Listen here to find out how the SOS program can help students cope with traumatic experiences.
Audio transcript: Miller-Wrap 3 Story Script
By Kayla Miller SYRACUSE N.Y. (NCC News) — The Syracuse City School District and the police department have partnered together in creating a new program that will help students cope with trauma.
“Supporting Our Students,” or SOS, is a new communications system between the school district and the police department that will provide support services to students who have been victims or witnesses to domestic violence, crime, or any other traumatic experience.
The police department would send a report of students under the age of 18 with the tagline, “SCSD” (Syracuse City School District), to the Office of Student Support Services. The student’s school will be identified, and the principal and support staff will be informed that the student may need support services.
According to the Syracuse Police Department, over 20 students have received support services through the program since the start of the school year.
Susan Boyle, Common Councilor and Education Committee chair, emphasized that getting the students counseling help is the main priority of the SOS program.
“We haven’t always known what these kids are going through until they get to school,” said Boyle. “Often times we won’t know that a child is struggling until they’re in trouble, so we want to try to get ahead of issues like that and try to give kids the nurturing and counseling they need.”
According to Councilor Boyle, the city has contributed millions of dollars to the Syracuse City School District, mental health resources, and traumatic response organizations within the community.
Director of Student Support Services Melissa Evans explains that with this new partnership with the police department, the school will be able to meet the goals of their strategic plan.
“One of the components of [the strategic plan] is to engage with families in a better way and to make sure we are being culturally responsive to our students and families,” said Evans.
The SOS program also encourages parents to personally report to the police department about their children’s’ struggle with trauma by calling 411 or the Syracuse City District Office to request support services.