Local law enforcement alert schools of traumatic incidents through ‘Handle with Care’ initiative

Written by on September 21, 2020

 Local law enforcement alert schools of traumatic incidents through ‘Handle with Care’ initiative

By K.C. Lopez

September 21, 2020

A new Lehigh Valley initiative gives schools a heads up when a student has been identified as being possibly involved in a traumatic event. 

As WLVR’s K.C. Lopez reports, the program is starting in Northampton and Lehigh Counties schools at a crucial time. 

Dr. Joseph Roy is the Superintendent of Bethlehem Area Public Schools where ‘The Handle with Care Program’ is being used to address childhood trauma.

“For sure this year with the pandemic, there is increased stress, increased depression [and] anxiety across society. And that can manifest itself at home with potential domestic violence or it might just be the stress of getting evicted, or whatever might be going on at home,” said Roy.

Whether it’s domestic violence or a neighborhood shooting, responding officers send the school a confidential message. No specific details are revealed, just that something has happened and a child should be handled with care. 

James Martin is District Attorney in Lehigh County.

“They just pass along the information that there has been an incident without divulging what exactly occurred,” said Martin. “That then gets relayed to the school so that the people in the school can watch the children for any adverse reactions that they might have because of the trauma they’ve experienced.”

Officials say enhanced police-school communication can also help connect students with resources provided by the  United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley and Resilient Lehigh Valley 

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