Lawrence PD training to manage children exposed to trauma

LAWRENCE, Kan. (WDAF) – Police in one of Kansas’ biggest cities are taking a new approach in hopes of helping some of the state’s youngest.

Lawrence police officers are being trained this week on how best to handle children exposed to trauma.

The training is called “Handle with Care” and involves School Resource Officers, Lawrence Public Schools and the Douglas County Advocacy Group, DCCCA.

The training shows officers how to notify schools when a child is encountered at the scene of a traumatic event. A simple private message will be sent to the child’s school. The message contains the child’s name, class, and “Handle with care.”

This can range from a child involved in a car accident to a child witnessing a violent crime.

“No further information about the crime is given to school administrators or anyone outside of the police department,” SRO James Browning said. “The details of the incident are not what matters. It is simply important that the experts who see the child every day know that their student may be a little uncomfortable so that they can offer the appropriate resources.

Those involved in the training say it allows teachers to decide if the student needs a little extra time to complete their homework or may even need to speak to an adult or trusted advisor to help with deal with what happened.

“When notice is received at school, it is on a need-to-know basis. It goes to the teachers who work with that child, the counselors and the school nurse. It does not remain in a child’s permanent record. Ideally, we hope to mitigate the negative impact of trauma,” said Superintendent Anthony Lewis, Lawrence Public Schools.

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