Schools to hash hiring trauma informed employee

Published 1:16 pm Thursday, November 2, 2023

The Claiborne School Board is considering adding to its roster an individual whose salary will be paid through the county’s portion of opioid settlement dollars. If accepted, the funds would help in dealing with traumatic experiences of those attending grades K-12. Meredith Arnold, Director of Schools, said she was approached by the Claiborne County Opioid Board to see if she would be interested in accepting the offer to place the employee, free of charge, to oversee the Trauma in Schools Program.

Arnold said the employee’s pay would be donated to the school district for the next 18 years and that the county school system would be the one doing the hiring.

The person would be considered a school (county) employee who would serve each of the campuses on an ‘at greatest need’ basis, she said.

“Basically, the trauma-informed school involves understanding the impact that trauma has on children, the signs to look for and what to do when you see them,” said Arnold.

Staff would undergo training as part of the program.

“If they’re willing to let us be the employer and overseer of this individual, it sounded like a really good endeavor, right now. We’re going to learn more at the next (Opioid Board) meeting,” said Arnold.

In other business, school board member Shane Bunch referred to a recent emergency situation at Cumberland Gap High School when a student fell ill with stroke-like symptoms. The campus was told it could take four hours or longer before an ambulance could be sent to transport the student from the school to the emergency helipad in Harrogate, located less than two miles away.

The student was eventually transported by the Bell County Ambulance Service, located in Pineville, Kentucky – some 20 minutes away.

“Here in the last couple of years you’re not guaranteed an ambulance,” said Bunch, referring to the Covenant Health/Claiborne Medical Center owned service.

This is something that is going on continually and that’s why I raise the question.”

He asked if the school board could find an alternate means when emergency transports are tying up ambulances elsewhere. He mentioned contracting with LifeStar.

“If we have an employee or a student who goes down and has to be flown out from that spot, could we have a plan,” said Bunch.

These and other items of discussion will be heard during the next Claiborne County School Board meeting, to be held on Nov. 9 at Claiborne High School.