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El Paso elementary school teacher says schools should play a bigger role in students’ mental health

EL PASO, Texas-- An educator who has been teaching elementary students for five years in the city says spotting troubled kids is not hard, but sometimes getting them help can be difficult.

The teacher reached out to ABC-7 after seeing Sunday's news; an armed 10-year-old girl was shot by a stun gun by police before she hurt herself or others. The instructor agreed to share her personal experience as a teacher anonymously.

"I don't think the schools have enough counselors," the teacher explained, "it's not enough for the kids to go and have that one-on-one time with somebody."

The instructor says she often finds out about her students trying to kill themselves; they survive, but then are sent back to the same situation.

"Why do we have situations like this? A ten-year-old girl. A ten-year-old being tasered, telling me 'shoot me.'"

Sunday's police report stated the 10-year-old girl was chased by an officer, at one point allegedly turned around to approach him while pointing a wooden-handled saw at him while yelling to shoot her.

"'I don't care, just shoot me.' For somebody so young to say that, you know something really bad has to be going on," the instructor added.

Teaching has allowed this teacher to witness how the system can fail kids. Sometimes, even the involvement of agencies such as Child Protective Services does not guarantee the students' safety.

The elementary teacher told ABC-7, that at times she has filed several reports on the same case, but sees no change in the student's life.

"You know, being a teacher, where you have them all day and you see their moods, you see when they're happy, you see when they're sad." She explained, "some kids will even come, and they'll cry to you, you know they're coming and they're asking for help, but as a teacher, there's really only so much you can do."

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Emmanuel Esparza


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