Paper Tigers

PRESENTED BY: Meaningful Movies at Cascade Park
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5:30 PM, Thursday, December 8, 2016
Location: Vancouver, WA (click for map)

“Paper Tigers” follows six troubled teens over the course of a year at Lincoln Alternative High School in rural Walla Walla, Washington. Considered a last chance before dropping out, many students come to Lincoln with a history of behavioral problems, truancy, and substance abuse. Then, in 2010, Principal Jim Sporleder learned about the science of what a rough childhood does to a developing brain. “Stressed brains can’t learn” was what he took away from an educational conference. He returned to his school convinced that traditional punishments like suspension were only exacerbating the problems of the students there. Sporleder says: “I was hunting everywhere for the curriculum. It’s not a curriculum. So, how do you take this theory and put it into practice?”
Sporleder invited the staff, as well as the students, to learn about the landmark Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, which shows that stressful events during childhood—like divorce, domestic violence, or living with someone with a mental illness—massively increases the risk of problems in adulthood. Problems like addiction, suicide and even heart disease have their roots in childhood experience.
The biggest challenge for the teachers was to consider the source of the kids’ behavior. Science teacher Erik Gordon realizes: “The behavior isn’t the kid. The behavior is a symptom of what’s going on in their life.”
Doors open at 5:30 screening begins at 6:00pm
This month the Community Conversation will be the same evening as the screening. The event will end by 9:00pm

Release Year: 2015

Running Time: 142 minutes

Director: James Redford

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