“Handle with Care” program launches in Eaton County

Traumatic experiences affect us all differently, but officials in Eaton County want to make sure that those experiences don’t affect a child’s education.

That’s why local law enforcement is teaming up with schools to launch a new program called, “Handle With Care.”

The program will give teachers a heads up if one of their students has been part of any incident where police or fire departments were called.

The idea behind that, is that being part of an intense situation could affect a child’s behavior in class.

Imagine, your child has just lived through a tragic event, whether it be a house fire, domestic situation, or a car accident.

“They’re crying, they’re really upset, you know it’s something that’s really turning their life around,” says Assistant Fire Chief in Benton Township, Don Buck.

Eaton County Sheriff’s Officials say experiences like those can have a lasting impact on children and that often shows up in the classroom.

“Sometimes we have awareness, and sometimes we don’t,” says Superintendent of Charlotte Public Schools, Mark Rosekrans.

But starting next week, Charlotte Public Schools and others in Eaton County will be notified if a student has experienced a potential life changing event.

“I would hope it allows us to provide that caring and nurturing environment,” says Rosekrans.

As part of the “Handle With Care” program, a first responder who sees a child exposed to trauma or a violent situation will fill out a form that will be sent to the child’s school.

The form only includes the child’s name and age, no specific details about the incident.

But officials say it’s still enough to let teachers know that student may need some extra TLC.

“This will give us an opportunity to impact the experience of those children, even after we’ve left,” says Grand Ledge Police Chief, Martin Underhill.

Sheriff’s officials say, children are often back in class the next day after an incident occurs so it only makes sense that teachers have some insight into what’s been going on.

“It’s all about the kids, just providing a caring adult here at school,” says Rosekrans.

Eaton County is the 2nd county in the state to launch the Handle With Care initiative.

First responders in Jackson County started it earlier this year.

 

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