Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Understanding the Military's Three Phases of Deployment

Three Phases of Deployment
Michael A. Robinson

Prince George’s County Public Schools are committed to supporting the children and families of those serving in the military by linking them to a network of services and resources offered within and outside the school system.

Recently released statistics revealed more than 500,000 American children have one or both parents serving in the National Guard or its Reserves alone. Data suggested an estimated 300,000 members of the National Guard are engaged in protecting America for terrorism (Surles, 2004). This means families are experiencing the emotional strain, stress and anxiety of separation caused by deployment.

Deployment is not easy for children; research indicates children of deployed parents have a myriad of emotional and social reactions to separation (Surles, 2004). Their responses can range from withdrawal, to behavioral disruptions in the classroom. Understanding the emotional and social implications to children due to parental deployment is key to providing the comprehensive services needed to assist in their academic success. The development of services, programs and resources will have increase effectiveness if they are framed around nationally accepted definitions and stages of deployment:

1. Pre-deployment: PGCPS understand that this stage can last several weeks or just a matter of hours. Regardless of the time frame, the focus on providing immediate support to children will be paramount

2. Deployment: Research has indicated one of the most important things educators can do for children while their parents are deployed are to develop ways to keep the parent connected to their child’s education and life

3. Reunion: In this phase, it is understood that the reunification process begins long before the parent arrives. It is during this time the child may experience mixed emotions. Realizing these emotions, the professional staff at each school will meet to discuss the parent homecoming and what it means to the child and the family

Children are affected in a variety of ways by the deployment of parents and it is imperative that at this crucial stage in their lives, support is both relative and accessible. Prince George’s County Public Schools are prepared and willing to assist in providing a safe and secure environment for this special population of our students.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting information and great insight. Although my child lost a parent, this research seem to follow many of the same or simular phases of emotional distress. I enjoyed reading this article, I work in the Ohio Publc School System; this information will be shared and use.



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