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Handle with Care

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The opinions, statements, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this session are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the conference hosts.

Adverse childhood experiences unfortunately happen to today’s youth. Sixty percent of US children have been exposed to violence, crime, or abuse. These students still go to school. They are expected to do the same work at the same time, all while carrying with them the traumatic experience from the night before. Because of these traumatic experiences, a child’s behavior, grades, and truancy are areas that could be negatively affected. School officials and teachers do not always know that a child may have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. They still expect students to perform as if nothing has happened. The “Handle With Care” program allows teachers to mitigate the stress of the traumatized child by showing grace, patience and understanding in the following days and weeks. This allows the student to continue to positively grow in their personal and educational journey. There is no explanation of what happened, just a notice with the child’s name and the words, “Handle with Care”.

Presented by Sara Kettwig
Community Response to Child Abuse Conference 2022

Sara Kettwig, State School Safety Specialist, Department of Public Safety and Office of Homeland Security Sara is a 20-year veteran educator, all of them in South Dakota. She earned her Bachelors in Special Education/Elementary Education with an endorsement in Middle School Education in 2001. In 2019, Sara earned her Masters in PK-12 Educational Administration. Sara joined the School Safety Center in 2021 with a huge heart for helping educators across the state working with youth. She trains teachers in Youth Mental Health First Aid, ACES, and bringing the Handle with Care program to South Dakota schools and communities. Sara has a passion for empowering her fellow educators to make a difference in a students life, by building caring, competent relationships and letting all students know that they have at least one “cheerleader” in their life.