Handle with Care Program
The School District of La Crosse is the coordinating agency for the 7 Rivers Handle with Care Program. Exposure to violence can have a long-term effect on a child’s physical, emotional and mental health, whether they are the victim of or a witness to violence. Prolonged or repeated exposure to violence and trauma can seriously undermine a child’s ability to focus, behave appropriately, and learn. The result of this can lead to many difficulties in school, including truancy, suspension or expulsion, dropping out, or involvement in the youth justice system. The lasting effects of trauma on the human body and on the development of the brain can also be very detrimental. Early identification of trauma exposure paired with early intervention efforts can successfully disrupt the cycle of trauma. Law enforcement agencies, health systems and school districts can work collaboratively in these efforts by working with families to improve communication to school personnel when a child has been exposed to violence or trauma in the community or is struggling with mental health issues. Handle with Care referrals to schools help position school staff and teachers to better support students in their recovery or treatment.