Nearly 60% of Syrian Refugees are Children

Approximately 60 percent of the 2015 admitted refugees from Syria were children.  This is a larger percentage than most refugees.

One reason for the high percentage is that Syrian families are generally large.  Moreover, the devastation from the war in Syria is so massive that there are simply a ton of families being displaced.

These children are now enrolling in public schools across the United States in cities like Chicago, Austin and New Haven, Connecticut.  This presents a challenge to schools trying to integrate these students into the prior student population.

According to a recent report by ABC News, Syrian children experience similar challenges to other young refugees — limited English, an education delayed by war and displacement — but they are somewhat distinct in the level of trauma they have experienced, school leaders and resettlement workers said.

“The truth is, a lot of them have seen some pretty nasty stuff,” said Eyal Bergman, a family and community engagement officer for a California school sistrict. “But I also see incredible resilience.”

Schools are increasing the number of English classes and trying to educate the Syrian parents as to how the U.S. educational system works.

Some students are enrolled in “newcomer” classes which include a heavy dose of English.  Others are placed with mainstream students right away.

For parents, the schools offer parental training sessions in Arabic on school procedures, how to read the school calendar and how to get services for their children.

Parents and advocates worry too about the harsh rhetoric from Republicans during this election season.  Statistics suggest a sharp uptick in anti-Muslim bullying following the xenophobic messages of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

One thing to remember in all of this is that the children are just that – children.  They miss the home that they left behind – their toys, their friends, their families.

St. Louis has taken in a number of refugee families due to the good work being performed by the International Institute, a refugee resettlement facility.

Acclimating to life in the United States can be very difficult.