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FEI Featured in the Journal of School Safety

5 Jan. 2017 Posted by aadams

Adverse Childhood Experiences: SRO's Role in Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma. It invokes different images for each of us. One person might think of a car crash involving teenage drivers, while an­other might remember the tragedy of a school shooting. Whatever the trauma, it's important for school resource officers to understand how its impact can negatively affect students in terms of poor attendance, diminished learning and achievement, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicide. Equally important is knowing what to look for—and how to properly respond to a student who has been affected by trauma, inside or outside of school. This is true especially during a crisis situation.

Research has shown that traumatic experiences are associated with both behavioral health and chronic physical health conditions, particularly those traumatic events that occur during childhood. The impact of trauma also influences behaviors seen in the classroom or on the school campus. Knowing the background of a student may help in getting the support, care and treatment he or she needs, or in re­sponding during an escalating crisis situation.

Using a trauma-informed approach, SROs can begin to:

  • Realize the widespread impact of trauma and understand po­tential paths to recovery.
  • Recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma in children, fami­lies and school staff.
  • Work with school counselors to fully integrate knowledge about trauma into school policies, procedures and practices.
  • Seek to actively resist re-traumatization when responding to situations.