NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — An organization held a training session in New Bern on Thursday to help teachers, law enforcement and others learn how to spot and handle trauma situations.
The Coastal Coalition for Substance Awareness and Prevention guided schools and law enforcement agencies with training during an event at the New Bern Convention Center. They picked up tips to identify the signs of distress in the classroom and on the scene.
“If there is a situation where law enforcement is called out, and there are children involved, then they’re trauma-informed,” said Tamara Church, executive director of CCSAP. “So their approach to those children is different. And then what happens is the next day or the next school day, they communicate that with the school.”
With a new school year approaching, officials said this training couldn’t have come at a better time.
“This training is so important not only to law enforcement but specifically to school resource officers,” said Marquie Morrison-Brown, investigations captain with the New Bern Police Department. “We come across individuals who have experienced trauma in different events, different times of their life. The most important thing is knowing how to actually interact with them.”
Teaching how to recognize the behaviors and how to respond was something Becky Haas, CEO and trauma trainer with CCSAP, said isn’t always easy.
“Police had very little training on this,” Haas said. “So when a large part of your job is around traumatic events or reducing trauma, children working in a school campus and you don’t get a lot of training. So more and more of this topic. There’s a lot of interest.”
Many school administrators who attended Thursday’s workshops said they got a refresher about empathy.
“We’ve got to take care of each other … thinking about what has happened to people, we don’t need to know what the happening is. We just need to treat people with that lens,” said Stella Downs, principal at Trenton Elementary School.