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District and police partner to support students exposed to trauma

ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 30, 2017) – The City School District of Albany and the Albany Police Department on Thursday announced a new program to help students that experience a traumatic event outside of school.


“Handle with Care will bridge the gap between what happens at home and at school,” said Albany School Superintendent Kaweeda G. Adams at a news conference at Albany High School. "The key to the program is communication that will take place between the police and our school district after police identify a child at the scene of a traumatic event at home or in the community."


 Adams said information from police will allow schools to be attuned to those vulnerable students, offering them help if and when they need it. She thanked the police for their willingness to partner on the program, which goes into effect on Dec. 4.


Here's how Handle with Care will work:

  • When Albany police encounter a situation involving a school-age child exposed to or part of a traumatic event, the department will notify the school district’s Office of Pupil Personnel Services the next business day.

  • The police department will generate an email, including the name of the child involved, along with his or her date of birth.Pupil Personnel will identify the child’s school and will email the school team with an immediate alert that the child should be “handled with care.”

  • The school will monitor the child’s behavior, identify the appropriate staff member to serve as a contact person if atypical behaviors are displayed and provide support as needed.

  • The school will continue to monitor behaviors requiring additional support and refer the child to services within the school or community as needed.

  • This could include a variety of tiered interventions: check in/check out, mentoring, lunch group, social skills group, counseling and/or a referral to prevention services, if appropriate.

  • Pupil Personnel will maintain contact with the police department and collect required data.


"Studies show that witnessing events resulting in a police presence can be especially traumatic for children," said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, who also attended the news conference. "The Handle with Care program ensures resources are made available to students who are exposed to traumatic situations, and that those students are not reprimanded unfairly for how they respond as they process what they have witnessed. Thank you to the City School District of Albany and the Albany Police Department for their dedication to improving the well-being of our children."


Added Acting Albany Police Chief Robert Sears: “During the course of our duties we often come upon children who are witnessing violence. We also recognize that at times our interventions add to children’s trauma along with whatever brought about police presence. A child’s response to this trauma may take many forms and we want to ensure that our youth are not unfairly disciplined as a result of their reaction, but instead offered appropriate support and interventions.”


The Handle with Care program:

  • Promotes safe and supportive homes

  • Supports schools and communities that protect children

  • Assists traumatized children as they heal and thrive

  • Creates school-community partnerships

  • Ensures that children exposed to trauma receive appropriate interventions

  • Helps students to succeed in school


“Handle with Care is an important first step in our goal of becoming a trauma-informed school district” said Kerri Canzone-Ball, Ed.D., the school district’s director of Pupil Personnel Services. “The program offers us a chance to be more aware of students who may be struggling, and make available a variety of resources within our buildings and the community.”


The mission of the City School District of Albany is to work in partnership with our diverse community to engage every learner in a robust educational program designed to provide the knowledge and skills necessary for success. The district serves nearly 9,700 students in 18 elementary, middle and high schools. In addition to neighborhood schools, the district includes several magnet schools and programs, as well as other innovative academic opportunities for students, including four themed academies at Albany High School.


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