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Planning for aftermath of school Tragedy Guam Public Schools Adapted from Emergency Management Training (FEMA)

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Presentation on theme: "Planning for aftermath of school Tragedy Guam Public Schools Adapted from Emergency Management Training (FEMA)"— Presentation transcript:


2 Planning for aftermath of school Tragedy Guam Public Schools Adapted from Emergency Management Training (FEMA)

3 Planning for the Aftermath of School Tragedy Learning Objectives: Planning for Psychological Recovery from a School Tragedy Principals of Post Intervention Post Intervention Plan The Issue of Staff Grief

4 Learning Objectives Continued The Issue of Staff Grief Suggestions for leading a staff discussion When to Refer a Child to Mental Health Professionals: Preschool Elementary Students Emotional and Behavioral Reactions of Children to Disasters Guidelines for Student/Staff Sudden Death

5 Planning for Psychological Aftermath of School Tragedy (T.Frantz) 1. How and when should students be informed of the pertinent details surrounding it. 2. How, when, should students be allowed to express their emotions. 3. What should be done for victims of close friends? 4. What should be done for “high risk” students.

6 Post Intervention Continued 5. Should the school hold a special memorial service? 6. Should there be a symbolic expression of grief, such as lowering the flag to half mast? 7. Should the school close for the funeral? 8. Who should go to the funeral?

7 Post Intervention Continued 9. What kind of commemorative activities or symbols-plaques, memorial funds etc. are appropriate. 10. Should the victims be contacted and what kind of help should be offered? 11. What should be done about the concerns for the parents? 12. How should the school deal with the media?

8 Post Intervention Planning Continued 13. Should the school turn to outside intervention for help? 14. What reactions from students should be expected? 15. Should the regular school schedule be followed? 16. How long should the school be concerned about student reactions?

9 Post Intervention Planning Continued 17. How much grieving or “acting out” should be allowed? 18. Should students be involved in the school’s response? 19. Who should organize and coordinate the schools response? 20. What about the siblings or affected students in other schools.

10 Post intervention Planning Continued 21. What should teachers say to students in their classes?

11 Principals of Post Intervention REDUCE FEAR: Most over powering and debilitating emotion. As result unanswered questions Earthquake example: “world shaken” Aftermath: decrease concentration, attention, Focus on school. Exercising sensitivity – provide information

12 30 th Birthday…..

13 Principals of Post Intervention FACILATATE GRIEVING: Grief is normal, healthy, appropriate response. People deny grief differently. Each person grieves in their own way. Need to tolerate a wide range of grieving behaviors. Initial response – SHOCK Other reactions: anxiety, anger, blame, guilt,

14 Facilitate Grieving Continued Promote ways to express grief: talking, crying, expressing anger guilt, writing, reading, exercise, painting. Might unlock memories of unresolved grief. “ A loss recapitulates previous losses”

15 Post Intervention PROMOTE EDUCATION: “By our students we will be taught” We learn from our problems, crisis, and tragedies. Development of a post intervention plan

16 19 Steps to Postvention Plan 1.Selection of the Crisis Team 2.Identification of the Media Liaison Person 3.Identification of Family Liaison Person 4. Organization of Staff/Telephone/email network

17 Postvention Plan Continued 5. Identification of Crisis Consultant 6. Identification of Community Response People 7. Develop suggestions for classroom discussion 8. Identification of Crisis Center and Counseling Room.

18 POSTVENTION PLAN CONTINUED 9. Formulation of School Policy on Funerals 10. Formulation of School Policy on Memorials 11. Interface with student leaders. 12. Availability of readings on death.

19 POSTVENTION CONTINUED 13. Plan for calling in Substitute Teachers. 14. Plan for morning after staff meeting. 15. Identification and Contact with At-Risk Students 16. Drafting a letter to parents.

20 POSTVENTION CONTINUED 17. Plan for After-School Meeting 18. Plan for Evening Parent/Community Meeting. 19. Plan for Postvention Evaluation

21 The Issue of Staff Grief Responsibility of carrying out plan on the staff. May be experiencing painful turmoil in their own lives. In service training for staff to be “role models” Losses, grieving styles, coping mechanisms, and feelings. Didactic Experiential


23 The Issue of Staff Grief WHY: People grieve a current death in much the same way they grieved previous losses in their lives. People tend to judge how one should grieve through their own eyes…assume others will react like they do.

24 The Issue of Staff Grief Knowledge about grief in general and one’s own grief will increase the self-confidence of staff members, thus enabling them to talk with, listen, and help others.

25 Suggestions for Leading a Class Discussion First mention in a sensitive way what has happened and then open the floor for discussion. Reference to specifics for the class: Aspect of the crisis, (plans for the school, funeral, discussion of previous crisis)

26 Suggestions for Class Discussion Depending on teachers state of mind and mood of class: Teacher may express emotional reaction in a very feeling way to the class> Moment of Silence, previous losses, EMOTION BEGETS EMOTION


28 WHEN TO REFER TO MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS Student seems excessively withdrawn and depressed. Engages in overly self-destructive behavior Continues to have physical complaints Acts out in excessive aggressive ways

29 Emotional and Behavioral Reactions of Children to Disasters 1.Child’s perception of adults reaction to the disaster. 2.The amount of direct exposure the child has had to the destruction of the disaster. 3.A child’s developmental age. 4.The existence of family or other problems prior to the event 5.Prior experience in another disaster.

30 Early Childhood: Ages 5-11 Regressive behaviors (acting younger then developmental age) – wetting pants, back to the safety of the knee, baby talk, playing with food, other) Children may become withdrawn May be affected by loss of pet or prized object

31 Early Childhood: Ages 5-11 COMMON EMOTIONAL BEHAVIORAL REACTIONS: School phobia Withdraw from friends Hyperactivity Irritability Disobedience Inability to concentrate

32 Early Childhood: Age 5-11 COMMON BEHAVIORS: Repetitive talking about their experience Aggressive behavior

33 PHYSIOLOGICAL REACTIONS Headaches Nausea Sleep disturbances Persistent Itching or scratching Complaints of hearing or visual problems

34 REACTION TO STRESS: Regressive Behaviors Increased competition for attention Excessive clinging Wanting to be fed or dressed Engaging in habits they had previous gave up.

35 Preadolescent 11-14 Peer reactions are very important to this group. They need to know their feelings are typical Survivors guilt might emerge in this age group. Group discussion can be effective in reducing Sense of isolation.

36 Common Emotional Reactions Disruptive behavior Sadness or depression Resistance of authority Loss of interest in hobbies and peer activities Inability to concentrate

37 Physiological Reactions Complaints of vague headache Overeating or loss of appetite Skin disorders Sleep disorders

38 Actions you can take in the classroom Reassuring them that their responses are typical Teaching them that with time they will be able to function and concentrate again Giving them additional consideration and attention Encourage verbal expression of feelings

39 Adolescent: 14 - 18 May have fear their reaction is different them peer group May be frustrated by their lack of adult responsibilities

40 Common Emotional and Behavioral Reactions Marked increase or decrease in physical activity level. Expression of feelings of helplessness or inadequacy. Delinquent behavior Depression

41 Common Emotional / Behavioral Reactions Increased difficulty in concentration Extreme mood swings

42 Actions you can take in the classroom Encourage discussion of the disaster with peers and adults. Temporarily reducing expectations of academic performance. Encourage involvement in school rehabilitation and recovery efforts. Encouraging resumption of school activities

43 ACTIONS IN THE CLASSROOM TO ALLIEVATE STRESS Giving extra attention and consideration Temporarily Lessing the requirements for optimum performance of the students Providing opportunity for structured but demanding chores. Encourage verbal expression.

44 Actions that you can take in the classroom Providing structured but undemanding responsibilities Rehearsing safety measures to be taken in future disasters Encourage physical activity

45 ACTIONS IN THE CLASSROOM TO ALLIEVATE STRESS Giving extra attention and consideration Temporarily Lessing the requirements for optimum performance of the students Providing opportunity for structured but demanding chores. Encourage verbal expression.

46 Classroom actions continued Encourage physical activity Rehearsing safety measures to be taken in future disasters. Other ideas

47 Guidelines for Student Sudden Death DAY OF SUDDEN DEATH Principal notify Student Support Services, Initiate call tree Notify Crisis Response Team – plan tentative activities

48 FIRST DAY AFTER Principal or designee meet with Crisis Team (30 mins planning) Review available facts Crisis Response teams reviews emotional and behavioral responses to death of classmate Establish a Crisis Center in the Building

49 FIRST DAY AFTER CONTINUED Peer helpers may assembled Letter from the Principal to parents School staff are assembled Expression of feelings, mutual support Review events for the day Characteristics of High Risk Students Announcement of Funeral

50 Days following the event Crisis team to continue with intervention as needed Phone calls from parents Meet with staff Debriefing Evaluation of intervention

51 Guidelines for Developing Policies and Procedures Parent Contact Screening Home-school Community communication system Referral

52 Steps to Follow: Policy and Procedures STEP 1. Community Involvement (organize students, parents, teachers, community). Gather information from all sources Agency involvement in policies

53 Policies Continued 2. Develop Written Policies 3. Develop Written Proceedures

54 Procedure Areas Suspected suicide ideation Suicide threat Suicide attempt Suicide completion

55 Suicide Threat 1.Appropriate staff trained in assessment and intervention 2.Remove student from area 3.Do not leave the student alone 4.Notify parents 5.School communication system

56 Suicide Attempt a.Treat as medical emergency: Call EMS if required b.Stay with student at all times c.Remove dangerous items d.Notify parents immediately e.Have appropriately trained staff intervene f.Involve psychological consultation

57 Suicide Attempt Continued Set up communication system Referral immediately to agency follow up

58 Suicide Completion School Crisis team notified Superintendents Office notified All building personal

59 Suicide Completed Factual information should be communicated Parents of any students Crisis team should make presentations Counseling services made available

60 Suicide Completed School in-service sessions Neither the students nor suicidal act should be glorified

61 PREVENTION STRATEGIES TRAINING: In-service training on stress for students and methods for reducing stress in a school environment. Recognize risk factors: substance abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and depression (mental health issue)

62 Prevention Continued Leadership team Crisis intervention techniques Developing written policy and procedures

63 Prevention Health Curriculum Positive Self Esteem Interpersonal skills Positive attitude Life skills Stress management skills Substance Abuse

64 Peer support Program Youth hotline Problem solving with a peer Self help groups Developing pamphlet Newspaper articles Plays other media

65 Parents Be aware of extreme behavior Don’t assume depression is just a stage. Be aware of child’s involvement in school. Recognize major changes in family structure may have great impact. Changes in personality seek consult. Work with school and counselors.


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