By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – While they haven’t broken any rules, 2.7 million American students are already “further along the pipeline to prison” having a parent behind bars.

Incarceration can be more traumatic for a student than even a parent’s death, causing damage to health, schooling and relationships and they are at higher risk themselves.

Forty-five percent of children of incarcerated parents are black, 28% are white and 21% are Hispanic with higher rates of attention deficits, speech and language delays than those missing a parent because of death or divorce.

Because most kids feel it has to be a secret, they don’t seek help from interventions. The Pain of Prison System (POPS) program at Venice High School in Los Angeles, meets every other Wednesday led by a teacher who has been in their shoes. The US Dream Academy, in eight cities, meets with students after school to deal with emotional and academic needs.

Read more in Education Week.