Last year we screened 262 kindergarteners for stress and compared the results with the teachers’ ratings of their behavior in the classroom.

  • 45% reported severe physical punishment
  • 36% reported strong worries about other family members
  • 35% reported divorce or separation of the parents
  • 14% reported some form of neglect or emotional abuse
  • 9% reported gun violence in the neighborhood
  • 8% reported the incarceration of a parent
  • 90% of these kindergarteners reported high levels of stress, however fully 47% of these showed no symptoms or negative behaviors in the classroom as rated by the teachers!

They are holding on…..for how long?

These are the kids who will become distressed tomorrow, or next month, or next year. These are the kids that ALIVE is aiming to identify and serve, TODAY!


In two high schools, we screened for stress among 465 students with a questionnaire and found that:

  • 45% experienced emotional abuse
  • 32% experienced violence in the home
  • 27% experienced physical abuse
  • 26% had had a family member die by violence
  • 24% had had a family member die of disease
  • 8% experienced sexual abuse
  • 74% reported that these experiences significantly interfered with their ability to do schoolwork.

On average, each student reported nearly 4 psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression, hopelessness, and anger.

When given the opportunity to respond anonymously, most did not. Asked why, one student commented: “If you don’t know my name, how are you going to help me?” There were no differences in reporting between students who remained anonymous and those that revealed their names!


In the high schools, we also screen for toxic stress and traumatic events weekly, by having one of our specialists stand next to a large poster of Miss Kendra’s List as all students go past, either in the morning when they come to school, or at lunchtime.

If the specialist sees any sign from a student, they follow up with them within the hour to ask them what is happening.

Students learn quickly that the school is SERIOUS about their safety and level of distraction.