Beth Hankoff
1 min readApr 2, 2023

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This is a critical topic. I agree with you even without the research because I’ve experienced this myself. In 7th grade, I went to a large, impersonal middle school where students were funneled in from several small towns. Most of the teachers were checked out, and it was hard to meet new friends (I had only been living in the area for a year prior). By the second semester, I refused to go to school. I wasn’t learning anything and socially I was either ignored or bullied. The following year, with my agreement, my parents enrolled me at a very small progressive school. I was quiet at first, but by my senior year I was sharing my opinions on everything (probably more than they wanted me to). Many of my current thoughts on education were formed there, including eschewing punishment and grades, and drastically reducing class size. Everything changed for me simply because I was known and part of a community where I was given reasonable autonomy. What’s so hard about that? If it can prevent teen suicides - or even depression - it is worth it.

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Beth Hankoff

Neurodivergent educator, changemaker, advocate, mother, and follower of Jesus. I write about my life, parenting, education, autism, and mental health.