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Kids in Crisis: How Lowcountry schools identify at-risk students

How Lowcountry schools identify at-risk students (WCIV) 2.png

Teachers spend more time with kids in the classroom, than some parents at home.

Often it's you're child's teacher who notices he or she could be in trouble.

Many districts have risk assessment teams to help students before something happens.

The Berkeley County School District gave us a glimpse inside their risk assessment program.

Earlier this year, 19 year old Julio Jimenez was arrested for having a gun on campus.

School officials say teacher spotted the warning signs and alerted a school resource officer.

Principal Carol Bartlett says sometimes the warning signs are not so obvious.

"Here's the situation a child said this or did this and we are concerned they may be a threat to themselves or someone .. most of of the time the red flags you get aren't like.. OH,"says Bartlett.

Warning signs include friends are shifting, more time on social media or their grades drop says Bartlett.

When staff members spot the warning signs, they act.

"Start gathering information, information from the students, parent ... academic record or information about whatever lead this child to be in crisis,' says Bartlett.

Berkeley county Schools gave us three years of data, covering the district over 40 schools with over 32 -thousand students.

Since 2015 the district has averaged 70 risk assessments a year, a very small percentage,

But it only takes one person.

Kelly Wulf the Executive Director for Special Services says, 'I would rather have us overly assess and be caution and be responsive to children's needs than to not respond and we are in a crisis this is about preventing a crisis."

If a child is identified as in crisis, counselors, administrators, the principal and school psychologist come up with a plan

A plan may include, identifying a mentor the student.

Wulf says there is also a plan in place if student needs more help, "it may be a situation where we have exhausted all of our supports and we need to go into a formalize evaluation see if student has a disability."

Sherri Ashbee, a Berkeley County School psychologist says parents also need to watch for warning signs, " I would know all of my child's friends as a parent you need to know that… what are they looking at on social media be very aware .. very aware if they spending a lot of time on weapons or school attacks..

Charleston county school district says they have identified 242 at risk students over the last three years.

We are waiting for data for Dorchester County district 2

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