Schools can commit to helping military-connected students

Local News

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas — Texas schools now have the opportunity to show they support a unique group of students. 

Students with military connections have not received as much support as other groups of students with special circumstances, according to veteran’s advocate, Mario Ybarra.  

“It’s unfortunate that not that many educators know about this initiative. It was an eye-opening situation for even the counselors, they didn’t know that these students underwent these types of unique stressors,” says Ybarra.  

Ybarra added that these students go through struggles that not many think about. 

Difficulties like losing a parent or moving frequently are common amongst these students, and something Ybarra can personally relate to.  

“I was a child growing up during the Vietnam War. I lost my father to that conflict and not one single teacher, counselor, principle ever confronted me to ask me, hey how are you doing, how are you holding up, how can I be of assistance to you.” 

Under the Texas Education Agency’s initiative to award schools with a Purple Star Campus Distinction, schools can provide resources for those students and support them with their unique needs.  

Ybarra says, “it’s a way of them showing how much they care and how much they understand the emotional, social and academic struggles that come as a result of having military ties.” 

Schools can apply for the distinction without having a concert plan in place.  

“They don’t have to have something formally implemented, as long as they have a plan and they can make note of that in the application as to what their plans are for this school year, they still have the chance of qualifying and being awarded this honor,” says Ybarra. 

Ybarra has been working towards getting more Rio Grande Valley schools to apply.  

He says so far approximately 100 schools around Texas have applied but none in the Rio Grande Valley. 

For more information on the criteria and how to apply to be a Purple Star Campus, visit the TEA website.

The last day to apply for the distinction is August 28.  

The distinction will be awarded October 2020. 

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