FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WOAY)— Often if unaddressed, trauma can interfere with a child’s ability to learn. It can lead to social, emotional and academic difficulties. Unfortunately, many teachers and school counselors are not trained to recognize and address trauma.
“Our primary purpose is to have our schools, administration, our teachers and our couselors deal with students who are experiencing trauma at home or in the community,” said Terry George, Superintendent of Fayette County.
Fayette County school district Principals and counselors met early Monday morning in order to implement a program, Handle with Care, that addresses trauma and trains staff to provide appropriate interventions to children exposed to trauma.
“Handle with Care” provides Fayette County schools with a “heads up” when a child has been identified at the scene of a traumatic event by law enforcement. This allows teachers to be aware that something has happened to handle the child with care.
Cindy Whitlock, School Health Director for New River Health Association discussed the “Handle with Care” program. “In one classroom I had a student say Mrs. X so and so slept through the whole thing and the teacher said, you don’t know what happened to him last night at home and that is exactly what this program is about; it’s an awareness.”
Creating trauma-sensitive environments in schools with appropriate training and programs like Handle with Care, time spent on disruptions and discipline problems can be reduced and teaching and learning time can be increased.