Harrisonburg City Public Schools launches "Handle with Care"

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- Harrisonburg City Public Schools is launching handle with care, a new program that makes sure children who are exposed to violence or other trauma receive appropriate attention at school.

"This was our opportunity to connect the dots for our staff and work with first responders to ensure that students get the interventions they need," HCPS executive director of student services April Howard said. "It's not only to mitigate the negative effects but also to raise awareness."

The program was officially launched at Monday evening's HCPS welcome back event at Turner Pavilion in Harrisonburg.

"The history of this city with service and then putting children first, we realized real quick that we could make this happen in the city for these kids," Harrisonburg Fire Department EMS officer Travis Karicofe told WHSV.

The program brings together the school system, city police and fire departments and the emergency communications center. It will officially be implemented this school year.

"It's paramount that we keep in mind the welfare of children anytime that we come in contact with a child that's been exposed to trauma," Lt. Jason Kidd of Harrisonburg Police said. "It's important to do everything we can to make sure that that trauma doesn't negatively affect that child."