New Program Seeks to Help Kids Who are Involved or Witness Crimes

San Antonio Police and several local school districts are beginning a new program designed to reach out to children who have witnessed violent crimes, in their own homes or on the streets, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Police Chief Bill McManus says if officers go to a crime scene and find children are involved, a message will be sent to their school teachers.

"Only three words 'handle with care' are released to the school," he said.  "No details of the incident are released."

The idea is to make sure that teachers and schools know that children have been exposed to traumatic events and they should receive 'appropriate interventions.'

McManus says too frequently, exposure to a traumatic event can cause students to suffer from nightmares, and become withdrawn, and that results in poor school performance.

“Our officers encounter children in our community that unfortunately experience traumatic events that require a police response. This can range from neglect to the loss of a love one. Life for that child does not stop once the officer leaves the scene. That child has the challenge of dealing with their current circumstances while trying to learn and thrive in school. It is our goal to improve communications with our local schools in an effort to help our city’s youth heal from traumatic experiences,” McManus said.

The East Central, San Antonio, and North East ISD's are the charter participants int he program, called 'Handle With Care,' and police are encouraging more public, and private schools to participate.

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