Trauma WATCH Program to enter Columbia County schools and partner with first responders


A new watch program may be coming to Columbia County Schools.

The school system is hoping to look out for those students dealing with traumatic situations at home and can effect their educational learning.

The county is also involved. At the committee meeting on Tuesday, members voted to approve teaming up with first responders and assure these students have the necessary tools to learn in a safe environment.

Parents and grandparents are on board with a potential WATCH Program where Columbia County Schools work with Columbia County agencies.

Parent, Derrick Jones, says, “I think it’s a good idea.

And grandparent, Ginnie May, agrees. She says, “if the school steps in and just kind of talks to the kids it helps them.”

The Key word is “watch. All the school is doing is keeping a look out for students exposed to trauma.

“We need to know what our kids are going through. A lot of time it effect their learning. A lot of time they are real sick and they don’t want people to know what they are experiencing at home,” says Jones.

Schools are identifying trauma as a broad term.

“My grandkids just went through a traumatic experience. It was at the lake, and it was a storm, and we got caught up in a storm at the lake, and it kind of hit them and bothered them for a few days. So, if there was something traumatic that is going on with them, talking about it always helps,” says May.

According to the school, “trauma” ranges from abuse, to racism, to even, in Ginnie’s case, a natural disaster.

The request to collaborate with first responders passed in the County meeting.

“The police department, the fire department, everybody needs to be involved,” says May.

Fire Rescue is requested to notify the school system, identifying certain children that have been present to police interactions or exposed to any of the listed trauma.

“We need to make sure that they are safe because they are our future,” says Jones.

Remaining confidential, the school will then determine if that child is okay or needs additional help. This system will also further help the staff understand the students in their classrooms.

“I don’t think the school is overstepping their boundary, if anything it keeps them in the future from having problems,” says May.

Columbia County schools denied an interview until they finalize the program.

NewsChannel 6 also reached out to Columbia County Fire Rescue who also declined to speak with us.

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