A new, no cost program known as, "Handle with Care" is now a part of Galesburg CUSD #205. The program was created several years ago by the West Virginia Center for Children's Justice to enable local police to notify school districts when they encounter a child at a traumatic scene, so that school staff and mental healthcare providers are prepared to provide immediate support for students.
According to Russ Idle, Chief of Police with the Galesburg Police Department, "The Handle with Care program provides the Galesburg Police Department and District 205 with an opportunity to work together to make sure that our young people are properly cared for. Youth at times see and hear things that a child should never have to. This program provides a pipeline of communication so that the district is made aware of students who may require some help in processing and dealing with trauma that they may be subjected to. The Galesburg Police Department is happy to play our part in protecting and caring for our students."
Handle with Care has three main components.
- Law Enforcement Notification
- Handle with Care provides the school with a "heads up" when a child has been identified at the scene of a traumatic event (domestic violence, meth lab explosion, drug raid, shootings, etc.) Police are trained to identify children at the scene, find out where they go to school and send the school a confidential email or fax that simply says, "Handle Johnny with Care." That is the only information given. There are no other details provided.
- The school will create a process to triage "Handle with Care" notifications from police relevant to teachers and staff.
- School-based Counseling
- For students demonstrating need, onsite counseling services will be offered, including referrals to outside agencies as needed.
According to Jeff Houston, Galesburg High School Principal, “The Handle with Care program will help us in identifying if something is going on at home or in the community with our students. With the help of local community agencies we will be alerted to situations where students may need some extra support when they arrive at school."
Robert Schwartz, Director of Safety and Security for Galesburg CUSD #205 says, "Handle with Care allows resources from both schools and law enforcement to be put into action immediately to make our schools a safer place."