Federal bill would enable police to alert schools about traumatized children [HeraldCourier.com]

BRISTOL, Va. — Local police regularly encounter children affected by trauma — especially due to the nation’s ongoing opioid crisis — so three U.S. senators have introduced a bill that would open communication between law enforcement and schools.

On Wednesday, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, and Shelley Moore Capito, R-West Virginia, introduced the Handle with Care Act. It would connect children who experience traumatic events, including domestic violence, drug raids, overdoses and more, to school resources that are designed to provide the child with trauma-informed care, according to a news release from Kaine’s office.

The program, which originated in West Virginia, would allow law enforcement officers to identify children affected by trauma and send an alert to the child’s school.

Bristol, Virginia police officers often encounter children under traumatic circumstances.

“I think it’s an excellent idea,” Sgt. Steve Crawford said. “I see these types of cases regularly now and they are only increasing. The more people know that are involved in the child’s life the better equipped they are to handle.”

School officials and teachers regularly see students dealing with trauma, Bristol Virginia School Superintendent Keith Perrigan said.

“The amount that is directly related to opioids is difficult to determine,” he said. “I would anticipate that it happens more than we realize.”

Perrigan has been involved in the Handle with Care bill’s development by providing feedback from a practitioner’s viewpoint.

“Unfortunately, schools are seeing more and more students dealing with trauma outside of the normal school day,” Perrigan said. “Even though we try to keep that in mind in all of our interactions with students, this bill ensures that lines of communication are open between community agencies as we all try to support our most vulnerable students.”

The Handle with Care Act would equip educators to better achieve a vision that enables all students to thrive, regardless of the obstacles they may face, he added.

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Read the entire article by ROBERT SORRELL from April 28, 2018:  http://www.heraldcourier.com/n...cf-ff5374a58ca0.html

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