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Jackson's 'Handle with Care' program shows alarming numbers

Posted at 7:44 AM, Apr 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-17 07:44:26-04

JACKSON, Mich. — The 2018-2019 school year in Jackson County has reported 392 'Handle with Care' notices.

This program notifies a school if a student has been involved in a traumatic incident so teachers can give extra support to the student.

No matter if the incident is a car accident, arrest, or domestic abuse, its the role of the officer to identify the child and notify their school that the student was involved in a traumatic experience.

The officer on scene will file a report with the student's name followed by the words, "handle with care."

Now, the school doesn't receive any other information regarding the incident other than that it was traumatic.

The program remains as anonymous as possible.

Handle with Care was piloted in 2017 and within the first year the county had over 500 Handle with Care notices.

It's a collaborative effort between the schools, law enforcement, and mental health counselors to give students all of the tools to succeed, despite the trauma they have endured.

If teachers see the student is struggling in class because of the trauma they experienced, they can send the student to a counselor.

Sarah Sabin of Family Service and Child's Aid says,"If we can help find ways to calm down, find ways to relax, find ways they can heal from that trauma. What we see again, it just overall helps those students be successful when those interventions occur early on."

And for those students who see a counselor, their parents can bill their insurance, but if some parents don't have insurance the Department of Health and Human Services can help them apply to Medicaid or possibly cover the costs of the counselor.

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