Syracuse police to work with school officials to help kids who experience trauma

Sep 6, 2018

The Syracuse City School District and the Syracuse Police Department will work together to make sure students who suffer trauma outside the classroom get the support they need when they go to school.

A program called SOS will launch when school starts Thursday. Syracuse Common Councilor Susan Boyle says it’s essentially a communication program, that lets the police alert school officials when a child is a victim of violence or is a witness to a crime.

"A lot of time these kids will be very traumatized, they come to school, and there’s no way to know what they need," said Boyle. "Maybe they act out, maybe they get in trouble because they're processing this information and struggling with this information. Often times it leads to disciplinary action for some of these kids instead of compassionate support.”

Deputy Police Chief Joe Cecile said it's all about communication between police and schools.

“If we are at, say, a homicide or a really traumatic incident where children aren’t necessarily victims, but they’re all standing around watching this unfold in front of them, we’re going to collect their names so that we can get those names to the city school district, so they can reach out to them during school," said Cecile. "We want their only mission during the day to be learning.”

The system allows police to tag a police report, if there are children present in a violent situation. Then every day, that information is sent to the proper school officials. That’s when school support staff and community partners work together to help the student deal with the trauma.   

Additionally the SOS program encourages family members to self-report if their children are having difficulty dealing with trauma, by calling 4-1-1.