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School Incident. Facilitators: Stephen Earley, Tom Perry Vermont School Crisis Team. The Exercise. This is a discussion exercise. Everyone’s voice needs to be heard! Follow the scenario as it unfolds and apply as much as possible to your school. You are not judged on being right or wrong.

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school incident

School Incident

Facilitators: Stephen Earley, Tom Perry

Vermont School Crisis Team

the exercise
The Exercise
  • This is a discussion exercise. Everyone’s voice needs to be heard!
  • Follow the scenario as it unfolds and apply as much as possible to your school.
  • You are not judged on being right or wrong.
  • The point is to discuss what you might do in response to the actions as they unfold, and see if there are changes you might make in your school, supervisory plan to make it better.
discussion tips dyads and groups
Discussion tips: Dyads and Groups
  • One person speaks
  • Others listen, do not question, comment
  • Each person gets a turn
  • When all are done, the group discusses the ideas that were reported.
  • READY?
monday morning 8 45 am
Monday morning 8:45 am
  • An elementary student, 6th grader Jeff Mack, comes to school late and he appears to be tired and hungry.
  • His teacher asks if he is OK and he replies that he thinks that his parents are getting a divorce.
  • He thinks his dad hit his mom last night because the police had to come to the house.
  • How should this be handled in your school?

(One minute dyad, then pairs share with the group)

monday 12 45pm
Monday 12:45pm
  • Mrs. Susan Harris Mack, Jeff’s mother, calls the school secretary and says she is getting a restraining order on her husband, John, because she does not feel safe when he is at home.
  • She will not go into any more details and hangs up.
  • The Mack and Harris families are well known with many relatives in the area elementary schools and the high school.
  • What should your school secretary do?

(One minute dyad, and then share with the group)

monday 3 00pm
Monday 3:00pm
  • Jack’s mother picks him up at the end of the school day.
  • The bus driver said she met Jack before he got on the bus and waved to the driver that she was taking him in her car.
  • How should your bus drivers communicate with the school? (One minute dyad, then pairs share with the group)
  • Should parents be allowed to take their children from the bus?

(One minute dyad, then pairs share with the group)

How does this compare with current practice?

tuesday morning 7 45am
Tuesday morning 7:45am
  • One of the teachers tells you (school administration) that he saw John Mack at a local tavern watching the Monday Night Football game last night. He appeared to be drinking heavily and complaining about his job.
  • He works for his brother-in-law in the family logging business.
  • Jeff comes to school on the bus. He tells his teacher,

“Everything’s OK. I think my sister is going to drive me home today.” His sister, Julie, is a Junior at Poultney High School.

What should the procedure be for releasing students to parents or siblings at your school?

(One minute dyad, then pairs share with the group)

How does this compare with current practice?

tuesday 1 15 pm
Tuesday 1:15 pm
  • Mrs. Mack visits the guidance counselor and says that she will have the restraining order served tomorrow.
  • She knows her husband will be angry and is concerned about the effect on their two children, especially Jeff, who is looking forward to hunting with his father on Youth Day this year.
  • John Mack is an avid hunter and has a collection of guns at the house.
  • She will pick Jeff up from school today.
tuesday 3 30pm
Tuesday 3:30pm
  • Jeff is still at school waiting by the front door.
  • What would you do?

(One minute dyad, then pairs share with the group)

wednesday 9 15am
Wednesday 9:15am
  • Mrs. Mack arrives at the school to speak with the counselor. Her brother called to say that John did not show up for work and he offered her a place to stay “until this blows over.”
  • She does not know where John is staying and guesses that he is at the family deer camp.
  • She does not want the school to allow him to pick up Jeff up at the end of the day. She will make arrangements.
  • “He does not have my permission to get Jeff and you’d better not let it happen!”
  • What steps do you take?

(One minute dyad, then pairs share with the group)

wednesday 3 30pm
Wednesday 3:30pm
  • You are in a meeting.
  • Mrs. Mack appears with a copy of the court order regarding her husband. He must remain at least 500 feet from the house and not contact his wife except through the Harris family.
  • She wants to talk to you now. She wants to know what you will do if her husband shows up at the high school or the elementary school to see her children.
  • What is the school’s response?
  • Who do you notify?

(One minute dyad, then pairs share with the group)

discussion groups of four or five
Discussion-Groupsof four or five
  • Is there anything in the school district’s policies that will guide your actions?
  • Are there any priorities that are contained in the Vermont School Crisis Guide that will help?
  • What level must an incident rise to before formal responses are initiated?
  • What resources can you call in?
wednesday 7 45pm
Wednesday 7:45pm
  • John Mack sends a cousin to his residence to pick up some of his belongings. The friend takes some hunting clothes and several guns over Mrs. Mack’s objections. She calls the police and they explain he has done nothing wrong because it is John’s property and he is not in violation of the court order.
thursday 7 00am
Thursday 7:00am
  • Mrs. Mack is waiting at school with her daughter and her son when you arrive. She appears tired and distraught. She is going to drive her children to school each day and wants them safely inside the building before she leaves for work.
  • Jeff is quiet. Julie looks bored and rolls her eyes whenever she is called one of the children. She says she can drive herself and Jeff to school and save her mother from taking time off work.
  • She pleads, “Please keep my son safe”, as she leaves for the high school.
  • Do you take any precautions at this time?

(One minute dyad, then pairs share with the group)

thursday 8 35am
Thursday 8:35am
  • Reverend Freemont, the local pastor, calls. He is concerned for the safety of the Mack children. He met with Susan Mack this week but he is not at liberty to disclose their discussion. He thinks she should go to a relatives home in New York until the dispute can be resolved.
  • “Peace be with you,” he adds as he ends the conversation.
thursday 9 10am go to larger groups
Thursday 9:10am (Go to larger groups)
  • John Mack appears at the elementary school and wants to speak with Jeff privately. Can he?
  • He comments that he is worried that his wife will try to take his son and daughter and, “That ain’t gonna’ happen.”
  • He tells you that the school better keep his kids safe from his wife or there will be hell to pay.
  • What do you say to him?
  • Can he remove his family from school?
  • Should you call in the mother?
thursday 12 05 pm
Thursday 12:05 pm
  • A parent in the office comments that two State Police cruisers parked at the Mobil station in town. They’ve been there for some time. “I wonder what’s up?”
  • Is there a scanner network in Poultney?
  • Do citizens monitor response frequencies?
  • Does the district have a media communications plan?
thursday 1 45 2 00pm
Thursday 1:45-2:00pm
  • The elementary school and high school get simultaneous calls from both Mack parents that they are coming in to pick up their son and daughter immediately. Each asks for the student to be waiting at the front door.
  • Mr. Mack sounds angry. Mrs. Mack sounds frightened.
  • What concerns do you have for safety at this time?

(One minute dyad, then pairs share with the group)

thursday 2 12pm larger group
Thursday 2:12pm (Larger Group)
  • Two cars pull up in front of the (use either or both)

1) elementary

2) high school

It could be the two parents. School is about to dismiss, flooding the area with students and faculty.

  • What will you do?
  • Who does it?
  • Who is in charge if a disturbance breaks out?
discussion questions
Discussion Questions
  • If a disturbance breaks out in front of the school. What crisis command would you use?
  • How long does it take for law enforcement to respond in the village? At the rural schools?
  • When law enforcement arrives, what should be your role? Do you speak with the officer(s) or stay out of it?
  • If a domestic situation occurs on school grounds, should you inform parents or rely on public notification in the police log?
  • What would you report?
  • And lastly, how do you prepare for the phone calls once the event hits the scanner?
  • You’ve worked your way through a table top exercise (TTX) designed to simulate a possible threat to the safety of students.
  • Working through scenarios helps people design response plans that keep students and adults safe from harm.
  • Remember:
    • Keep things simple and logical
    • Involve area responders in planning
    • PRACTICE often!