Kindergarten Teacher’s Mental Health Book List Goes Viral

By Keri Blakinger 03/05/18

The 15-year veteran teacher decided to take action on the heels of the tragic mass shooting in Parkland.

Large group of kids sit and listen to teacher reading a book and telling stories

An Indiana elementary teacher’s Facebook plea for mental health books has gone viral in the aftermath of the Florida high school tragedy.

“My news feed is full of school shootings, school safety plans, gun control debates, and arming teachers,” wrote kindergarten teacher Tina DuBrock. “What bothers me most is parents blaming schools/teachers and teachers blaming parents. I am not here for this part of the debate.”

Instead, the Protsman Elementary School teacher wrote in her Feb. 22 post that she just wanted some books to make it better—or help make kids better.

“Have you been looking for a way to make a difference? I have put together a wish list of books with my kindergarten team that you can purchase for our school,” DuBrock’s post continued. “We plan to build our own curriculum around them and also have them available to other grades in our building to use as a resource.”

DuBrock and the other five members of the school’s kindergarten team came up with a few dozen titles, including stories about dyslexia, ADHD and OCD and put them all together into an Amazon list

Just two hours after DuBrock put up her now-viral Facebook post including a link to the list, supportive readers purchased more than half the books.

"Our K team is in awe of everyone's generosity," she told the Chicago Tribune. "The huge outpouring of support has been incredible."

The 15-year veteran teacher previously worked to improve kids’ mental health by writing a grant proposal for an after-school yoga program, according to the Chicago paper. More than 100 kids signed up. 

"I hope the movement to support social and emotional education continues to spread," she told the paper. "I want them to succeed not just for a test score, but as a person."

This wasn’t the first time DuBrock turned to social media to crowdfund her classroom. In the past, she’s culled stools, mats, art easels and more from random internet denizens willing to support children’s education.

“There are some great lessons out there that can make the change that we need to see,” DuBrock wrote. “Thank you and I appreciate that comments are kept positive. We have enough negative these days.”

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.