This was just one of her students, in one occurrence, during one 10-hour day, she said.
Her students need more adults in their lives looking out for them, and she needs more volunteers in her classroom -- community members who visit and talk to students about their work or career. Such adults could turn into connections for students. But some school policies that require costly background checks in the name of safety stifle volunteer efforts and deprive students of healthy mentors and support.
Margaret Ann O'Neal, executive director of United Way of Southern West Virginia, described using "The Sad, Mad, Glad Book" by Chuck Stump and Jim Strawn with a group of second-graders. They paused over a picture to discuss why a child might feel sad. "What makes you feel sad?" she asked.
"My mommy died," one child said.
Later, O'Neal learned that three mothers at that elementary school had overdosed and died within the year.
"They need parents," O'Neal said.
You can follow meetings of the Select Committee on Children and Poverty at YouTube.com/wvsenate.
Miller, the Gazette's editorial page editor, can be reached at gaze...@wvgazette.com.