Jackson Co. children living in poverty try to find success in classroom

JACKSON, MI (WLNS) – More students in Michigan are struggling in the classroom.  Living through neglect at home and facing poverty.  That’s according to a bleak report on the challenges facing children in our state. It’s all part of newly released data by the Michigan League for Public Policy.  The report goes over a wide array of issues including child safety at home, access to health care for kids, and affordable child care.  Some of the most startling numbers show between 2006 and 2014, child abuse and neglect cases went up 29 percent in Michigan.  If that wasn’t bad enough, 1 in 4 Michigan children now live in poverty.  How are these children being affected in the classrooms?

New numbers released detail how kids count in Michigan. In Jackson County, 24 percent of children are in poverty and it’s something that affects them in the classroom.

According to JCISD Communications and Marketing Director Kim Medlock, there are ways to mitigate the damage.

“Putting students and families in touch with resources that may help address challenges such as hunger and medical care and things of that nature, bringing all the resources collectively in the county we’re hoping will make an impact on some of those bigger challenges for our students,” said Medlock.

Columbia School District Superintendent Dr. Pam Campbell offered her take on the matter.

“The information regarding Jackson County does not seem to accurately describe Columbia Township, however the data points do alert us to the increasing level of child poverty in Michigan.  Poverty has a tremendous impact on children as they grow and develop,” said Campbell.

Without nutrition, school work suffers.

Jackson County Health Department Healthy Communities Coordinator Julie Weisbrod said, “if they’re not having the proper foods available to them without a lot of the good nutrients that they need, then in the classroom they might be a little more lack of concentration, maybe a little more lack of retention with reading material, math skills, things like that.”

With almost 1 in 4 children living in poverty, education officials are calling on legislators to invest in the communities.

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