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Handle With Care Info for School Staff

We ask that the student you have been handed a HWC card for be given a little more understanding, patience, and grace today, as it is very likely they've had a tough night. If this student experiences difficulty today with disruptions, please send them to the counselor or nurse.

Here are some ideas of ways to extend care to students who you have received a HWC card for:

  • If a test is scheduled for the day, consider allowing the student to postpone it.​

  • If the student did not complete homework that day, consider extending the deadline for them.

  • If the student needs to rest, consider sending them to the nurse to allow them to take a nap.

  • If behavioral or interpersonal issues occur, instead of pursuing disciplinary actions, consider sending the student to the counselor or nurse to remove them from the situation and give them time to calm down or talk things out.

How HWC Works

  • When a student is exposed to violence or trauma, a law enforcement officer takes down that child's name and date of birth for their report and puts down a Special Attention code ("SAHWC"). Every morning, DAC searches the police reports from the night before for "SAHWCs" and contacts each student's school. The school then facilitates the distribution of a Handle With Care Card to relevant staff at their school.

  • Please observe student's behavior/academic performance and utilize trauma sensitive interventions as appropriate. At the end of the day, please complete this survey so that we know if follow-up is needed for this student.

    • Click here to see the HWC/trauma-informed practices training slides.​

    • Additional (free) resources that will help our schools to be more trauma-informed can be found here and here.

  • If student exhibits problems (emotional/behavioral/academic, etc.), the school staff should refer the child to the school counselor or school nurse.

  • The teacher, school counselor, and/or nurse should assess the student's needs to determine if counseling/services are needed and submit a referral for services signifying it is a HWC case.


This program, along with the explanation of it above, was directly inspired by that of West Virginia. The pilot program was run in WV and more information on it can be found here:

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