KPD Kicks Off Two Child Safety Initiatives as Children Return To School

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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News item

KPD Kicks Off Two Child Safety Initiatives as Children Return To School

Posted: 08/08/2016
KPD logoKnoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and Police Chief David Rausch announced the launch of two programs that are designed for the safety of our children.  The “Give Me A Reason” drug prevention initiative will provide youth another way to resist peer pressure to experiment with drugs.  The “Handle with Care” program will allow officers to provide a school with a ‘heads-up’ when a student has been involved in a traumatic event. 

Give Me A Reason

Studies indicate almost 50% of 12th graders say they have used drugs at least once in their lifetime.  Eighteen percent of 12th graders reported using marijuana in the last month.  Additionally, 25% of those who began abusing prescription drugs at age 13 or younger met clinical criteria for addiction sometime in their lifetime.  

Chief Rausch said, “Peer pressure is often the catalyst for a child’s first use of an illegal drug.  These same children are looking for reasons to resist the pressure to use drugs.  Give Me A Reason will do just that.”  

The “Give Me A Reason” program provides free saliva-based drug testing kits to parents or caregivers.  When confronted with drugs the child has an opportunity to say “I can’t use drugs, my parents drug test me!”  The test kits also allow the parents or caregivers a way to hold their children accountable to family rules concerning use or misuse of drugs – illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter. 

The home drug test is completely confidential and only takes minutes to complete.  Multiple drugs can be detected including Opiates, Oxycodone, marijuana, Meth, and Cocaine.  Should your child test positive information on how to obtain assistance with adolescent drug use is included with the kit.  

The kits have been made available by Appalachia HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas).  A limited number of the kits will be available at the Back To School Bash this afternoon.  

Handle with Care

Domestic violence, shootings, drug raids and fights are just some of the events that can occur in any community at any given time.  Unfortunately, children are often witnesses to these traumatic events whether it occurs in their community or in their home.  These events can cause stress that can be easily overlooked by their parents or caregivers.  The stress can carry over to the classroom leading to poor performance, a withdrawal from friends and even discipline problems.  

Handle with Care promotes school-community partnerships aimed at ensuring that children who are exposed to trauma in their home or community receive appropriate interventions to help them achieve academically at their highest levels despite whatever traumatic circumstances they may have endured.  

The “Handle with Care” program will help to overcome these problems through a simple notification process.  When officers are on the scene of an incident where a child has witnessed a traumatic event, the officer will identify the child, identify the school they attend then send the school an email that simply states “Handle (name of child) with Care.”  No other details will be shared with the school system.

This notification will alert the principal and teacher that the child was at the scene of a stressful event overnight.  That event could be the reason their homework was not completed, or they cannot stay focused in class, or are very emotional.  

Chief Rausch said, “The Handle with Care program simply lets the school know that the student may need extra attention.  That something has happened in this child’s life that can potentially affect their ability to learn.”