Responding to critical incidents in schools
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Responding to Critical Incidents in Schools. A Behavioral Health Plan October 22, 2010 Paul Deignan Department of Health and Human Services. Scenario. You are in your office on a quiet Monday It's early morning. School has just begun for the day.

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Responding to critical incidents in schools

Responding to Critical Incidents in Schools

A Behavioral Health Plan

October 22, 2010

Paul Deignan

Department of Health and Human Services


Scenario

Scenario

  • You are in your office on a quiet Monday

  • It's early morning.

  • School has just begun for the day.

  • One school bus is late arriving due to ice on the roads.


Details of the incident

Details of the Incident

  • The bus has 26 students from the middle and high schools on board (ages 10 - 17).

  • As the bus arrives, the driver is unable to stop the bus. The bus skids and then crashes through the wall of the music room. There are 25 students in the music room.

  • Two students are killed and 19 students are injured - four of them severely.


Responding to critical incidents in schools

  • What steps would your school would take to activate your emergency response plan?

  • Which students & staff are most at risk?

  • What types of services would facilitate the recovery process?

  • How would they be delivered?


Purpose of the plan

Purpose of the Plan

  • To enhance existing school emergency response plans

  • To expedite the assessment and response to a critical incident

  • To clarify roles of responders/helpers

  • To enhance a school`s capacity to respond to critical incidents in an effective and compassionate manner.


Critical incident

“Critical Incident”

“Any incident that might impact the emotional functioning of members of the school community:”

  • Students

  • Faculty

  • Parents


Responding to critical incidents in schools

“There cannot be a crisis this

week…

My schedule is already full.”

-Henry Kissinger


Types of school events

Types of School Events

  • Student deaths

  • Staff deaths

  • Accidents

  • Suicides

  • Violence in schools or community (assaults, murders, drive-by shooting)

  • Natural disasters (tornado, earthquake, hurricane, ice storm, etc.)

  • School shootings

Probability of Event


Goals for managing a critical incident planning phase

Goals for Managing a Critical Incident Planning Phase:

  • Have a school or district-wide behavioral health response team in place

  • Identify external community behavioral health resources and build relationships

  • Provide staff training on ………………………..

  • Include behavioral health issues in school based exercises and drills

  • Update contact information regularly


Goals for managing a critical incident response phase

Goals for Managing a Critical IncidentResponse Phase:

  • Ensure safety of staff and students

  • Maintain stability of school operations

  • Maintain consistency of information

  • Address the emotional needs of students, parents, faculty and staff

  • Collaborate with external resources


Recovery key components

Recovery: Key Components

  • Physical/Structural Recovery

  • Business/Fiscal Recovery

  • Academic Recovery

  • Psychological/Emotional Recovery


Academic recovery

Academic Recovery

Youth exposed to violence and trauma have been shown to have:

  • Lower grade point averages (Hurt et al., 2001)

  • Decreased reading ability (Delaney-Black et al., 2003)*

  • More negative remarks in their cumulative records

  • More reported absences from school (Hurt et al., 2001)

  • Increased expulsions and suspensions (LAUSD survey)

  • Decreased rates of H.S. graduation (Grogger,1997)

*Source: Delaney-Black, V., Covington, C., Ondersma, S.J., Nordstrom-Klee, B., Templin, T., Ager, J., Janisse, J., & Sokol, R.J. (2002). Violence exposure, trauma, and IQ and/or reading deficits among urban children. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 156 (3), 280-285.


Restore the learning environment

Restore the Learning Environment

  • Act to re-establish a sense of safety

  • Return school to routines & schedules

  • Support the emotional stabilization of students, faculty and parents


Psychological emotional recovery internal and external resources

COMMUNITY

Public Health

Local Government

School District

Mental Health

Public Safety

Law Enforcement

Emergency Management

Psychological/Emotional Recovery: Internal and External Resources

  • Consider local mental health resources

  • Develop a structure for support

  • "Outside" vs. "Inside" help


Needs of various groups

Needs of Various Groups

  • Administrators

  • Faculty

  • Students

  • Parents

  • Community


Strategic assessment

Strategic Assessment

Assessment Tool (Appendix A)

  • Assess damage

  • Assess internal and external resources

  • Create a strategic plan of response


Responding to the critical incident

Responding to the Critical Incident

  • Day One

  • Day Two

  • Day of the Funeral

  • Post-Memorial Services

  • Anniversary


Memorialization

Memorialization

  • Policy for memorials

  • Temporary memorials

  • Living memorials

  • Scholarship funds

  • Candlelight vigils

  • On-line memorials

  • Pictures/plagues

  • Memory books


Checklists

Checklists

  • Superintendent

  • Principal

  • School based response team

  • Public Information Officer


Sample letters phone calls

Sample Letters/Phone Calls

  • Letter to Faculty – death of student

  • Letter to Faculty – student suicide

  • Phone call to Parents – suicide or murder

  • Phone call to Parents – suspected suicide

  • Phone call to Parents – sudden student death


Other issues addressed in plan

Other Issues Addressed In Plan

  • Sample After Action Report

  • Working with the Media

  • Military Kids

  • Suicide considerations

    Resources

  • Community resources

  • Handouts

  • Web sites


Responding to critical incidents in schools

First we have the test

and

then we have the lesson


Contact information

CONTACT INFORMATION

Paul Deignan,DBH Coordinator

[email protected]

Cell: 419-0074, Work 271-4462

Mark Lindberg, DBH Liaison

Cell: 991-3366, Work 444-5358

Joan Haskell,DBH Liaison

Cell: 566-3523, Work 889-6147


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