New Haven Educators Make School a 'Sanctuary' for Students Traumatized by City Violence

By Audrey Washington
|  Friday, May 23, 2014  |  Updated 4:48 PM EDT
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New Haven Educators Make School a 'Sanctuary' Amid City Violence

There have been multiple shootings reported in New Haven this year alone. In some cases students living in high-crime areas have to walk by crime scenes just to get to school.

The staff at Domas Academy in New Haven is one resource they can use to help, specially trained to handle students dealing with trauma.

"We are trained in a model called Sanctuary which deliberately focuses on training and teaching the staff what psychological trauma is,” Courtney Carey, chief clinical services officer, said,

The Domas Academy said when there is an incident of violence either in a student's home or in the community, the teachers contact one another and next put in place the safety plan.

"We make sure that all the home room teachers come together. We usually bring in extra support staff to the classrooms and we meet with the kids first. We check in with them, in what we call a community meeting," Nicole Gineo, special education teacher, said.

Carey said the staff is also trained to recognize specific behaviors in a student having difficulty coping with trauma.

"They may be very hyper vigilant, looking all around and assuming something bad is going to happen. They may be depressed or tired because oftentimes these things keep kids up all night,” Carey said.

"This is not just a school, this is a community of caring people, of peers that you can rely on for help," said Carey.

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