Middle and high school aged students in Teton County deal with the usual stresses of growing up, but according to recent research, those pressures are often made worse for some by the area’s income gap and fears about the immigration status of family members.
The non-profit One22 completed a survey in order to improve the services offered to the community—its mission is to serve the most vulnerable populations in Teton County. One22 Program Director Carey Stanley said few things in the survey results surprised her, but they did concern her.
Out of the 110 students surveyed by the organization, 65 percent were Latino. Stanley said one of the most difficult things to hear about from students was the segregation at the high school level, for example, kids only sitting with those in their same ethnic group at the lunch table.
Stanley said another thing that concerns her is the fear some students have of a family member being deported.
“There are a lot of kids with that pressure of potential disintegration of the family,” said Stanley. “That’s something weighing on them all the time, that they’re in constant fear that they will not see their parents again. When they go to school, there’s a possibility that they’ll come home from school, and one of their parents might have been picked up by ICE.”
Additionally, respondents described bullying following the presidential election, with some students reportedly asking their Latino peers when they would be leaving the country.
One22 has already started the process of implementing new services, like budgeting classes for families living on low or seasonal income, but the organization is also thinking about the big picture.
“The big one that is the whammy for me, and it’s going to take a lot of work, and a lot of communication, and a lot of teamwork between all of the stakeholders in Teton County, is that intercultural programming that helps increase integration of races and classes in Teton County,” said Stanley.
The entire results of the survey can be found here.