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Research: To improve education for all, counter domestic violence

Cries for improving schools in Louisiana are not new. Our state and every other state has concerns about whether our children are getting the education they need to realize their dreams and succeed in life.

Experts generally agree that every child learns in different ways. Many elements need to combine to create the right environment for each student to achieve his or her real potential. That puts a great deal of pressure on schools, teachers and counselors. And some researchers say one particular element that deserves greater attention is being proactive against domestic violence.

Protective orders are one of the means the law provides for dealing with the problem. Men, women and children alike have a right to be free of unwanted attacks and abuse. Stays from the court can be obtained to meet the needs of a specific situation and experienced family law attorneys are in the best position to provide advice and education about what steps to take.

The effects of domestic violence are not limited to the home in which it occurs. Researchers who have studied the phenomena have learned that in addition to direct victims harmed, children who witness the violence can become carriers of a sort, bringing violence into school and touching every child in a classroom.

Domestic violence may lead child witnesses to act out in school creating disruptions that may be potentially hazardous to others. In addition, researchers say the effects manifest in lower test scores and reduced numbers of students going onto and completing higher education. Economists say it can mean lower lifetime earning power for affected students, too.

The one thing researchers say makes the greatest difference is reporting domestic violence. They say making it formal makes it possible for, and may even force, educators and schools to act.

For the sake of every child's future, it is apparent that reporting domestic violence helps. And seeking an enforceable restraining order can help, too.

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