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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

The effects a negative police interaction can have on a child's brain


Alisha Lauchie, therapist certified in trauma focused behavioral therapy, she says that the African-American youths who were cuffed at gunpoint by Grand Rapids Police Department is not an isolated experience for children of color.

“I think we have to do as a community much better with treating our children as children. Essentially these were two boys that were in their neighbocrhood, on their street, not doing anything that was threatening or anything that was dangerous.” 

Wesley Morgan, local mental health professional says the children experienced a traumatic event.  

“What do you think that does to an eleven-year-old child who just got racially profiled, handcuffed because they supposedly fit a description. That child now is going to develop some anger towards the police, some fear, anxiety. In my opinion even PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder.” 

Experiencing an event like this, according to Lauchie, causes an individual to go into fight, flight or freeze mode. 

“The brain can almost become rewired in a sense to where any experience that is similar, even if its not, even if they experience something that’s not a threat. That brain remembers what that feeling was, remembers what some of those thoughts were, and then its almost rewired to go back into survival mode.”

The three boys who were cuffed at gunpoint follows the incident of Honestie Hodges, eleven year old who was also cuffed at gunpoint last December by Grand Rapids Police Department.  

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News. 

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