Investigators in the 4700 block of North 20th Street after a man was shot Wednesday morning (Credit: KMOV)
NORTH ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -
A 10-year-old boy reportedly found a man’s body in north St. Louis’ College Hill neighborhood Wednesday morning.
Homicide investigators were called to the 4700 block of north 20th shortly after 7:20 a.m. when Anthony Moore, 49, was found dead. Officials told News 4 it is unknown how long the man’s body had been lying at the location. Police said Moore had multiple gunshot wounds.
According to police, the boy found the Moore's body while he was on his way to school. The St. Louis Public School District (SLPS) knows that many of their students come to school after witnessing trauma like this situation, where a boy came across a homicide. Because of this, the district is making sure every staff member is trained in how to recognize, understand and heal trauma in children.
For the last three years, each SLPS employee has been going through annual trauma training, which helps them to recognize signs in a child that indicates they've experienced trauma outside of the school. Red flags that Farragut Elementary School teacher Stephanie Merklin has been trained to look for is social behavior contrasts.
"It's one spectrum or the other. It's either totally withdrawn, they'll come in sit down and say nothing to you, or all they'll want to do is be by your side the entire day," said Merklin.
Merklin says the key to helping children cope with trauma in their lives is to be able to have an open relationship with their teachers, where they feel comfortable talking to them about tough topics and personal stories.
"I tell my students every day, 'Tell me what it is that worries you, because if there's something that worries you, once you get it off of you and you tell me about it, then it gets to worry me and you don't have to worry about it anymore,'" said Merklin.
Guidance counselor Stephanie Moore hears stories from students daily.
"Sometimes they hear gunshots at night and that's pretty frightening for them and a lot of our students have lost loved ones and some of those violently," said Moore.
When a student acts out, trauma training has taught staff to ask students, 'What's going in your life?' instead of asking them, 'What's wrong with you?'
Another method to help students reach a peaceful state of mind is using calming chairs in the hallways and peace corners in the classrooms to take a break and play with objects that help ease the mind.
"Now we're able to use alternate forms of getting to the root of the problem and then helping the kid cope," said Bob LaPlante, who helps coordinate trauma training at Farragut Elementary School.
These alternate methods appear to be working. The first year of trauma training in the 2014-15 school year, there were 68 suspensions at Farragut Elementary School. The second year in 2015-16, there were only 20 suspensions. Last year during the 2016-17 school year, there were zero suspensions.
So far in the 2017-18 school year there have been three suspensions, which LaPlante says is still drastically down from where they used to be. He said this time of year they were typically averaging 15 suspensions.
"They have trauma in their lives we don't know about and I think that having every and any teacher go through this training is a huge asset for them," said Merklin.
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