LAWRENCE, Kan. — Police in one of the largest cities in Kansas are taking a new approach in hopes of helping some of the youngest in the state.

Lawrence Police Officers are being trained this week on the best way to handle children who are exposed to trauma.

The training is called “Handle with Care,” and involves school resource officers, Lawrence Public Schools, and the Douglas County advocacy group, DCCCA.

The training shows officers how to notify schools when a child is encountered at the scene of a traumatic event. A simple private message will be sent to the child’s school. The message has the child’s name, grade, and “Handle with Care.”

The events could include anything from a child who is involved in a car crash to a child who witnessed a violent crime.

“No other information about the crime is given to school administrators or anyone outside the police department,” school resource officer James Browning said. “The details of the incident are not what’s important. It’s simply important for the experts who see the child every day, to know their student may be a bit out of sorts so they can offer appropriate resources.”

Those involved in the training say it allows teachers to decide if the student needs a little extra time to complete assignments, or may even need to talk to a trusted adult, or counselor to help process what happened.

“When the notice is received at the school, it is on a need-to-know basis. It goes to the teachers working with that child, the counselors, and the school nurse. It does not stay in a child’s permanent record. Ideally, we hope to mitigate the negative impact of trauma,” Anthony Lewis, Lawrence Public Schools Superintendent, said.

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