothing,” he said, “I’m fine.”

“You don’t look fine,” I answered. “Tell me what’s going on.”

He explained how the night before his mother and stepfather had gotten into an altercation which led to the stepfather verbally and physically assaulting Devin and his mother. Devin had multiple bruises to the cheeks and on his arm a large purple handprint-shaped bruise peeked out from under his sleeve.

I was horrified. I had never experienced or witnessed anything like that in my entire life and now that I was staring a young boy in his wet and bruised face I had no idea what to do. I finally convinced him to at least try to eat lunch and that I would do my absolute best to help him. I reported what happened to the teacher and she said they would take further action.

After that experience I was never the same. A new spot was formed in my heart, a spot for all the children that don’t have what they need in their lives in order to grow up to be the happiest and most successful they can possibly be. It also got me wondering, why does this happen? And what are the implications of child abuse on how well a student performs in school?

In my search I found multiple articles that presented research on the harmful effects of child maltreatment on cognitive, behavioral, and academic functioning. Within the three articles, by Crozier et. al, Sheppard, and Boden et. al, the only difference is simply the focus, whether it is a certain age group, race, gender, etc, and the methods used. While Crozier et. al administered several intelligence tests and looked at a racially diverse sample, Sheppard focused on math and reading percentiles and number of days absent across abused and nonabused children, and Boden et. al focused on the latent effects of child maltreatment with a sample of physical and sexual abuse victims in their twenties and how likely they are to achieve a college or professional degree. However, all articles presented conclude the same findings: child maltreatment negatively impacts all areas of development, ultimately degrading the overall development of the child in every aspect.

Children are the future, and without making sure children have a safe and consistent environment to not only learn, but also prosper and grow, we are hindering our ability to obtain a successful and righteous future society for generations to come.


Annotated Bibliography

Boden, Joseph M., L. John Horwood, and David M. Fergusson. “Exposure To Childhood Sexual And Physical Abuse And Subsequent Educational Achievement Outcomes.” Child Abuse & Neglect 31.10 (2007): 1101-1114. PsycINFO. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

In Boden’s “Exposure to childhood sexual and physical abuse and subsequent educational achievement outcomes” the relationship between CSA (childhood sexual abuse) and CPA (childhood physical abuse) in relation to failing academic achievement was examined. The study followed students in early adulthood, ages 18-21, who had been previously exposed to CSA and/or CPA. Boden et al. found that “increasing exposure to CSA and CPA was significantly associated with failing to achieve secondary school qualifications, gaining a Higher School Certificate, and gaining a university degree” (17).

Crozier, Joseph C., and Richard P. Barth. “Cognitive And Academic Functioning In Maltreated Children.” Children & Schools 27.4 (2005): 197-206. ERIC. Web. 8 Apr. 2016.

Crozier’s article, “Cognitive and Academic Functioning in Maltreated Children,” focuses on school-aged children, 6-15 years old, taken from a sample from the “National Survey of Child and Adolescent WellBeing (NSCAW), a nationally representative sample of children who have been reported to child welfare services because of alleged maltreatment” (2) that included all types of maltreatment, was racially diverse, and included both genders.

In comparison to nationwide averages for all of the tests performed, the children in the NSCAW sample were “more likely than normative samples to score a standard deviation or more below the mean on standardized measures of cognitive functioning and academic achievement” (12). Crozier et al. also concluded that “neither gender nor any age group shields children from the effect of maltreatment on cognitive and academic functioning” (12).

Sheppard, William N. “An ecological approach to understanding physical child abuse and the impact on academics: Differences between behaviors in physically abused and nonabused children regarding parental disciplinary practices, family interaction and family events and their effects on social interaction and school success.” Dissertation Abstracts International Section A 73. (2012). PsycINFO. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

In Sheppard’s “An ecological approach to understanding physical child abuse and the impact on academics,” the focus is on the effects of child abuse through a study of abused and nonabused students that examined their testing percentiles in math, reading, and number of days absent.

The study found that while “physically abused children were found to have lower reading percentiles, math percentiles, and higher absentee rates than nonabused children” (13), only the absentee rates were proved significantly different, however, “more factors were found to be correlated to nonabused children’s reading percentiles, math percentiles, and absentee rates than those of physically abused children” (16).

Maltreated Students: What’s the Problem?

Summary and Commentary on Paul Muldoon’s “Hedgehog”

In Paul Muldoon’s “Hedgehog” he describes the distrusting nature of the hedgehog. He compares the hedgehog to the snail, saying they both “share [a] secret” (lines 3-4). Muldoon carries the image of the secretive hedgehog throughout the entire poem and in the last stanza, he makes a connection from the hedgehog to a Christ-like figure, saying “We forget the god/Under this crown of thorns. We forget that never again/Will a god trust in the world” (lines 17-20).

Muldoon describes the hedgehog as distrusting and portrays this claim through its ability to become concave, curling itself into a ball with the needles pointing outward for protection. He employs a conversation between mankind and the hedgehog by writing “We say, Hedgehog, come out/Of yourself and we will love you” (lines 7-8).

By creating a dialogue, Muldoon makes the reader think about hedgehogs in a more personal way, as if they could talk. He creates the image of a speaking hedgehog, and what, if anything, would it say? How would we gain trust of a hedgehog?

I think Muldoon creates this personification on purpose. I think he wants the reader to think deeper about what it means to trust, and to gain one’s trust. He wants to make the reader think about how ruining trust, or dealing with someone who is void of trust, is important in creating and maintaining a relationship.

I think Muldoon effectively creates a subtle personification of the hedgehog, and efficiently uses metaphors, all the way from the “snail like a/Hovercraft” (lines 1-2), to the hedgehog being a “god” (line 17).

Muldoon, Paul. “Hedgehog.” Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 15 April 2016.

Summary and Commentary on Paul Muldoon’s “Hedgehog”

Summary/Commentary on Anne Lamott’s “Shitty First Drafts”

Anne Lamott’s “Shitty First Drafts” features a short, conversational guide to beat the inevitable, ‘writer’s block.’ Lamott describes, almost step by step, how to kick off a piece of writing through her anecdotal experience as a food review journalist for the California magazine. She talks about how in order to get to the final, polished product, she has to first sit down and hash out her thoughts into a “down draft.” The down draft is exactly what it sounds like: get the ideas down onto the paper so that you can move to the next draft-the “up draft.” This draft you fix “up” by going back over the writing and editing, deleting, and adding any parts that make this draft better than the previous. The last draft, maybe not the very last, depending on how many ‘fixer uppers’ you have to revise, is the “dental draft.” Lamott explains this with a simple metaphor, “the third draft is the dental draft, where you check every tooth, to see if it’s loose or cramped or decayed, or even, God help us, healthy.”

Anne Lamott employs humor and colloquial essence in “Shitty First Drafts” to best portray her point. She is assisting writers with helpful directions on how to eventually produce a sound final draft by relating to the reader and explaining that even she has trouble getting started on a piece of writing. This helps writers realize that writing is a process; it doesn’t happen overnight and it certainly doesn’t come easy. By using humor in her anecdotes, and in her title, Lamott further provides a sort of comfort for a struggling writer seeking advice.

Lamott, Anne. “Shitty First Drafts.” College of Arts & Sciences Writing, Rhetoric &Digital Studies. U of Kentucky, n.d. PDF. 9 Apr 2016.

Click to access 1-Shitty%20First%20Drafts.pdf



Summary/Commentary on Anne Lamott’s “Shitty First Drafts”

A Sumary and Commentary of Garrison Keillor’s Washing Post Article

After Donald Trump visited Lenoir-Rhyne University in early March, Garrison Keillor wrote an article for The Washington Post about the recent uproar of US citizens claiming to flee the country if Trump is elected as president of the United States.

In his article, Garrison Keillor satirizes not only Trump’s campaign but also Trump as a person. He only refers to Trump as a “Great White Snapping Turtle” and pokes fun at Trump’s flamboyancy when he purchased an expensive yacht only to become seasick after only having set sail once. While Garrison Keillor’s political views aren’t a thing of ambiguity, the main focus of this article is to explain why moving abroad won’t save anyone from having to hear or talk about Donald Trump.

Keillor states that “if you go to a foreign country to escape the Big Snapper, you will run into him wherever you go. Foreigners hear your voice, and it’s like you’re wearing a big red A around your neck…” to visualize that although running away from Trump may seem like a good idea, that in all reality, the farther you are away from your native country, the more you are stigmatized as a patriotic citizen of your homeland.

Keillor’s article is not only very relevant and easy to understand, but the humor that he adds keeps the reader reading. He portrays his political opinions without presenting an in-your-face-here’s-what-I-think essay that screams what political party he belongs to. He slides in satirical comments about Trump that attract all readers, whether in opposition or not, but without a doubt in laughter.


Keillor, Garrision. “Garrison Keillor: Think Moving Abroad Will save You from Trump? Think Again.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2016.

A Sumary and Commentary of Garrison Keillor’s Washing Post Article

Unit 1 Paper

Friend or Stranger?: A College Education Should Include Rooming With a Stranger Personalized

After committing to Lenoir-Rhyne University in January of 2015, and accepting a scholarship that requires on-campus living, my manhunt (or ‘woman’hunt) began: living on-campus meant I had to find a roommate. I thought about this for a few days, pondering first whether or not I should allow LR choose my roommate for me, or if I could find a young girl that I liked well enough to room with. After weighing the pros and cons of each, I decided to try to search for a roommate via various social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), and had decided that if I found someone then I would room with her, and if I hadn’t found someone by registration day then I would let LR choose for me.

I began to search on Twitter by typing in “#LRU19” into the search box. This way anytime “#LRU19” had been tweeted, it would come through the search. I used LRU for Lenoir-Rhyne University and nineteen for my graduation year in order to filter out any people who aren’t in my class. I found Casey Allen, an 18 year old redhead from Stanley County in North Carolina. We didn’t plan much; we didn’t organize who should bring what other than that I’d get the microwave and she’d bring her mini fridge.

I moved in two days before Casey because the Honors Academy moves in just a few days earlier than the rest of the student body, so I was there waiting for her when she arrived with her mom. After we got everything unpacked and put away Casey said her goodbyes and her mom left. We had a few hours to ourselves to talk and get a feel for each other. The first night in the dorm was pretty cool; we met our suitemates and hung out with a few other people from our hall. The first few weeks were like that, everyone being super nice and talking to everyone else, and then it stopped. People started to segregate, plagued by the inevitable schoolyard effect. Cliques form, people stop talking to friends because of other friends, and relationships that were just made disappear.

My friendship with Casey fluttered at the beginning. She took a stronger liking to one of our suitemates, Erin, and I started to feel left out of a lot of things. This was partially due to the fact that Erin and Casey were dating a pair of best friend football players and I wasn’t with them as much because I had a part time job. I began to stay at home more and kind of distanced myself from my roommates. And then one day it dawned on me: How different would my first college experience be if I had chosen to have a randomly assigned roommate? I pondered this ever since the first few weeks of college. Did I miss out on a great friendship? Or did I save myself from being forced to room with someone who I didn’t know and ended up not liking? These are all of the questions every on-campus student must consider when looking for a roommate.

A College Education Should Include Rooming With a Stranger explains the troubles for looking for a roommate and weighs the advantages and disadvantages of choosing your own roommate as well as being randomly assigned a roommate by the college.

Natasha Singer from The New York Times explains why is it so important for students to feel comfortable in their new dorm with their new roommate. She reports that students are adjusting to a whole new college experience and that is scary enough as it is. When they have to live with someone through this adjustment, the relationship between the two students is crucial on the well being of both students. In most extreme cases students who end up having a bad experience with their roommates will transfer or leave the college all together. Singer also explains what colleges are doing in order to prevent this from happening. Colleges are investing in compatibility programs for the students to sign up for in order to find other students that have the same interests. Students sign up for these apps and make an account and the apps set up a match of students based on what they have entered, kind of like a dating site.

On the other hand, Olga Khazan from The Atlantic reports that student roommates influence each other’s behaviors. She says that much will be lost if colleges allow students to choose their own roommates instead of doing a random assignment. Jesse Singal from The Science of Us writes, “when you examine this conundrum through the lens of ongoing economic, psychological, and sociological research into how roommates affect each other’s beliefs, interests, and prospects, it quickly becomes clears that rando roommates shouldn’t be avoided and excluded, but rather sought out and celebrated as an important part of the college experience” (OpTalk). The argument that students who are forced to room with other students who are unlike them end up becoming a more well-rounded individual that our society needs is also upheld by a Dartmouth economics professor, Bruce Sacerdote. He tells Singer, “the research has shown, convincingly, that having the right sort of roommate can expand horizons and open eyes in extremely important ways” (OpTalk).

In conclusion, whether or not colleges force random assignments or allow students to choose for themselves, the first-year college experience is going to vary from student to student and from school to school. By allowing students to choose roommates who are like them grants students the freedom to be comfortable in their dorm while randomly assigning roommates to students provides a new changing experience where they must adapt and understand different people.


Works Cited

“A College Education Should Include Rooming With a Stranger.” OpTalk A College Education Should Include Rooming With a Stranger Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Jan. 2016.

Unit 1 Paper

Summary of “Snow Day”

In Billy Collins’ poem, “Snow Day”, the speaker describes having a snow day: A day where everything from the nursery to the post office is closed. He talks about a “revolution” (1) of white snow and uninterrupted “blankness” (4). He talks about going outside with his dog and shaking a branch which knocks loose some snow that then falls over them, but he says for now he just sits in his house listening to all of the school closings over the radio. He then talks about the children being out of school and playing on the playground.

In the poem Collins uses specific language and key terms to allude to an image of a future of revolution among the town the speaker is in.

He says,

“Today we woke up to a revolution of snow,
its white flag waving over everything,
the landscape vanished,
not a single mouse to punctuate the blankness,
and beyond these windows
the government buildings smothered,
schools and libraries buried, the post office lost
under the noiseless drift,
the paths of trains softly blocked,
the world fallen under this falling.” (1-10)
He is using “revolution”, “white flag”, “government buildings smothered”, and “world fallen” in order to depict the image of a fallen government. The snow is a symbol of revolution; the snow shows a new future from the old buried past.
Summary of “Snow Day”