OLYMPIA, Wash. — Soldiers aren’t the only ones who need help when they return from deployments.
A recent study found that 24.8 of children in military families consider suicide.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 15 percent of adolescents consider suicide.
”It’s upsetting and surprising,” said Adrienne Perez.
Perez is a military liaison at Olympia’s Horizons Elementary School.
The North Thurston School district used federal grant money to hire Perez and five other paraeducators to work with students from military families.
At Horizons, 48 percent of the students come from military families.
Perez organizes lunchtime events for military students to get together and talk about what it’s like to have a parent overseas with someone who can relate to them.
”They don’t feel like an outcast,” said Perez.
Perez said programs like hers are rare, and that’s unfortunate.
”This needs to be a high priority everywhere,” said Perez.
This is the third year of the three-year grant for North Thurston’s paraeducators.
The district is hoping to extend the program for at least another year.