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Posted to Justice for All by Bill Armstrong
Posted to What's New in County 22 by Craig Johnson
A recent national survey of the incidence and prevalence of children’s exposure to violence and trauma revealed that 60% of American children have been exposed to violence, crime or abuse. Forty percent were direct victims of two or more violent acts. Prolonged exposure to violence and trauma can seriously undermine children’s ability to focus, behave appropriately, and learn. It often leads to school failure, truancy, suspension or expulsion, dropping out, or involvement in the juvenile justice system.
At our office my Chief Deputy, Steve Holst, recently attended a training titled, ”Handle with Care”. Handle with care is simply a program in which law enforcement provides notice to the schools in their jurisdiction when there has been a traumatic event during which a child has been present. This could be a meth lab explosion, a domestic violence situation, motor vehicle accident, a drug raid search warrant at a home, etc. Law Enforcement is trained to identify children at the scene, find out where they go to school or daycare and send the school/agency a confidential email or fax that simply says….”Handle Johnny with care”. That’s it. No other details. This notice would let the schools know to give the affected children some extra attention if needed.
I also attended a meeting recently with area law enforcement officers and school officials where we discussed the juvenile referral process with Juvenile Court Services. This was a productive meeting with good discussions on a variety of topics. In Clayton County most of our schools have a police department that has very good interaction with the faculty and students. Most of your police departments know the names of all the students and gain relationships with students by interacting on a regular basis. This also helps promotes perceptions of officers. At the sheriff’s office, we don’t often get this opportunity, but do get some interaction with K-9 demonstrations or assisting in other programs. Law enforcement agencies and schools need to work closer together in this day and age to give our children or grandchildren the best opportunities for their future and assist them when they have emotional problems that could turn into behavioral problems.
If you have any questions, or comments, feel free to contact me anytime, e-mail me, or stop by to see me.
Thanks and be safe,
Sheriff Mike Tschirgi