The Syracuse Common Council and Syracuse City School District Announce Launch of New Support Services Program for Students

The Syracuse Common Council, the Syracuse City School District (SCSD) and the Syracuse Police Department (SPD) have collaborated in creating the Supporting Our Students (SOS) program which aims to provide support services for students who are victim or witness to violence, crime or traumatizing experiences in the community.

SOS will involve a change to police reports adding a “SCSD” tag allowing a query of SCSD students under 18 years old. These query reports will be sent to the SCSD Office of Student Support Services where the student’s school will be identified, then the principal and school support staff will be notified that this student may be in need of support services. “The goal of the SOS program is to encourage a compassionate community. It will help us to best direct our SCSD resources including those provided by Say Yes to Education and other community partnerships to serve the needs of our students,” said Education Committee Chairperson and 3rd District Councilor Susan C. Boyle. “This program will allow the SCSD Department of Student Support Services the information that they need to address student needs quickly and effectively.”

School social workers and community partners in the school buildings will work together to support students recovery. The SCSD administration is confident they have the staff and community partnerships in place to provide these quality intervention services to all students reported.

“Unfortunately, in our community too many of our young people are affected adversely by trauma,” said Syracuse City School Superintendent Jaime Alicea. “SOS will allow us to quickly identify these students and get them the support they need. Through our partnerships with outside agencies and our SCSD student support services staff we have the supports in place at all of our schools and now we will have the ability to recognize who needs them without them coming to us,” added Alicea.

Syracuse police officers are currently being trained in compassionate reporting which includes an increased awareness of children in traumatic environments. SPD will be working to communicate with parents about the services available to their children and the SCSD Office of Student Support Services’ contact information will be provided.

“This program also works in tandem with the SCSD trauma response training that has been taking place all summer for teachers and school employees,” said Councilor Boyle. “The SOS partnership will help our children recover from trauma and encourage them to feel safe, and transition back into the classroom.”

Additionally, the SOS program is encouraging parents to self-report their children’s difficulties in dealing with trauma by calling #411 or by using the “Let’s Talk” application and website link on the Syracuse City School District website. This link connects them to the SCSD office where they can request compassionate support services for their children if needed.