Kentucky Handle with Care program helps schools help kids after traumatic events
Kentucky officials are touting the state’s new Handle with Care program. According to school safety officials, Handle with Care enables law enforcement to alert schools when students have had any kind of interaction with police the night or day before.
Ben Wilcox is the State School Security Marshall. Wilcox said officers from all city, county, and state departments have access to the program.
“It gives the officer the opportunity to find out what the name of the student is, what grade they are in, what school they go to, their age. He or she can go back to their cruiser and there’s a program that’s on their mobile data terminals where they can put that information in and that information is sent to the school,” he said.
When the system is used, no personal information about the incident will be shared with the school. Wilcox said the only message that comes through will be the student’s name and instructions to ‘Handle with Care’.
“What that does is it gives the school a heads up that, that child is going to be walking into school the next day with something in the background from the night before. So, if you’ve got a kid that’s falling asleep at their desk or acting up, it may not be a disciplinary issue it’s probably trauma or mental issue, and you know you’re going to treat that a little differently. Instead of giving that child discipline you may be taking that child to the counselor’s office or the nurses office,” he said.
Wilcox said Handle with Care is implemented in every school district in the Commonwealth, making Kentucky the only state that has a statewide program.
Officials said Handle with Care is a no-cost program that meets all the mandated requirements of the School Safety and Resilience act as well as recently passed House Bill 63.
More information can be found at the State School Security Marshal website.