Sunday, October 16, 2011

Grief Crisis Response

At the beginning of every school year I go over grief/crisis response with teachers during a faculty meeting. This is done at the recommendation of the district office since oftentimes when there's a loss of a student or faculty member at a school, the crisis team is activated and counselor's at nearby schools respond. There have been multiple times in the past few years when I've needed to respond to a school and you can really tell the difference between those that had an organized plan in place and those that didn't. With anything, it's always best to be proactive and have a plan in place before unforeseeable incidences occur and it's especially true for crisis situations.

Important points I go over during the meeting include; contacting administration and the school counselor once aware of a potential crisis so they can activate the district crisis team, do NOT talk to media- direct all questions to administration, and locations/procedures for directing students and faculty for counseling support. I also share the location of the crisis kit and the contents that are in it.

The crisis tool kit includes; tissues, art supplies (paper, markers, crayons, pencils, etc.), grief books, activity sheets, passes to/from crisis counselor, literature on how to inform families, warning signs, and ways to assist individuals experiencing a loss. For crisis responders not familiar with the building, I include a map of the building, phone extensions, and a sign in/out sheet for students that request counseling so they can be followed up with at a later time.

I hope we never have to activate a crisis team at our school but I know that if it ever has to happen, we are as best prepared as we can be to deal with the situation.

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