Stressed Brains Can’t Learn: Paper Tigers, a Documentary Film by James Redford on Trauma-Informed Education, to Screen at the Middlesex County Fire Academy

Mar 31, 2016 | Press Releases & Op-Eds, Uncategorized

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – March 31, 2016 – In observance of national Child Abuse Prevention month, Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey is hosting a screening of Paper Tigers:  a film that captures the pain, danger, beauty and hopes of struggling teens—and the teachers armed with new science and fresh approaches that are changing lives for the better.  Paper Tigers follows a year in the life of an alternative high school in Walla Walla, WA that has radically changed its approach to disciplining its students, and in the process has become a promising model for how to break the cycles of poverty, violence and disease that affect families. 

The documentary film, directed by James Redford and Executive Produced by Karen Pritzker, will be screened April 26 at the Middlesex County Fire Academy, 1001 Fire Academy Dr., Sayreville, NJ, and is free and open to the public, though tickets must be reserved in advance.  Attendees are invited to join a thoughtful discussion about the film and develop practical action steps that can be taken back to their respective practices.  Attendees will also be invited to “plant” a pinwheel as a symbolic act to pledge their commitment to providing happier, healthier childhoods.

“We are excited to host our first screening of “Paper Tigers” to the community,” says Gina Hernandez, senior vice president of Prevent Child Abuse-NJ. “We are hopeful this film will start a movement in New Jersey toward adopting a more trauma-informed approach to teaching adolescents who have encountered a series of adverse childhood experiences, as well as inspire those working with young children and families to continue to emphasize the importance healthy social-emotional development in infants and toddlers.”

Paper Tigers is an intimate look into the lives of selected students at Lincoln High School, an alternative school that specializes in educating traumatized youth. Set amidst the struggling rural community of Walla Walla, WA, the film intimately examines the inspiring promise of Trauma-Informed Communities, a movement that shows great promise in healing youth struggling with the dark legacy of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Following six students over the course of a school year, we see Lincoln’s staff try a new approach to discipline: one based on understanding and treatment rather than judgment and suspension.  Paper Tigers is a testament to what the latest developmental science is showing: that just one caring adult can help break the cycle of adversity in a young person’s life.


Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey was founded in 1979 and is the only statewide organization dedicated to preventing child abuse and neglect in all forms for all New Jersey children.  PCA-NJ promotes Great Childhoods, positive parenting and healthy child development.  Annually, the charity serves tens of thousands of children and families throughout the 21 counties of New Jersey.   For more information, please visit or call 732-246-8060.



Date: April 26, 2016

Time: 4 – 7 p.m.

Location: Middlesex County Fire Academy, 1001 Fire Academy Dr., Sayreville, NJ 08872

Tickets to this special engagement of Paper Tigers are available online at under Events or by calling 1-800-CHILDREN.

For more information on Paper Tigers and to view the trailer, visit