Richmond County schools, sheriff’s office partner to support children


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — Too many children are exposed to trauma.

“About 60 percent of school-aged children experience some type of trauma,” Dr. Aronica Gloster, the Richmond County School System’s Director of Student Services, said.

If children do not get support they need, it could affect them for years.

“Children exposed to trauma, without the right support, can often be associated with increased risks of poor outcomes,” Lt. Michael Pletcher of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office said. “It also shows they could have an increased interaction with life enforcement.”

This is why the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the county’s school district for the Handle with Care program. If deputies get to a crime scene and see that a child experienced or saw something traumatic, they will alert the district.

“We want to make sure we are doing our best to wrap our arms around those students so they know they are in a safe environment and are cared for,” Gloster explained.

The child’s teachers will know to keep an eye on them. If they notice changes in behavior, the school will step in and help the child get the support they need — whether it be counseling, more time to finish school work or even if the child needs food or medical attention.

“They are the future,” Gloster said. “If we can help them develop well and be resilient, we want to be able to support them, help them cope and move forward.”

The Richmond County School System also plans to bring on three licensed mental health counselors for its students. It has already hired one.

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