TEACHER GUIDELINES FOR CRISIS RESPONSE IN OUR SCHOOLS
In an effort to help you to understand and deal effectively with your students' reactions to a crisis situation, our district is providing you with this information. This literature is part of a larger district-wide Crisis Response Plan intended to help our school community deal more effectively with a crisis by providing appropriate support and intervention.
What is a crisis and what is crisis response?
A crisis is a traumatic event that is typically unpredicted and overwhelming for those who experience it. This situation may be volatile in nature and, at times, may involve threat to the survival of an individual or groups of individuals. Moreover, a crisis state may result upon exposure to drastic and tragic change in an individual’s environment which has become common and familiar to them. This alteration in the status quo is unwanted, frightening, and often renders a person with a sense of vulnerability and helplessness. Ultimately, with successful intervention, the equilibrium is restored between the environment and the individual’s perception of their world as a safe and secure place. Examples of crises that can potentially have a large scale effect on the students, faculty and administrators in a school building or district include: an accident involving a student or faculty member, a suicide or death of a student or faculty member, severe violence (e.g., gang fight), hostage taking, fire at school or a natural disaster (e.g., hurricane). Crisis response, as it pertains to the school environment, is a proactive, organized and well thought out plan to a crisis situation that has adversely affected many individuals in a school district, including students, faculty and administrators.
What types of behaviors/reactions can teachers expect from their students after a crisis situation has occurred?
The manner in which people react to crisis situations is dependent on a number of variables including personal history, personality variables, severity and proximity of the event, level of social support and the type and quality of intervention. While no two people respond to situations, including crisis situations, in exactly the same manner, the following are often seen as immediate reactions to a significant crisis: