PERRYSBURG — The new Handle with Care program at Perrysburg Schools is moving toward implementation with the Wood County Sheriff’s Office.

Justin Fults, who is director of student services and well being with Perrysburg schools, and Christine Harper, assistant director, presented the program to the board of education at the Wednesday working group meeting.

The Handle with Care program has been newly implemented this year in Perrysburg.

It’s a program where there is joint communication between the schools and first responders. When an adverse childhood experience takes place, the first responder will inform the school that something has happened.

This is not just for criminal events. Examples that Fults and Harper used included house fires and car accidents.

“It provides teachers with a heads up so they can provide care instead of consequences,” Harper said.

One of the protocols is no questions are asked of the student.

The confidentiality of the notice struck a chord with board member Lori Reffert, Ph.D., who said “Kids don’t want the attention.”

Reffert, who is an administrator with Toledo Public Schools, pointed out that there are many types of trauma that children experience, and that the schools often don’t know what might be going on outside of school.

“No more ‘suck it up buttercup,’” Reffert said. “You can’t learn if your basic needs aren’t being met.”

The district is the first to implement the program in Wood County, but Harper said it is receiving attention from Eastwood Schools and Bowling Green City Schools.

The schools have already partnered with the local level police, fire and EMS units. The more difficult expansion is taking it to the county level, but they are working with the sheriff’s office to create a mechanism for notification of the district to be informed.

Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn had meetings recently with both the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board and the Educational Service Center.

In a follow-up interview, Wasylyshyn said that some of the practices that are part of the Handle with Care program are already taking place through school resource officers with the DARE program.

“We will always notify if we’re involved in some way with a student. We will let the schools know. We’ve been doing that and we will continue doing that, whether it’s part of Handle with Care or it’s a continuation of what we’ve been doing,” Wasylyshyn said.

After district-wide training that started in August, Handle with Care officially started at Perrysburg on Jan. 17. There have already been three referrals.

Visit for more information.