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Buford Middle School employees offer mental health outlets for Afghan students

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 10:54 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - One Charlottesville school is hard at work, keeping its student body mentally healthy, especially with rising issues in Afghanistan.

Buford Middle School’s students, faculty, and staff have teamed up to keep their environment as strong as possible.

“We welcome students from anywhere, and especially as we are welcoming newcomers to Buford from other countries, it’s really important that we do things like we offer groups for them. They have classes where we are allowing them to learn more and to share their stories with one another, and I think that’s a really important thing,” Counselor Mikhal Salzberg said.

Salzberg says her door is always open and encourages students to meet with her one on one if they need to.

“Charlottesville City Schools did a great job of providing resources for teachers to build relationships and safe classroom spaces for our students from Afghanistan, knowing that they and their families are experiencing a lot of stress,” Assistant Principal John Kronstain said.

These resources include new hires trained to help students through any mental health difficulties.

“We are ready to support students in schools however we can with counseling support, with social work support, and just with teachers knowing that there is a lot going on outside of the classroom,” Kronstain said.

Teachers and staff are encouraged to keep up with current events to best understand what kids are going through. COVID-19 relief funded the new hires and outside mental support from organizations, like Region Ten. They’re equipped to not only talk students through the situation in Afghanistan, but act as a cushion for all concerns.

Staff at Buford Middle School say fellowship is one thing that keeps their student body connected. They encourage other students to look out for changes in their friends and offer support where appropriate.

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