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Trenton Charter School Head Uses Mindfulness to Help Kids Cope with Stress

Dale Caldwell says many of his students suffer from ‘urban traumatic stress disorder’ brought on by city violence

The head of a Trenton charter school believes training in mindfulness can help children in New Jersey’s cities cope with what he calls urban “traumatic stress disorder.” Dale Caldwell brought two experts to the Village Charter School, where they have been working with eighth-to-11th graders from the Boys and Girls Club.

Trish Miele, founder of To Be Mindful, said students quickly “settled in” as she trained them in meditation techniques designed to help them deal with stress. Clarisa Romero, founder of Mindful Consultants, described teenagers as vulnerable to exposure to violence because their brains are still developing.

Caldwell’s new term, UTSD, is a play on the PTSD associated with combat veterans. Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Tolga Taneli, head of the division of child and adolescent psychiatry at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, said some young people report surviving shootings from a few feet away, violence closer than most soldiers see. Caldwell said traumatized students in a class affect the ability of others to learn.

Read the full story on NJTV News Online, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.

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