Program helping Moline-Coal Valley students dealing with trauma a success, officials say

MOLINE, III (KWQC) -- A new program being offered in the Moline-Coal Valley School District is helping students exposed to trauma.

Police in Dixon, Illinois are investigating after the high school received a call making mention of "Milby". Police in a release said the school received the call Monday morning from an older male who said "the school should be looking into students that failed to attend school today, as they might have another Milby situation." (MGN Image)

It’s called "Handle with Care" in which police notify schools if they encounter a child at a traumatic scene. The confidential email shares the student's name, age, and the school they attend but, nothing about the traumatic incident.

“I’ve been in education over 20 years and the issues we are seeing that students are bringing to the classroom are increasing,” said Rachel Savage, Moline-Coal Valley Superintendent.

Moline-Coal Valley Superintendent Dr. Rachel Savage knows students nowadays are carrying a bigger burden. She says the no-cost program administered through Salud America is now bridging the gap.

“Before I was a superintendent, I was a teacher for many years in a high school and I was also a principal. We would never know that the child had experienced some sort of traumatic event unless the child chose to tell us,” she said.

Moline Police Chief Darren Gault introduced Dr. Savage to the nationwide initiative. It was launched by the West Virginia Police Department in 2015.

“I felt this would be some way the police department could connect with the schools and try to help the kids in our community,” he said.

Just this month, nine kids have already been referred. The hope is by giving the schools a heads up. They can provide resources to help students have a successful day.

“We are always going to have incidents and traumatic experiences in our communities. If we can collaborate with other agencies to make a difference, I think it is an exciting opportunity to be a positive impact on someone's life,” said Chief Gault.

“Handle with Care" is now in 65 cities across the state.