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Crisis Intervention Plan
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Adopted from the crisis plan of Grand County School District, Moab, Utah with permission.

 

Crisis Intervention Plan
The purpose of this plan is twofold. First, this plan outlines a set of procedures for administrators and crisis team members to follow in order to effectively manage a crisis in the school. A crisis in school may be brought on by the death of a student, teacher, staff member, or administrator, as well as by a community disaster. Second, this plan provides various techniques to help administrators, teachers and counselors support students and each other during such a crisis.

Intervention Model
The model outlines a set of procedures for all school personnel to follow during a crisis to minimize confusion and rumors. The model is task oriented and specific to assist administration and staff during a period when they may likely be grieving themselves.

The Crisis Intervention Team
The basic intervention team is comprised of a crisis coordinator, social workers, school psychologists, principals, SRO’s, nurses and school counselors.The team consults with school administration and faculty to assist in implementing this plan. Outside agencies are enlisted for help depending on the nature of the problem. Additional assistance may be obtained from community members or staff who may be a special assistance due to cultural awareness,counseling skills or relationship with the student and family.

Intervention Protocols and Procedures
Specific protocols are included for administration, teachers and the crisis intervention team. Utilizing protocols will minimize effort and confusion. Procedures are included to assist teachers, administration, and counselors when speaking to students about death. A district phone tree will be utilized to notify school personnel of the crisis.  Email’s and the automated phone system will also be utilized to ensure all staff are contacted. 

Crisis Intervention Coordinator
 AECSD’s Intervention Coordinator is Camille Johnson, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services.  A Crisis Team emergency phone tree will be reviewed and modified yearly.

Documentation
The Contact Log will be used to document students seen by social workers, school counselors, psychologists, ect. as a result of the crisis. These will be copied and given to the building principal who will send them to the crisis coordinator one week after the event.   

AECSD

CONTACT LOG



Date:


Name of Student:


School:                            Grade:


Location Seen:


Time:


Individually____    Group_____(Check One)


Parent Contact:   Yes____   No_____

 

 

 



Outcome of Parent Contact:

 

 

 
Counselor Notified?   Yes____  No____ 

If yes, who was notified?___________________________________

Details:

 


Other Siblings in District Effected by Crisis?

Yes_______   No______

 

Other School Counselors Notified?

Yes_______   No______

 

Details:

 



Sibling -  Names/Grades/Schools?:

      

 

 

 

Referral To Outside Agency: Yes___ No___  Details:

 


Counselor Notified:    Yes____   No____

 

If yes who was notified____________________

 

Details:

 


Name of Crisis Team Member Who Saw Student:

 

_________________________________________________________
 


Return Contact Logs tothe building principal who will forward them to the crisis coordinator.





INDEX


Counselor  Responsibilities


    Do Not Checklist
    Do Checklist







 

 

PREPARE BEFORE THE EMERGENCY

Educational leaders believe they are prepared for every possible situation. They review literature and professional journals on how to cope with low test scores, aging faculty and shrinking budgets.

Nevertheless, what do they do when a space shuttle containing the first teacher in space suddenly explodes while students watch?

How does a Principal face 1200 students in a high school and tell them that four popular students were killed in an automobile accident the night before?

What does a Principal do when parents want help to inform their student that a brother has been killed in an accident?

When a teacher dies, what words or actions can the administration provide for the students and staff?

When one considers that each year one out of every 750 young people will die or be killed, the urgency of establishing a procedure for informing students of "bad news" becomes obvious. Young people are looking for models in times of grief and, as with many other social and emotional situations, it is the educational system that must often supply the "solution."

If educators wait until the tragedy occurs, they are forced to decide what to do and how to do it in the face of time pressures and highly charged emotions. It is universally agreed that an ounce of prevention can curtail a pound of negative consequences.

The information included here will help you address some issues that may occur as a result of a traumatic event.  

It should be noted that a building emergency phone tree should be reviewed and updated on a yearly basis.  Personal cell phone numbers should be included. 

WHEN NEWS OF A DEATH OR TRAUMATIC EVENT IS RECEIVED....

Initial Tasks for the Principal are:

  • Verify the death or event and obtain as much information as possible from primary sources (family, police, etc.).
  •  Contact the Intervention Coordinator.
  •  If the event occurred over the weekend, consider opening up the building for the faculty on Sunday.
  • Hold a faculty meeting to discuss the facts of the situation and to outline the intervention plan.  The library is often a good meeting location.

Secondary Tasks are:

  • Emphasize facts to dispel rumors and speculation.
  •  Keep the staff informed.
  •  Return to a normal school routine as much as possible.
  •  If there crisis involves the death of a staff member, place flowers in the staff members space as a memorial.
  •  Be highly visible, especially during class changes and lunch periods.
 


CRISIS INTERVENTION MODEL

The purpose of the District Crisis Intervention Team is to help resolve crises. This is accomplished through individual and group support for the school and community. The goal is to return the school and students to a normal routine. The School Principal consults with the Intervention Coordinator.

Major tasks include:

  • Support and be a resource to the administration, counselors and staff.
  •  Provide crisis counseling to groups or individuals.
  •  Identify and assist high risk students and staff
  • Activate community resources for intervention or follow-up support, if necessary.
  •  Contact and inform parents as needed.
  •  Assist other schools that may be affected.
 


INTERVENTION PROTOCOL

All information is directed to and verified by the Principal.  The Principal reviews the situation in consultation with the Intervention Coordinator.

    The Principal contacts the family (in person if possible) to:

  • deliver memory books/notes/cards to famiily
  • offer condolences.
  • obtain information .
  • discuss with the family what information may be shared.  
  ¬†
The Principal should:

  • notify staff as appropriate before their arrival at school by activating the buiilding phone tree.
  • hold a faculty meeting to discuss the plan of the team. ¬†
  • provide appropriate hand-outs for staff to utilize.
  • hold a moment of silence, if appropriate.
  • coordinate all media statements with the Superintendent's office.
 

The Intervention Team meets with administrators and counselors to:

  • exchange information between team members and administration.
  •  discuss those persons who were identified as vulnerable (staff and students) and suggest follow up.
  •  contact parents of vulnerable students.
  •  document interventions.
 


WHAT CAN THE INTERVENTION TEAM PROVIDE?

  • Consultation and support for administrators
  •  Support to the staff
  •  Support to students:
  •          * individual
  •         * group
  •         * classes
  •         * assessment for individual risk
  • Parent consultations and information
  •  Classroom debriefings
  •  Identify school and community resources
  •  Parent and community meetings
  •  Follow-up activities
 

CRISIS TEAM RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Attend the planning meeting to discuss interventions and protocols.
  •  Identify and arrange for specific rooms and areas for group and individual counseling.
  •  Determine appropriate hand-out for staff.
  • Attend faculty meeting.
  • Offer to read statement to students for staff members who have recently suffered loss and/or are personally effected by crisis.
  • Determine appropriate suggestions for parents on how to talk with their children, which will be included in the Parent Letter.
  • Be available to go into classes with teachers to assist in discussions.
  •  Meet with individual students that are referred or request individual counseling.
  •  Identify students that may be "at risk" who need follow-up services or referral.
  •  Clarify information and dispel any rumors.
  •  Call parents of those students seen during the day, or who may be in need of further help.
  •  Coordinate parent meetings as needed.
  •  Provide information to staff, parents, and students.
  •  Attend debriefing.
  •  Arrange follow-up services.
 

COUNSELOR (School Pychologist, Social Workers, School Counselors) RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Attend the planning meeting to discuss interventions and protocols.
  • Identify and arrange for specific rooms and areas for group and individual counseling.
  • Have materials available for students whereby they can complete memory books, notes/cards to family, and/or writing/drawing options.
  •  Determine how shifts or breaks can occur for counselors over the course of the day.
  •  Be available to go into classes with teachers to assist in discussions.
  • One or more counselors assigned to checking back in with teachers during the day to see if they need a break.
  •  Meet with individual students that are referred or request individual counseling.
  • Identify students that may be "at risk" who need follow-up services or referral.
  • Clarify information and dispel any rumors.
  • Call parents of those students seen during the day, or who may be in need of further help.
  • Coordinate parent meetings as needed.
  • Provide information to staff, parents, and students.
  • Attend debriefing.
  • Arrange follow-up services.

TEACHER RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Attend faculty / staff meeting.
  •  Read any prepared announcement to students.
  •  Make referrals to the Intervention Team as needed.
  •  Keep all other students in the classroom.
  •  Help identify students "at risk".
  •  Provide information, clarify rumors and misinformation.
  •  Modify classes as appropriate.
  •  Work with the ¬†Crisis Intervention Team to coordinate follow-up services.
  

INTERVENTION COORDINATOR RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Activate the crisis intervention team emergency phone tree.
  •  Meet with Crisis Intervention Team to review protocol as outlined.
  •  Attend staff meeting to outline the intervention plan and answer questions.
  •  Coordinate intervention management, counseling, and media access.
  • Contact feeder schools to arrange interventions as needed.
  •  Contact community resources as needed.
  •  Provide resources and/or information.
  •  Assist in the principal's debriefing and evaluation.
  • Determine if a District-wide telephone message should go out on School Messenger after the building emergency phone tree has been activated.
  • E-mail all staff via News.
  • Check with other building principals to see if their PTO would consider buying sheets of pizza for the crisis building staff.

QUESTIONS FOR THE CRISIS TEAM TO CONSIDER?

  • Should students close to the death be contacted first?
  •  Should the faculty and staff be informed first?
  •  Can the announcement be made in a way that will dispel speculation and rumor and diffuse sensationalizing the event?
  •  Is this a school wide or community wide crisis?
  •  Who else should be notified?
  •  How will students, staff, or parents react?
  •  What type of media coverage might be expected?
  •  Has a written statement been prepared?
  •  What legal issues need to be addressed?
  •  Have secretaries been briefed on how to handle questions and direct inquiries to the proper spokesperson?
 


COMMUNICATING AND MANAGING INFORMATION

The role of the Principal in communication is extremely important in managing traumatic events and providing leadership. The manner in which the Principal handles the elements of communicating with students, parents, staff and the media will set the climate for the school and bring about a positive resolution.

It is recommended those close to the death be notified first (faculty / staff, and students). The faculty should be notified in a faculty meeting as soon as possible. The Intervention Team can assist in preparing teachers to discuss feelings, answer questions and help identify those in need of other interventions.

Accurate, appropriately detailed information is essential. How the tragedy is announced and discussed with students and staff sets the tone for managing the loss. Factual information, communicated in a sensitive, compassionate, humane manner will help to dispel rumors and inappropriate discussions. It will provide the basis for helping the school to resolve the event in a positive manner. Media requests should be directed to the office of the Superintendent of Schools. Student and family privacy must be protected. The proper management of information will also reduce the chance of copy cat or imitation deaths and discourage rumors.

Adapting the plan is a primary task of the Intervention Team.
Helping Children CopeWith Loss, Death, and Grief Tips for Teachers and Parents download HERE




ANNOUNCEMENT TO THE STAFF

EXAMPLE:

"We have called this faculty meeting to inform you we have had a death involving one of our students.

  • Give the student's name.
  •  Give facts of the tragedy:
  •  Date
  •  Time
  •  Location
  •  Other pertinent facts

This death may be upsetting to many of our students and staff.  If, in your judgment, any of your students need to talk to someone, please send them to the location identified for counseling. The Crisis Intervention Team is here to assist us at this time."

  • Provide an opportunity for staff members to ask questions.
  •  The Principal and/or Intervention Coordinator will outline how the team will assist.
  •  Emphasis should be on flexibility, compassion and as normal a routine as possible.

CLASSROOM ANNOUNCEMENTS: Teacher-led in individual classrooms

CLASSROOM EXAMPLE - individual student's loss:

"(Student's name) will not be with us in school today. Her mother was killed in a tragic car accident last night. She was killed on the freeway when another car hit her car, causing her car to roll over.

(Student) may have a difficult time with her mother's death and may need our help in dealing with this tragedy. Perhaps we can explore some ways to help her with the sadness she will feel. We have invited some counselors here to talk with us about our concerns and about how we can help."

CLASSROOM EXAMPLE - student death:

"I have very sad information for you today. As many of you may know, we lost one of our students in a tragic accident last night. (Student), was driving home from school list night and was killed by a train at the crossing on Highway 89 and State Street. (Student), died instantly and did not suffer. We will miss our association with him. Those of you who want to discuss this may do so with a counselor. If you need to talk with someone, you may go to the media center where a counselor will meet with you."
 
 

PREPARED STATEMENT FOR TEACHERS TO READ/PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEM (PA) ANNOUNCEMENTS

It is best to prepare a statement at the faculty meeting for teachers to read to their individual classes. The PA announcement should be used as a last resort.

Download a sample statement for techers to read HERE

PREPARED STATEMENT FOR TEACHERS TO READ/PA EXAMPLE - Student:

"We have been informed that (student's name), a sophomore student in our school has died. As many of you know he was fighting terminal cancer and has been ill for some time. Funeral arrangements have not been announced yet. As we learn details of the funeral we will inform you. Students who need to discuss your feelings about (student's name) death may request permission to go to the counseling office and meet with a counselor or a member of the Intervention Team."

PREPARED STATEMENT FOR TEACHERS TO READ/PA EXAMPLE - Teacher:

"I have some sad and difficult news to share with you this morning. Our school has suffered a great loss. (Teacher's name), our health teacher and softball coach died last night of a heart attack. Her tragic death was very sudden and she did not suffer. We will miss her at [name of school]. Her funeral will be held Thursday at 11:00 at the Smith Mortuary."
 
 

RESPONSE TO PARENTS (Utilized by all stakeholders including secretaries)

"Yes, one of our students has died. We have a Crisis Team in place to handle student and parent concerns. Do you need to talk to an administrator about the situation?"

"As you can appreciate, there are some sensitive privacy issues for those involved. If you will call the Superintendent's office at (give phone number and person to ask for) can better provide you with the facts you need."
 
 

SAMPLE LETTER (Include in the envelope Suggestions for Parents on How to Talk with Their Children)

Download a Sample Letter HERE

Printed on School Letterhead, and with the date indicated:

Dear Parents:

We regret to inform you of the death of (name), a student here at [name of school]. We are deeply saddened by the death and express our sincere condolences to the family.

The School District Crisis Team visited the school to meet with our staff and students. All students were allowed to meet with a counselor.

We urge you to talk to your student about (name)'s death. Children need caring adults with whom they can discuss their feelings about death and dying. We encourage you to take this opportunity to share your beliefs and discuss ways of coping with the feelings your student may have.

Please feel free to contact the school if you have any concerns about your student's response to this tragic event. A counselor will be available to consult with parents or to provide any additional help we can.

Sincerely,

Principal
 
 

SAMPLE PHONE CALL

"This is (give your name) from (give the school's name). The purpose of my call today is to inform you of the death of one of our students, (give the name).

The District Crisis Team has been working with some of our students who wanted help in dealing with the death. We are concerned about (give their child's name) because of (briefly state the facts without disclosing inappropriate information).

We have discussed your student's feeling about (deceased's name)'s death. We would suggest that he not be alone after school today. It might also be helpful if you discuss not only the death, but what your student feels about the situation.

(Ask for questions.)

If we can be of any help, please call us at (give phone number). If you need immediate help we suggest you call (give appropriate information about counseling services).

Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance.
 
 

SAMPLE MEDIA RESPONSES

"Yes, we have had a student death. I would like to put you in touch with our School District Office and allow them to discuss the details with you. Please call (give persons name and appropriate phone number)."

OR

"As you can appreciate, there are some sensitive privacy issues for those involved. If you will call the Superintendent's office at (give phone number and person to ask for) can better provide you with the facts you need."

OR

"We have a School District representative here at our school. He/She will meet with you to answer your questions and provide you with any information they can. We ask that you check in at the main office before you speak with or photograph any students."
 
 

SAMPLE MEDIA RELEASE

"We have had some students from our school involved in a tragic accident. The names of those involved can be obtained by contacting the Police Department at (give phone number).

"The details as we know them are (give factual details as known).

"We will try to help you with your responsibility to report this event.

  • We ask that you help us in our responsibility to the family and friends of those involved, as well as to students needing our attention.
  •  To help you receive accurate information we ask that you not interview any students during the initial crisis.
  •  We ask that you not videotape students on school grounds during this time of shock and emotion.
 

We will answer your questions as best we can. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation."

WHAT DO I SAY TO A BEREAVED FAMILY OR STUDENT?

A crisis is an event that is highly unpredictable and extraordinary in its make up. However, the way individuals behave in a traumatic situation is very predictable and consistent. Being aware and having an understanding of how people will react during an event makes it possible to take action that can assist and defuse those reactions. Proper and appropriate action will help prevent a secondary, potentially more sever traumatic event.

"If it is mentionable it is manageable."


MYTHS OF CRISIS, GRIEF AND MOURNING

clip_image003.pngCrisis, grief and mourning are the same experience.

A crisis is an event that is highly unpredictable - a death, a tragedy, or an upsetting incident.

Grief is the personal experience; the internal meaning given to the event.

Mourning is grief gone public. It is a social response; taking grief outside of yourself; it requires a social context.

All people grieve, but not all people mourn. Neither grief nor mourning can totally be described in words.

clip_image003.pngThere is a predictable and orderly line of progression to the experience of grief and mourning.

Think task-based models or dimensions - not stages. Each person's grief is unique. You can't describe what grief can be to others. "Teach me about your grief and I will be with you."

clip_image003.pngIt is best to move away from grief not toward it.

Give yourself permission to grieve. Do not run away or grieve in isolation. The incorrect message of society is "get over it" quickly, quietly, and efficiently.

clip_image003.pngThe goal is to "get over the grief."

This is ludicrous. Reconciliation is a process - not an event. It may soften but it never goes away. What is "normal" has changed.

clip_image003.pngTears are a sign of weakness or lack of faith.

Tears create a sense of helplessness in others and they will try to talk you out of crying. Tears are nature's way of releasing internal tension. An inability to cry increases stress. Tears are a natural cleansing.

clip_image003.pngOther misleading statements:

"Infants and toddlers are too young to grieve and mourn."

"Children are better off if they don't attend funerals."

"Children who express fears are being weak and are harming themselves in the long run."

"Adults should be able to instantly teach children about death and religion."

GUIDELINES FOR INFORMING AN INDIVIDUAL STUDENT

There is no way to soften devastating news…no way to ease the wrenching pain. But it is incredibly important that someone who cares enough to try do it.

  • Someone whom he or she trusts should tell the student.
  •  Someone who is close to the student (teacher, nurse, counselor or fellow student) should be asked to remain with the student after he or she receives the news.
  •  The student should be taken to a place where he or she will have privacy.
  •  The student should be told what has happened quietly, simply and directly. (Hint: before you say who has died, give four brief statements that indicate you are about to deliver bad news that can help prepare the person to receive the devastating news. Example: I have some bad news to tell you. You may want to sit down. There was a bad accident on the highway. The accident involved a member of your family. I am sorry to tell you that your father died.)
  •  Platitudes or religious symbolism should be avoided.
  •  Unnecessary details should not be offered but all questions must be answered directly and honestly. Do not be afraid to speak about feelings and emotions. This can help the student to sort out confusing reactions and to see the school in a support role (even at a later date).
  •  The wishes of the family should be respected as much as possible.

TALKING WITH A BEREAVED STUDENT

  • Be there.
  •  Listen ‚ÄĒ let them tell it over and over.
  •  Resist the urge to "fix", minimize, or give advice.
  •  Be honest, concise, complete and factual.
  •  Re-establish a sense of safety, predictability and control. Don't be afraid to be "directive".
 

Immediate Emotional Signs Requiring Referral

clip_image009.pngWhen upset, crying becomes hysteria
clip_image009.pngWhen anger, self-blame becomes threats to others or self
clip_image009.pngWhen anxiety becomes panic
clip_image009.pngWhen fatigue or slowness becomes physical shock
clip_image009.pngWhen dulled response becomes no response, rigidity, fetal position
 

"DO NOT" CHECKLIST

clip_image009.pngDo not tell students how they should feel or what they should do.
clip_image009.pngDo not avoid reaching out to others because of your own discomfort.
clip_image009.pngDo not give incomplete explanations that can lead to confusion. ("He was sick…" So am I, will I die?).
clip_image009.pngDo not say, "I know how you feel" or "You'll get over it."
clip_image009.pngDo not act as if nothing happened or hide your feelings.
clip_image009.pngDo not give a theological lecture or discuss religious issues.

"DO" CHECKLIST

clip_image009.pngBe honest at all times.
clip_image009.pngUse the deceased's name when talking about them.
clip_image009.pngExpect volatile reactions ? view the loss from their unique perspective
clip_image009.pngUse your normal voice and SAY, "dead, died, dying, death" as needed.
clip_image009.pngSay, "It's okay to cry."
clip_image009.pngRemember it's appropriate to say, "I do not know."
clip_image009.pngBe straightforward: "I am sorry your brother died." "I do not know what to say." "I am concerned about you."
clip_image009.pngHelp students find appropriate ways to express their feelings.
clip_image009.pngReassure students that anger, sadness, guilt, fear, shock, etc., are normal feelings.
clip_image009.pngEncourage the student to express fears and concerns.
clip_image009.pngReassure the student that the death is NOT their fault. Death is NOT contagious and it is not likely other loved ones will die soon.
clip_image009.pngSupport students who choose not to verbally express their feelings.
clip_image009.pngExplain that someone can be sad even if they are not crying.
clip_image009.pngShare your own feelings.
clip_image009.pngAllow time for students to grieve and mourn ? this takes time.
clip_image009.pngLet the student ask questions and give honest, short answers.
clip_image009.pngBe patient.  
 

TALKING WITH BEREAVED FAMILIES

People who are grieving hope to find supportive, caring and understanding people at their child's school. The staff of a school can communicate their concern in action and by the words that they use. "How are you?" is often a brief encounter greeting, but the bereaved person has a difficult time answering this question. Consider making a statement rather than asking a question. Use 'how are you?' sparingly, thoughtfully, and with a willingness to listen.

Appropriate statements might be:

"I'm glad to see you. This must be a painful time for you."

"I'm so sad about the death of _________________."

"I thought of you again this morning. I want you to know I care."

"I can't imagine how painful it must be to have your son die."

"I'll always remember _______________ and her happy smile."

"Our class just isn't the same without ______________________ here."

"When you want them, we've saved the items in her locker/desk and the work she completed. I can make a copy of her records for you."

"I wish I could ease your pain somehow."

"Thank you for coming to school. It must have been very difficult for you to return. I want you to know you're always welcome here."

 

 



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