Missouri school safety procedures start to include trauma training

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JEFFERSON CITY - Some mid-Missouri schools are requiring their teachers to do childhood trauma training.

Resilience Builders is starting its first year of hosting trauma-informed presentations and workshops. Certain school districts are using these workshops as a chance to educate their teachers on how to deal with children and traumatic experiences.

During her 'Trauma and Resilience in Early Childhood Workshop', Resilience Builders founder Marsha Morgan said she started the group for several reasons, one being to help training for trauma sensitive schools.

“These are things people need to know. You don’t always know what someone has gone through, but these programs are designed to help you become better at working with those individuals,” said Morgan.

While teachers from Southern Boone Elementary were required by administration to attend, other educators around the room said they were there to know more about how to work with their students.

“There has to be more we can do as teachers," Hallsville principal Karen Jimerson said. "I’m here to see what more I can do to help build a healthy school environment.”

Morgan mentioned that anything could be a trauma trigger, even a routine school safety drill.

Six years ago, Missouri was considered one of 27 states that did not require schools to have an active shooter plan. After Missouri House bill no. 2567 passed last April, law changed to force schools do active shooter training at least twice a year.

According to Columbia Public Schools spokesperson Michelle Baumstark, CPS has done active shooter training for almost a decade. She said ALICE training has been helpful in keeping staff alert and ready for an emergency.

“We’ve had this active threat training for such a long time, ALICE is something that we are used to using. It’s basically the same premise as ‘run, hide, fight‘,” said Baumstark.

In addition to equipping school faculty with active shooter training, Baumstark credited the strong presence of school resource officers helping students feel safe. SROs are community police officers who patrol school grounds on a daily basis.

“SROs are not about arrests in buildings or managing behaviors. It really is about developing relationships,” said Baumstark.

Missouri HB2567 requires public schools to create an environment where students can feel comfortable sharing information about a potentially dangerous situation with an adult.

Major Roger Rice of the Fulton Police Department has worked with the SRO program for over 15 years. He, too, said that being an SRO was about fostering a healthy relationship with students.

“It’s very important not to just be ‘officer friendly’ today. Today, we need to be a part of the education system as well,” said Rice.

Baumstark said having community partners and counselors in place for those experiencing trauma is necessary when it comes to school safety, today. She said for CPS, these are standard practices. She said having procedures that focus on mental health can help prevent future emergency situations.