Sheriff Reich of Eaton County held a press conference Friday morning to announce the department's new, "Handle With Care" initiative.
He said, "“Handle with Care” is an initiative that originated in West Virginia and is currently active in Jackson County. Eaton County is the second county in the state to launch this initiative. Handle With Care is a collaborative effort between all first responders in Eaton County, including Law Enforcement, Fire, and EMS, all Eaton County Schools, Community Mental Health, and Highfields. Handle With Care” is a collaborative approach to assist teachers and administrators in understanding the “why” when children’s behaviors and demeanor show noted changes during their school day. It is a program aimed at ensuring that children who are exposed to traumatic situations receive sensitive interventions as needed."
The Sheriff pointed out that after children are exposed to a trauma that they tend to be less able to cope and problem solve which can lead to social, emotional, and academic difficulties. His department believes that trauma can interfere with truancy, failing grades, suspension, drop out rates, and risky behavior.
"Handle With Care" is set into motion first by a first responder who will collect the child's name and where he/she attends school, and then send a "handle with care" notice to the school before the next school day.
The school will use that information to support the child.
They will observe the child's behavior and mood and how they are doing in school.
Sheriff Reich added, "3 Simple Words - “Handle With Care” to inform our educators that a child may need a little extra time, sensitivity, lenience, or kindness."
The initiative will begin October 1.