Now what do I do?! Responding to Crisis in the PK-12 Environment Richard E. Cleveland, PhD School of Education, Seattle Pacific University EDU Foundations Cohort, June 2014
Standing on the shoulders of giants… • “Good educators rob each other blind…” • Thanks to Dr. Edwards • Thanks to Everett Public Schools • Thanks to WSCA
Crises in PK-12 • Various Types of Crises • Lockdown, Earthquake, Fire, Death, Student-Attack, etc. • Multiple Levels of Interaction • City/State-wide • District-wide • Building • Grade Level • Classroom • Individual
Impact of Crisis: “Expected” • Physiological • Psychological • Emotional
Impact of Crisis: “Unexpected” • Physiological • Psychological • Emotional • “Scars” from previous traumas/crises • Transference
Common Physiological/Psychological Effects • Behavior • Physical/Motor-skills (toileting) • Disorganized thinking • Preoccupation with “insignificant” activities/items • Expression of hostility • Emotional distancing • Impulsiveness • Dependence • Threat to identity
Common Feelings During Crisis • Bewilderment: experiencing new and unusual feelings • Danger: feelings of tension, fear and impending doom • Confusion: mind is muddled and not working well • Impasse: feeling stuck; nothing works • Desperation: need someone to help • Apathy: why even bother trying? • Helplessness: need someone to help me • Urgency: need help right now! • Discomfort: feeling miserable, restless, unsettled
How to Proceed • It’s a Balancing Act • Recognizing a traumatic crisis has occurred and it’s impact manifests uniquely in each individual • Security and stability in consistency and normalcy • Some activities are hard-fixed along the continuum by nature (i.e. police presence, evacuation/new classroom, crying, etc.) • Some activities are flexible and can move back & forth (i.e. classroom lessons, scheduled test, recess, etc.) Crisis Mode Normal Mode
How to Proceed [self-care] • Ask for help (Principal, School Counselor, School Resource Officer) • Remember to breathe (“Tactical” or “Centering” breathing) • Drink lots of water (not soda, coffee, etc.) • Remain calm but express genuine feelings & emotions as they come • Debrief formally & informally • Empathetic listening (taking turns sharing) • Non-judgmental listening (do not use “why?”)
How to Proceed [student-care] • Address students’ feelings • Often times the emotions will be blocking students’ abilities to think clearly and cope. • Develop coping skills & alternatives • Guide students in identifying coping skills and strategies. Try not to just give or tell “answers”. Students know themselves best and every situation is different for each individual.
How to Proceed [student-care] • Empathy & Empathetic Listening • Listen to understand the situation from students’ point of view. What does it mean to them as individual? • Encourage Identifying & Describing the Problem • Identifying/describing the problem can “remove” it as an obstacle for processing the event and/or engaging coping skills.
How to Proceed [student-care] • Students are Easily Influenced • Students are traumatized and looking for “answers”. Give them sustainable skills/strategies rather than making them dependent. • Sustainable Solutions • Skills & strategies developed by the student with their own self in mind are more sustainable and can stay with them for future crises in life.
Being Prepared “We do not rise to the occasion, we sink to our level of training.” • Practice Drills • Formal corporate & individual • “Bug-Out Bag” / Toolkit • Grab & Go • Contact list, Kleenex, activities, crayons, snacks • Things to Do • The security in having a “job” or task
Readings & Resources Allen, M., Burt, K., Bryan, E., Carter, D., Orsi, R., & Durkan, L. (2002). School Counselors' Preparation for and Participation in Crisis Intervention. Professional School Counseling, 6(2), 96-102. American School Counselor Association. http://www.schoolcounselor.org Daniels, J. A., Bradley, M. C., Cramer, D. P., Winkler, A., Kinebrew, K., & Crockett, D. (2007). In the Aftermath of a School Hostage Event: A Case Study of One School Counselor's Response. Professional School Counseling, 10(5), 482-489. Francisco, R., & Fasko, D. r. (1999). Crisis Intervention: The Role of the School Counselor. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Kentucky Counseling Association. Louisville, KY, October 13-15, 1999. Grossman, D. (2008). On combat. Warrior Science Publications: Millstadt, IL. Grossman, D. (2009). On killing. Back Bay Books: New York, NY. Heath, M., & Sheen, D. (2005). School-based crisis intervention: Preparing all personnel to assist. Guilford Press: New York. Riley, P. L., & McDaniel, J. (2000). School Violence Prevention, Intervention, and Crisis Response. Professional School Counseling, 4(2), 120-25. Robinson, E., Rotter, J. C., Robinson, S. L., Fey, M., & Vogel, J. E. (2004). Fears, stress and trauma: Helping children cope. Alexandria, VA: CAPS and ACA Foundation. Thompson, R. A. (1995). Being prepared for suicide or sudden death in schools: Strategies to restore equilibrium. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 17(3), 264-273. Walz, G., & Kirkman, C. J. (2002). Helping people cope with tragedy & grief: Information, resources, & linkages. Alexandria, VA: CAPS Publication. Washington State School Safety Center. http://www.k12.wa.us/safetycenter Washington School Counselor Association. http://www.wa-schoolcounselor.org Webber, J., Bass, D., & Yep, R. (eds.). (2005). Terrorism, trauma, and tragedies: A counselor’s guide to preparing and responding (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ACA Foundation.