Delaware Public Media

Smyrna School District launches program to help students cope with trauma

Sep 8, 2019

The Smyrna School District is the first district in the state to launch a new program to help students cope with trauma.

 


The state sponsored “Take Care Delaware” pilot program rolled out at the start of the new school year last week.

“And the Smyrna School District has partnered with the Delaware State Police and our local municipal police, including Clayton and Smyrna PD, along with the Division of Family Services,” said

Smyrna Superintendent Patrik Williams.

 

He says the program allows the district to provide students wrap-around services in school, once they are notified of a potential trauma-inducing event outside of school involving law enforcement.

Williams says the program was sparked by First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney’s First Chance Delaware Initiative - highlighting trauma-invested care in schools, “And so for the past few years, many school districts, not just Smyrna - have been training staff and working through a variety of training protocols to become more vested and more of a practicing entity when it comes to trauma-informed care.”

 

Williams says the program makes educators aware of issues that come up outside of school, “Any time a student leaves school following dismissal and sometime between dismissal and the opening of school the next day, that child comes into contact with law enforcement - not as an offender and oftentimes not as a victim, but as a bystander. And it may or may not involve criminal charges.”

Williams says that contact could involve substance abuse, a domestic incident or even a highway accident.   When it occurs, Williams will receive a brief email with essentially five words: “Take Care Delaware” and the student’s first and last name.

Williams says he will follow up by meeting with any teacher who may have contact with that student and let them know they may suffer from post-traumatic stress when they come back to class.

 

Williams says State Rep. Sean Lynn (D-Dover) sponsored legislation passed earlier this year allowing law enforcement and/or emergency care providers to notify school personnel of trauma-type events outside of school.