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“Handle with Care” program helps Moline students dealing with trauma

MOLINE-- When you get a package in the mail, and you see that "fragile" label, you might not know what's inside, but you know to handle that package with care.

A new program in Moline schools follows that same line of thinking, but instead of protecting mail, it's protecting kids.

"We know 60 percent of our young students have experienced some sort of trauma," Moline Superintendent Rachel Savage said.

Savage says a lot of the time, trauma happens at home, and then kids act out in school.

"Schools don't always know what goes on after a school day. Officers may come into a situation where a child was just a witness to a crime or he was up all night because of a police call," Moline Police Chief Darren Gault said.

Now, a new program bridges that gap called 'Handle with Care'.

It's an alert system, of sorts. If an officer sees something, they send the school an email.

"The officer recognizes trauma, sends a notification with those three words and that child's name, and the school receives that notification," Gault said.

"Then, it allows the school to unlock resources or have resources ready such as a counselor, social worker, or nurse," Savage said.

"That could make a difference in the child's life, keep them from being suspended from school, getting an F on an assignment, or maybe something worse," Gault said.

The Handle with Care program should be up and running at all Moline schools by January 2020.

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