State law requires districts to provide professional development for school personnel on trauma-informed practices.
Tennessee Code Annotated 49-1-230. Development of training programs for adverse childhood experiences.
(a) As used in this section, adverse childhood experiences or ACEs mean stressful or traumatic events experienced by a minor child. ACEs include, but are not limited to, a child witnessing, or being the victim of, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical neglect, emotional neglect, domestic violence, substance abuse, mental illness, parental separation or divorce, and incarceration.
(b) The department of education shall develop an evidence-based training program on ACEs for school leaders and teachers. The training may be delivered through the trainer of trainers model under § 49-1-213, and shall include:
- (1) The effects of ACEs on a child's mental, physical, social, behavioral, emotional, and cognitive development;
- (2) ACEs as a risk factor for the development of substance abuse disorders and other at-risk health behaviors;
- (3) Trauma-informed principles and practices for classrooms; and
- (4) How early identification of children exposed to one (1) or more ACEs may improve educational outcomes.
(c) An LEA may develop its own ACEs training program to make available to the LEA's school personnel.
Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-4109. Trauma-informed discipline policy.
(a) As a strategy to address adverse childhood experiences, as defined in § 49-1-230, each LEA and public charter school shall adopt a trauma-informed discipline policy. Each trauma-informed discipline policy must:
- (1) Balance accountability with an understanding of traumatic behavior;
- (2) Teach school and classroom rules while reinforcing that violent or abusive behavior is not allowed at school;
- (3) Minimize disruptions to education with an emphasis on positive behavioral supports and behavioral intervention plans;
- (4) Create consistent rules and consequences; and
- (5) Model respectful, nonviolent relationships.
(b) The department of education shall develop guidance on trauma-informed discipline practices that LEAs must use to develop the policy required under subsection (a).