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C.O. students’ behavioral issues and social anxiety increasing during pandemic

'The best thing we can do is lend them an ear and listen'

(Update: Adding video, comments from Bend-La Pine, Redmond School District)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A few months into the first fully in-person school year since 2019, Central Oregon schools are facing a challenge.

Becky Stoughton is a councilor and student services coordinator at MA Lynch Elementary School in Redmond.

“We’re just seeing kids that need to practice skills and being able to be together,” Stoughton said Wednesday.

She said months of remote learning caused more students to have behavioral, social or emotional issues.

“It's kind of hard to work on behaviors online and through a computer,” Stoughton said with a chuckle. “You can coach and do your best, but students need help and support.”

She said there isn’t necessarily an uptick in fights, arguments or other outbursts, but rather a larger number of students than usual showing similar behavioral issues.

She said these students are also showing behavioral issues earlier than they typically would. 

Stoughton cites a third grader having issues that a fifth grader might typically have. 

Karen Mitchell is the principal of StepUP, a school in Redmond meant for students with additional emotional or behavior needs.

She said there's now a greater need, and a better awareness of the issues.

“Covid normalized mental health a little bit, also, and so it’s okay to get help, its okay to go to a therapist, it's okay to say ‘I need help figuring out how to help my kid’,” Mitchell said. 

The biggest increase she’s seen is in social anxiety.

“For a student who already had social anxiety, Covid was tough,” Mitchell said. “Coming to school for them has always been historically hard. But now, it’s like the hardest thing for a student to do.”

Bend La Pine Schools Executive Director of Student Services Sean Reinhart said taking away the typical rhythm and routine affects everyone, including students.

“Our students mirror what is going on in the community, what’s going on with the adults in the community, and so heightened anxiety or heightened emotions that you see among adults -- it’s going to transfer down to students,” Reinhart said. 

He said with the constant changes and stress from the pandemic, students may be a little more on edge.

“Our students and, quite frankly, everybody has less ability to adapt, whereas in typical times or pre-pandemic, we can roll with changes a lot easier,” Reinhart said. “I think folks are having a harder time adapting right now.”

Stoughton, Mitchell and Reinhart agree that the best way to help a student who may be struggling is to ask. 

“Sometimes as parents, we want to solve problems for our children. But the best thing we can do is lend them an ear and listen,” Reinhart said.

Mitchell said behavior is often a form of language, and the goal of school counselors and teachers is to understand why a student is acting a certain way, and finding a replacement behavior. 

Author Profile Photo

Noah Chast

Noah Chast is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Noah here.



  1. Gosh, I wonder why? Could it be the forced and unnecessary masking and the prison-like atmosphere they have created? And yes, I have removed my children from the government indoctrination centers…I mean schools. We have gone to home and private schooling. The kids couldn’t be happier now.

    1. I’m sure you and your kid’s bright future in the work from home pyramid scheme industry, will allow you & them to barley scrape by.
      Don’t worry Oregon not only ensures supplemental nutrition as well as the Oregon Health Plan.
      So instead of eating your “Thrive” boxes for dinner or smelling your “Dotura” essential oils to cure your diabetes, your children can actually be healthy. Albeit without school chums, that is.

  2. Wow, I didn’t see this coming! Where is the mention of the increase in teen suicides (which far greater than teens killed by Covid)?

    Libs don’t want to talk about that because SCIENCE!

                1. Good work, J. The moderator is either oblivious or willfully ignorant this video exists and a dozen more just like it. Because NOBODY can see that and forget about it or think it’s okay.

                2. Watched the video, I couldn’t believe the parents didn’t step in and at least pull their daughters away from this deviant. I don’t care who he is.

                1. Not in screen names. That reflects more on the commenter than the president. As do constant attacks on the moderator who is just trying to do his job and make judgment calls. This may go away and then you can find another place to… “play.” If only folks could be civil adults in their comments here. Guess it’s too much to ask for way too many “regulars.” So I have to do what I have to do, and get plenty of sympathy and empathy for it.

                2. So is it offensive for a mother to enjoy the smell of her child as well? Is it also offensive for an adult to love the softness of a child’s cheek or the warmth of a cuddle or hug? Why is it any different for a grandfather type to sniff a child’s hair? Seems to be more a reflection of the nasty thoughts of those who find it disturbing. Personally, I’d give anything to see my father or uncle sniff my granddaughter’s hair or pull her in close for a hug. They’ve passed, and she will never have memories of those loving relationships. You all need to ask yourselves why you find Biden unacceptable but think the self-proclaimed *****grabber in chief was AOK.

            1. Well Trump was good friends with Jeffrey Epstein and attended many if his gatherings. So its safe to say our former president did a lot more to children than smell their hair.

            2. How anyone who has seen Biden with kids and still say it’s ridiculousness for anyone to say he’s creepy with kids blows my mind. Hillary last year was saying it’s insanity for parents to be offended by him sniffing their kids hair. She said parents should consider it a honour. There’s video out there of Jill speaking somewhere and he’s wanders over to a a boy and starts massaging his shoulder. But since I don’t have the link Barney will say it doesn’t exist and I need to see a doctor. The parents were probably afraid secret service would take it as a threatening gesture towards the president.

            3. Just a reminder: When being interviewed by Columnist Richard Cohen, Cohen claims asked him, “Is it wrong to be more sexually attracted to your own daughter than your wife?” in reference to Ivanka. Cohen states this happened when Ivanka was 13.

              Also, while being interviewed by the View on March 6, 2006, on national TV, he stated he was attracted to Ivanka and he would like to date her.

              1. Must not be a NASCAR fan. Brandon, is Brandon Brown, a racecar driver in the Xfinity Series. According to the announcer after his victory she mentioned the crowd was yelling “Let’s Go Brandon”. Joe Biden couldn’t hold his lug nuts.

              2. This issue brings up a great point.
                I feel 90% of the comments are off topic.

                I admit I’ve made sarcastic and vitriolic comments (like a hundred times).

                But couldn’t or shouldn’t the moderation be stepped up abit?

                I mean the whole tennor of the comments demean the entire community. I’m embarrassed to read my fellow Bendians.

                I’d be willing to support the advertisers in fair exchange, for some enforced maturity.

                1. We have rarely and will rarely ever make a call on whether a comment is off-topic.
                  No two people would draw the line in same place. I of course wish the comments were more mature, civil, respectful and less full of hate and blame. I’ve said that many times. But enforcing it is a challenge.
                  Hoping in 2022 we move to a community-moderated up/downvote system that can provide community moderation and sink trolls (though no system is perfect and all can be gamed by those with that as a goal.)
                  Our TOS mentions “hateful.” Imagine how few would be left if that was enforced strictly!

              3. But it’s the truth, Barney. The president is on camera doing this stuff and you allowed anything to be said about Trump when he was president, true or NOT!! Your colors are showing. Why does the truth bother you so much?

                1. I didn’t allow some screen names about the former president, either. I know I’m fair and my many friends do as well. The nasty critics, I know not to believe in their judgments of me.

        1. GO BACK TO SCHOOL. Learn all about this Hipocritpsy you speak of. Do you know how hard it was to type the word so incorrectly for me? My brain hath broken, I’m suing for damages.

          1. The truth about c ocancel I loath the term dude. I have even seen some males call women dude. Unfortunately these days, it is not just a teenager term. I have seen lot of young people who are in their twenties or thirties use it.

  3. I read this article several times, and could not, for the life of me, what the new behavior issues are. None were mentioned. What are ‘similar behavior issues’…..similar to what?

      1. I gave you the benefit of the doubt and waited for the piece and it added nothing. No specifics about behavior, what kids are doing, etc. The closest it got to specifics was mentioning ‘social anxiety’. If you’re going to do a piece o increases in student behavior issues, at least come up with some specifics. I read a piece in SFGate yesterday that gave very graphic examples of changes in kids behavior (disrespecting each other, ignoring teachers, truancy, etc.). A good story is out there, Noah just did not bother to do it.

  4. We pulled out child out of public indoctrination and I don’t see any behavior issues. We now have caring teachers teaching our child as if it was regular school before the subtle changes. After seeing what was pushed onto our child in public school, we are glad she doesn’t have to focus on skin color anymore and can get back to learning about others and looking at the content of their character. A little at a time us parents are snuffing the ember of racism out instead of fanning it and keeping it alive. Good stuff.

  5. Pull your kids out of the schools. Protect them from the madness.. The fact that KTVZ hasnt put out a single article on the Teen suicide rates during this pandemic shows that they really dont care or just feel they have more important things to ” Report” aka copy/paste a CNN peice.. Im sure Ol’Barn will chime in here with that expert non biased opinion lol

    1. Newsflash: I was laughing out loud aka lol when I called Barn a non-biased moderator.. Nothing is funny about suicide which is why I siad I feel it should be addressed by KTVZ.. Maybe you should learn how to read a whole article before you start calling people names.

      1. “hoping they never take that approach again” ? Are you serious ??? Just how have the Demokrats here in Oregon changed their strategy since day one ? Masks ?- Nope- Kalamity Kate doubled down with mandates ! Business Closures ?? Evolved into terminations !! “Follow the science” ??? Is all about “follow the money” !!! You really “never want that approach again” ??? Vote GOP and throw these Demokants at all levels of Government into their own welfare state !

        1. do you think i’m a liberal?? if so, that’s hilarious!! but yeah – i hope the schools don’t close again. it sucked for the kids. and the teachers. they now say masks aren’t required outside at school – that’s awesome and the progress i hope we continue to see.

          1. Where in my post did I accuse you of being a liberal ? I focus on the content of your material- not your political leanings. Having said that- I see that twice now you have used the word “hope”. How about a little less “hope” and lot more science based action… that’s called “leadership”.

  6. Lots of anger, hate and toxic language going on. Does it make you wonder ~ are the youth acting out based on poor examples (as in parenting).

    A POTUS who bragged about grabbing women by their *****? And that’s acceptable?

    Y’all need to evaluate your words. And stop being so vile to each other.

    Happy trails. Be well.

    1. I find it hilarious how you cling to words taken out of context with no proven action associated with them- instead of focusing on the individuals who created those lies to sucker you in to repeating their “Russia-Russia-Russia type nonsense.

    1. No it was safely extinguished by the NYFD.
      The minority democrat terrorist was arrested. However he was quickly released as New York refuses to prosecute democrat terrorists. So rest easy.

    1. For once I agree with you. These students and the parents should stop the belly acheing and get back to work. There is nobody to blame. Straighten up and fly right. Life isnt always easy. Roll with the punches and quit expecting goverment to take care of you. Older generations would be ashamed of this so called social anxiety over a bump in the road crap.

  7. Learn the earth. Never the teachings of unity and control. Or end up with a shovel and rope building pyramids and bridges once more. Teamwork is a mental disorder. Proven throughout history. Art games and music is not food or housing. Live the right way and doctors will never be needed. Learn the earth and never go hungry cold or sick. Time to grow up. First lesson is to shut up. The words people say are pointless and destructive. Words are for evil to control others. How many demands do we get from others in a single day? One demand is to many. Second lesson. Put seed in ground. The earth and animals can no longer do the job. Third. Add water. Our waterways have been manipulated so bad by the greedy we no longer have free flowing water. Killing the earth for bottled water. And a Pepsi. One day people will shut up and be free once more. But not until the system of control comes to an end. God never forgives. Ever.

    1. Its the cry babys like you who complain about the little snow flakes haveing these supposed issues over any little rough patch in there easy lifes. Pulling them from school and cuddle them cause life isnt always easy. Tough beans. Tell them to pitch in and do there part and quit griping about nothing.

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