Paulding County School District

                    School Crisis Response Guide




            Guidance and Counseling ...
Table of Contents


Overview
    Crisis Team Organization


Staff Roles
     Principal
     Counselor
     School Support ...
Overview
The purpose of this resource manual is to provide counselors and administrators a quick
reference guide to use in...
Crisis Response Team Organization

School counselors in the Paulding County School District are members of crisis teams. T...
Roles and Responsibilities

                   Administrative Procedures

                   Procedure to activate the Cri...
Principal




      ♥ Verifies the crisis event information using as many reliable sources as possible

      ♥ Contacts d...
Counselors (Additional counselors may be called in due to level of crisis. See level of
      crisis chart.)




      ♥ G...
Secretaries and Clerks




      ♥ Gain factual information from building principal

      ♥ Take phone calls and direct t...
Other Support Personnel - Hall Monitors




      ♥ Staff members from the school who are familiar with the students.

   ...
Teachers




      ♥ Participate in calling tree, if applicable.

      ♥ Attend informational a.m. staff meeting.

      ...
Building Level Counselor--Checklist for Death in a Student's Immediate Family




      ♥ Verification of death (principal...
Suicide Protocol

      Protocol for Student Suicide Threats
          ♥ Counselor receives referral
                    S...
•   Suicidal talk and /or written note, poem, etc.
   •   Expression of thoughts to friend or peer
   •   Preoccupation wi...
Communication Announcing the Event

Announcing to Staff

                            Beginning of the day (the event has o...
♥ Debrief with the staff to see how the day went

        ♥ Determine any additional support needs for the next day

     ...
Comfort Center Support




It is helpful to set some arrangements and guidelines for small groups to be held in comfort
ce...
Maintaining the Normal Routine
Oftentimes staff members ask about the daily routine of the school. Although the decision a...
Appendix A - Gathering Facts/Groups Affected
Facts
        1st Example
        13 year old student killed who was a studen...
Appendix B
During the school day a letter needs to be written to send home to students' parents. The letter
needs to inclu...
Date


Dear Parents,

It is with great sadness that we inform you that a student in       class died on Tuesday
February 1...
Dear Parents,

I regret to inform you of the death of a child who attended our school. Joey Paulding, a sixth grader, was ...
Appendix C
Many staff members may have already experienced how students respond in a crisis situation
or notice reactions ...
Teachers may observe in the school setting:

Feelings of anxiety, worries, and fears
Concern for the safety of others
Beha...
Teachers may observe in the school setting:

Feelings of anxiety, worries, and fears
Concern for the safety of others
Beha...
Appendix D
Recommendations for Elementary School Staff to Help Students (According to the
American Psychological Associati...
♥ Expect some brief, temporary declines in the students' school performance.

      ♥ Provide reassurance to the students ...
♥ Reinforce ideas of safety and security. After any classroom discussion of the event, end the
         discussion with a ...
♥ Protect students from re-exposure to frightening situations and reminders of trauma. This
        includes limiting teac...
♥ Reinforce ideas of safety and security, even though high school students will not
           necessarily verbalize their...
♥ Protect students from re-exposure to frightening situations and reminders of trauma. This
           includes limiting t...
Recommendations for Elementary School Parents to Help Students (According to the
American Psychological Association)

    ...
Recommendations for Middle School Parents to Help Students (According to the
American Psychological Association)

      ♥ ...
Recommendations for High School Parents to Help Students (According to the
American Psychological Association)

      ♥ Av...
Appendix E
                                    Resources
                            Books, Videos, and Websites



Books
...
Mustard                      Graeber,             Death of a cat
                                         Charlotte
      ...
Journey                       MacLachlan,        Mother moves away
                                         Patricia
     ...
No Place to Be: Voices of   Berck, Judith       Writings by homeless children
           Homeless Children
           Say ...
Tracker                     Paulsen, Gary       Grandfather's death
             Two Moons in August         Brooks, Marth...
Websites
           Website                 Website Address         Description
           American Hospice        www.ame...
Paulding County School District



                        Crisis Response Team Members




              Andy Aarons, Cou...
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Crisis Resource Guide for Administrators and Counselors

  1. 1. Paulding County School District School Crisis Response Guide Guidance and Counseling Department Note: Quick guide flip chart is under construction. The target month for completion is December, 2005. 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 1
  2. 2. Table of Contents Overview Crisis Team Organization Staff Roles Principal Counselor School Support Staff Suicide Protocol/Scripts Communication Announcing news to staff/students Announcing news to parents Announcing news to others Comfort Center Support Sample Letters Expected Behaviors How students might react How staff can help students How parents can help students Resources 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 2
  3. 3. Overview The purpose of this resource manual is to provide counselors and administrators a quick reference guide to use in a crisis. At one time or another all schools are impacted by the realities of death or some other disaster or crisis. Statistics show that a school building will encounter a crisis on an average of once every three years. The Counseling Crisis Team and school counselors are available to assist schools in responding to such crises. It is the philosophy of the counselors that a pre-planned and organized approach is more effective in reducing psychological and social difficulties following a crisis. Counselors also believe that an organized approach will better meet the emotional needs of students and staff members in the Paulding County schools. Objectives of the crisis response plan: Allows building level administrators/counselors have control of the situation Helps school staff understand responses to crisis, loss and grief Facilitates and provides organization and comfort after a crisis Provides staff and students opportunity to identify and interpret their feelings Creates a framework for disseminating information Returns the school to a pre-crisis level of functioning The Crisis Response Guide includes procedures that were designed to deal with a number of crises that could occur in our school district. Certainly, these procedures do not cover every condition that could arise and are not meant to include every possible procedural step. This guide should be used in conjunction with the building emergency plans. 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 3
  4. 4. Crisis Response Team Organization School counselors in the Paulding County School District are members of crisis teams. There are local school crisis teams as well as the Paulding County Crisis Response Team. Always under the direction of the principal, crisis team members assist in classrooms and provide small group as well as individual counseling as needed. The building administrators and counselors work with Crisis Response Team members to implement a crisis response plan. Crisis response teams may consist of five or six designated local school staff members who can remain calm under stress, are able to identify and express emotions, and practice good stress management techniques. School crisis team members will be identified and trained by the school counseling staff at the beginning of each school year. Depending on the magnitude of the crisis, there may be a need for the Paulding County Crisis Response Team. Note chart below to determine which response team is needed. The Three Tiered Response to Crisis Clearly, the response is based on the level of the crisis. The criteria for assigning a response level are based on the following: Number of students involved Timelines/timeline of the response needed Severity of incident Effect of the incident on the school staff The Paulding County Guidance and Counseling program supports a three tiered response to a crisis. Level Response 1 (1 or 2 students Response by school on-site crisis team, no additional support needed involved) 2 (3 to 25 students Response by school team and help from other counselors (Paulding County Crisis involved) Response Team) Media may be involved Emotional response from staff is anticipated. 3 (more than 25 Response by school team, help from other counselors (Paulding Crisis Response students) Team) and assistance from outside agencies 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 4
  5. 5. Roles and Responsibilities Administrative Procedures Procedure to activate the Crisis Team: The Counselor Crisis Response Team provides a supportive service that helps schools assess, plan and intervene for crises affecting staff and students. The team supports a pre-planned, organized approach to be effective in reducing emotional and social impact during a crisis. 1. Principal or designee (administrator or lead counselor) contacts the Susan Goethe or Kay Morris and relays information regarding the crisis: Name Phone Numbers Susan Goethe 770.443.8003 ext. 10134 770.826.4320 (cell) Kay Morris (if cannot reach 770.443.8003 ext. 10115 Susan Goethe) 2. Susan Goethe will call the Crisis Response Team members and inform county office administrators. Crisis Team Members include: Principal Counselors (Local and/or district crisis team counselors) Clerical School Support Staff Teachers Other support 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 5
  6. 6. Principal ♥ Verifies the crisis event information using as many reliable sources as possible ♥ Contacts district office as listed above and then contacts school staff via a phone tree ♥ Serves as the contact person with the family, police, etc. ♥ Refers media to Ricky Clemmons (extension 10111). ♥ Gathers the facts and serves as the "fact" contact person (Note Appendix A for example.) ♥ If death is a student's parent/guardian Verifies the death with a spouse, family member, hospital, police or a mortuary Informs the student's teacher(s) Plans on the counselor and crisis team members making a home visit, if applicable Asks what information is to be released ♥ Ensures the immediate preparation of a written factual statement regarding the crisis ♥ Holds a staff meeting prior to the school day and shares facts and written fact sheet ♥ Composes and/or reviews a letter to be sent home (note sample letters in Appendix B) ♥ Obtains information regarding arrangements--funeral and/or memorial service ♥ For a crisis during the school day, the principal or administrative designee may need to: o call 911 for emergency services o send a staff member to the hospital o contact the student's parents. 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 6
  7. 7. Counselors (Additional counselors may be called in due to level of crisis. See level of crisis chart.) ♥ Gather at the school after being contacted ♥ Aid the administrative staff ♥ May assist in developing written statements for staff, students, and parents ♥ May read factual statement to classroom students ♥ Assist with setting up comfort rooms for small group counseling ♥ Facilitate small group counseling in comfort rooms ♥ Attend a debriefing session 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 7
  8. 8. Secretaries and Clerks ♥ Gain factual information from building principal ♥ Take phone calls and direct them to the appropriate person(s) ♥ Assist with copying and distributing letters that will be sent home to parents ♥ Direct crisis team and/or support staff to proper locations in the building ♥ Assist along with parent volunteers 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 8
  9. 9. Other Support Personnel - Hall Monitors ♥ Staff members from the school who are familiar with the students. ♥ Monitor the halls for distressed students and/or staff. ♥ Help monitor a classroom if a teacher needs to leave. ♥ Direct students to comfort rooms. 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 9
  10. 10. Teachers ♥ Participate in calling tree, if applicable. ♥ Attend informational a.m. staff meeting. ♥ Read scripted statement to students in classroom. ♥ Refer students to comfort rooms and/or counselors for support. ♥ Monitor distressed students and refer for counseling as needed. ♥ If possible, provide routine and appropriate academic instruction. ♥ Attend debriefing staff meeting in the afternoon. 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 10
  11. 11. Building Level Counselor--Checklist for Death in a Student's Immediate Family ♥ Verification of death (principal) ♥ Plan how to inform the student's peers ♥ Plan to visit with the family ♥ Arrange for remembrance from the school (food, card, flowers) Remember what is done needs to be repeated for each student ♥ Identify people available to help the teacher talk with the classmates, if needed, and discuss how to welcome the student when he/she returns to school ♥ Assess the counseling needs of student when he/she returns ♥ Plan and provide follow-up sessions, if needed ♥ Provide the student/family with community resource information, if needed 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 11
  12. 12. Suicide Protocol Protocol for Student Suicide Threats ♥ Counselor receives referral Self-referral Staff member referral Parent referral Peer/friend referral ♥ Counselor assesses warning signs  Suicidal talk and /or written note, poem, etc.  Expression of thoughts to friend or peer  Preoccupation with death and dying  Signs of depression  Behavioral changes  Giving away special possessions and making arrangements to take care of unfinished business  Difficulty with appetite and sleep  Taking excessive risks  Increased drug use  Loss of interest in usual activities ♥ Counselor listens to student and determines Rumor only Student has ideas, but no plan Student has plan to harm him/herself ♥ Counselor always contacts parent to state the facts, even if the facts indicate that the suicide issue is a rumor. ♥ Counselor listens to the student and determines if student has a plan for suicide Warning Signs: 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 12
  13. 13. • Suicidal talk and /or written note, poem, etc. • Expression of thoughts to friend or peer • Preoccupation with death and dying • Signs of depression • Behavioral changes • Giving away special possessions and making arrangements to take care of unfinished business • Difficulty with appetite and sleep • Taking excessive risks • Increased drug use • Loss of interest in usual activities School counselor will look for these risk factors regarding suicide: • Previous suicide attempts • Close family member who has committed suicide • Past psychiatric hospitalization • Recent losses: This may include the death of a relative, a family divorce, or a breakup with a girlfriend. • Social isolation: The individual does not have social alternatives or skills to find alternatives to suicide • Drug or alcohol abuse: Drugs decrease impulse control making impulsive suicide more likely. Additionally, some individuals try to self-medicate their depression with drugs or alcohol • Exposure to violence in the home or the social environment: The individual sees violent behavior as a viable solution to life problems • Handguns in the home, especially if loaded 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 13
  14. 14. Communication Announcing the Event Announcing to Staff Beginning of the day (the event has occurred the day before or over the weekend)….. ♥ Utilize phone tree (principal) to give initial facts and to let certified and classified staff know where and when to meet the next morning. ♥ Plan to gather the staff in a comfortable setting where all if possible can be seated, usually the media center is a good choice ♥ Release accurate information in a calm manner by talking with the staff and providing written communication of the facts ♥ Indicate if details regarding the incident are not confirmed ♥ Communicate information on the funeral arrangements, if known ♥ Inform if donations have been requested by the family to be sent to a certain bank, church, cause, etc., this can be communicated ♥ Make staff aware of the comfort center locations where students and/or staff members may come for counseling support ♥ Introduce Crisis Response team members in this staff meeting. ♥ Make an assessment no later than this meeting regarding staff members who are also grieving and may not be able to go from the staff meeting to their classroom. ♥ Provide handout of behaviors that staff may observe (Appendix C) End of the day….. ♥ Briefly review events 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 14
  15. 15. ♥ Debrief with the staff to see how the day went ♥ Determine any additional support needs for the next day ♥ Communicate information that was not known during the morning staff meeting ♥ In the event that the crisis event happened mid-day, the afternoon staff meeting may be the first time that the entire staff has met. Then, refer to the items that would be covered in the morning staff meeting. ♥ Process and validate the staff's feelings about the crisis ♥ Discuss funeral arrangements, if information was not known in the morning meeting ♥ Thank staff for their efforts, patience and understanding through the crisis Announcing to Students ♥ Announce the information to students in a small group in the classroom ♥ Use the factual statement given in the morning staff meeting ♥ Refrain from announcing over PA, if at all possible Informing Parents ♥ Utilize prepared and edited letter that has been signed by the principal. (See Appendix B information and examples.) Use of Telephones ♥ Discourage their use in the early stages of a crisis. ♥ Inform the school secretaries and clerks of the expected procedure to be followed. Media ♥ Inform staff and students not to talk with the media ♥ Do not allow the media into the school building. ♥ Contact Ricky Clemmons (ext. 10111), if a media contact has been made. He is the media contact person for the school district 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 15
  16. 16. Comfort Center Support It is helpful to set some arrangements and guidelines for small groups to be held in comfort centers in a predetermined location(s). During pre-planning of a school year decide where comfort rooms might be in the building. Preferred locations are near the counseling office, away from areas that have high traffic, and a space(s) that will not cause too much disruption. Additional guidelines that help this process: ♥ Plan on one counselor and one support person to staff each group. ♥ Monitor the number of students in each comfort center. Twelve students should be the maximum in a Comfort Center at one time. ♥ Utilize a sign-in sheet should be kept for each center location. This list of students will provide information for follow-up. ♥ After one hour in the Comfort Center, students should be encouraged to return to class ♥ Be certain the comfort centers have supplies such has Kleenex What Helps People in Trauma? • Water – helps avoid dehydration • Exercise • Talking • Tears • Accurate Information • Choices – reestablish a sense of control. Do you want to sit or stand? • Group Debriefing • Anchoring – “this is where you can come if you need any assistance.” 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 16
  17. 17. Maintaining the Normal Routine Oftentimes staff members ask about the daily routine of the school. Although the decision about the maintenance of the normal routine of the school may vary in each crisis situation, some general guidelines are: ♥ School is open for all students ♥ Schedule of extracurricular activities is maintained ♥ Schools who have bell schedules should maintain them ♥ Teachers, as much as possible, should provide appropriate academic instruction Additional Tips for Responsive Care ♥ Arrange for a staff member to remove the contents of the deceased student's locker or desk before or after school ♥ In a middle or high school setting, it may work well to have a counselor and a crisis team member to go into the student's schedule of classes ♥ Counselor discusses with students how to handle the empty chair ♥ Decide if flag will be flown at half-mast ♥ Graduation ceremonies can be a time to remember students who have died. Appropriate responses would be: A moment of silence An empty chair at the ceremony Awarding the posthumous diploma to the family members at graduation ♥ Decide what kinds of memorials are appropriate. Remember that the response in the way of memorials needs to be equal for EVERY student no matter what the cause of death. Thus, a fair and uniform plan for memorializing students is essential Basketball game played in memory of Square of a quilt Picture Sympathy cards to the family Rock garden Release of balloons Flower garden Tree planted 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 17
  18. 18. Appendix A - Gathering Facts/Groups Affected Facts 1st Example 13 year old student killed who was a student at EPMS 8 year old sister at Roberts Elementary so involves two schools happened on East Paulding Drive students was on skate board and hit by automobile that swerved driver of vehicle is 17, was not injured and attends PCHS 2nd Example At approximately 11:50 last night Bill Jones's Ford truck rolled off of Nebo road near the McClung Road intersection. Bill was able to crawl out of the vehicle before it caught on fire. However, by the time emergency crews arrived Bill died at 12:05 a.m. Impacts Crisis incident impacts Sibling(s) Parents and extended family members Teachers Band group Club affiliation Acquaintances Students who did not know student but may have a loss history of something similar Church/faith community 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 18
  19. 19. Appendix B During the school day a letter needs to be written to send home to students' parents. The letter needs to include: What happened What the students have been told Funeral arrangements, if known Emotional responses parents may see in their children Suggestions on how to help their student Resources The Letter, part I The first paragraph of the letter informs the parent(s) about the crisis event. This part should be to the point. Do not use any unverified information. Do not use terms like murdered, committed suicide, was strangled, was decapitated, etc. Utilize the term "died" or was "killed". Avoid wording such as "passed away", "expired", "went to their great reward", "lost", and "went to sleep". The Letter, Part II This paragraph should clearly tell parents what the school district is doing about this crisis. Use the terminology, "the district's response team" to let the parents know that there is a response team working with students and staff. You may also use "trained school district staff members" or "district staff trained to help student/staff". The Letter, Part III This portion of the letter explains why the letter is being sent home and offers suggestions about how parents can comfort students. This portion of the letter communicates that parents need to be involved to help their students. You may also give the school counseling phone number in the letter, so that parents know where to call if their student is having difficulty. The Letter, Part IV If known, the final paragraph gives information about the funeral. If the arrangements are not known, the say, "funeral arrangements are pending". If the arrangements are known, you can establish parameters for students attending the funeral. In a high school setting, you could state that a parent needs to send an excusing note with their student. Additional things to remember Counselors provide help with writing the letter or if a counselor composes the letter, it is submitted for building principal approval. The letter always needs to be proofread. The principal always signs the letter The words/communication need to clearly state the facts so that all readers will understand the contents of the letter. Of course, a new letter is created and worded for each crisis with the grade level of the student kept is mind, as the letter is being composed. Sample Letter for Elementary Student Who Died of an Illness 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 19
  20. 20. Date Dear Parents, It is with great sadness that we inform you that a student in class died on Tuesday February 1, 2005 at Cobb Hospital. As some of you may have known, had been struggling with liver and kidney problems throughout the year. At this time, we do not have all the details about her death, but we do know from the hospital that her illness was not contagious. Not only are we writing this letter to inform you of this tragedy, but we also need to explain that we will be briefly discussing this matter with class. On Thursday morning, our counselor and Dr. ,principal, will meet with the class to tell the children that was very sick and has died. Some people may feel that it is better to keep such information from families and especially the children. We firmly believe that it is the most honest, respectful, and straightforward way to deal with the situation and to address the inevitable questions or concerns. Experience also tells us that there will be very few questions during the classroom discussion and that the children will go on with the rest of their day in a quite normal fashion. However, we are aware that children who have experienced significant losses in their lives may have a harder time coping with this information. Mr. Zimmerman will be available to discuss any difficult feelings with your children individually if need be. Your child may want to support the family by making a card. If you would like to help the family, please contact the school, as we have set up a trust fund in her name. We will inform you as to the funeral arrangements as they are set up. If you strongly feel that you would not like your child to hear this news in the classroom, please call Mr. Zimmerman or leave a message for him explaining that you would like your child removed during the classroom discussion. We cannot promise that they will not hear the news from classmates or peers at a later date. Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers. Sincerely, _______________________ _________________________ , LPC Principal School Counselor Elementary School Elementary School A sample middle school letter… Date 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 20
  21. 21. Dear Parents, I regret to inform you of the death of a child who attended our school. Joey Paulding, a sixth grader, was suddenly killed by a car as he stepped off the school bus this morning. Funeral arrangements are as follows: When we learned of Joey's death this morning, we decided to share this information with the students. It was important for all the students to have the same information to avoid rumors. The facts were written down for each teacher to read to the class. School counselors and Paulding County Crisis Response Team counselors were on hand to visit each class, offering the students time to talk and express feelings. Students who were most upset were taken aside for individual discussion and were closely monitored. If needed, special groups will be formed to give some of the students' additional time and support to adjust to this tragedy. Cards and notes may be sent to the family at: Our plans for a school memorial are: Your student may experience grief and you may see some of the following emotions: Tearfulness Irritability Clinging to you Physical complaints Inability to concentrate Need to talk about death and dying Listed below are some ideas that can help your child with grieving: • Read a book on grief together. • Let your child talk about the death or draw pictures of what he or she felt happened. • Let them express their feelings. • Offer them loving, touching support. • Allow them to be sad and to cry. • Let your child ask questions and answer them as simply as you can. If you need to, it’s okay to say; “I don’t know how to answer that. Perhaps we can find someone who can help us. • Reassure your child you are healthy, you are careful when you drive, and you will be around for a long time. • Explain the ritual of funerals and allow their participation. • Offer support and structure in completing homework. If you feel your student needs additional support by school counselors, please call our school counselor to make these arrangements. Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers. Sincerely, Principal 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 21
  22. 22. Appendix C Many staff members may have already experienced how students respond in a crisis situation or notice reactions later on to the crisis, however, the following list may acquaint or reacquaint the staff with expected behaviors: Elementary Students (Ages 5 - 11) Teachers may observe in the school setting: Anxious, fearful and worried Moody-whiny and more moody Behavioral changes Increased activity level Decreased concentration Withdrawal Aggression and angry outburst Absenteeism Somatic complaints (e.g., headaches, stomachaches) Talking, playing, or writing about the even Sensitivity to loud noises Feelings of guilt Changes in academic performance Questions and/or statements about death and dying School phobia or avoidance Parents may observe in the home setting: Sleep pattern changes Increased or decreased appetite Withdrawal Lack of interest in normal activities Defiance and negative behaviors Regression in behaviors of a younger age (e.g., baby talk, bedwetting, tantrums) Statements of hate or anger Intensified feelings of sadness or anger. Middle School Students (Ages 11 - 14) 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 22
  23. 23. Teachers may observe in the school setting: Feelings of anxiety, worries, and fears Concern for the safety of others Behavioral changes Decreased attention or concentration Increase in hyperactivity Irritability with friends, teachers, and/or events Anger outbursts Withdrawal Absenteeism May discuss gruesome details May want to talk about the event over and over Feelings of guilt Increased somatic complaints (e.g., headaches, stomachaches, chest pains) Increased sensitivity to sounds Completely consumed by the situation Parents may observe in the home setting: Changes in sleep or appetite Withdrawal Lack of interest in usual activities Increase in behaviors/feelings, i.e. defiance, sadness, fears, anger) Hate or angry statements Denial that crisis incident is bothersome High School Students (Ages 14+) 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 23
  24. 24. Teachers may observe in the school setting: Feelings of anxiety, worries, and fears Concern for the safety of others Behavioral changes Decreased attention or concentration Increase in hyperactivity Irritability with friends, teachers, and/or events Anger outbursts Withdrawal Absenteeism Loss of interest in peer/social activities or the opposite, a need to be with peers all the time Increased risk for substance abuse Discussion of events and details Repetitive thoughts about death or dying which may include suicidal thoughts Parents may observe in the home setting: Changes in sleep or appetite Withdrawal Lack of interest in usual activities Increase in behaviors/feelings, i.e. defiance, sadness, fears, anger) Hate or angry statements Denial that crisis incident is bothersome Need to be with their closest friends all of the time 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 24
  25. 25. Appendix D Recommendations for Elementary School Staff to Help Students (According to the American Psychological Association) ♥ Reinforce ideas of safety and security. This may be needed multiple times, particularly in response to changes, loud sounds, or other events that may remind the students of the tragedy. After any classroom discussion of the event, end the discussion with a focus on their current safety and a calming activity, such as taking deep breaths, working together on an art project, or holding hands and singing a quiet song. ♥ ♥ Maintain a predictable class schedule/routine and rules to provide support and consistency for the children. ♥ Listen to and tolerate your students retelling of events, as well as playing out the events. Schedule specific times for discussion and play during the school day to allow for opportunities to express their thoughts and feelings about the tragedy; however, set limits on scary or hurtful play. ♥ Encourage students to talk about confusing feelings, worries, daydreams, and disruptions of concentration by accepting the feelings, listening carefully, and reminding students that these are normal reactions (any of these feelings are okay). ♥ Young children will process the information about the events at unpredictable times throughout the day. As they try to develop an understanding of what has happened, they may ask questions that may be initially shocking to adults. Try to respond in a calm manner, answering the questions in simple, direct terms and helping the students' transition back to their activity. ♥ Use simple, direct terms to describe what happened. Avoid terms designed to "soften" the information, which inadvertently further confuses children. For example, use the term "died," rather than "went to sleep." ♥ Students may misunderstand information about the event as they are trying to make sense of what happened. For example, they may blame themselves, believe things happened that did not happen, believe that terrorists are in the school, etc. Gently help students develop a realistic understanding of the event. ♥ Students may ask the same types of questions repeatedly, which can be confusing and/or frustrating for teachers. Understand that students may need to hear the information multiple times before being able to integrate and understand it. Give the students time to cope with fears. ♥ Expect some angry outbursts from students. Try to catch students before they "act out," by taking them aside, and helping them calm down and regain control of their behavior. ♥ Do classroom activities that will reinforce the message that one person can make a difference to help and heal. Activities can include drawing pictures and sending cards or class projects of collecting pennies or aluminum cans. ♥ Encourage some distraction times, which would include doing school work that that does not require high levels of new learning, as well as enjoyable activities. 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 25
  26. 26. ♥ Expect some brief, temporary declines in the students' school performance. ♥ Provide reassurance to the students that sad feelings will decrease and easier to handle over time. ♥ Expect and understand students' regression (acting younger) and other difficult behaviors that are not typical of the students. ♥ Protect students from re-exposure to frightening situations and reminders of trauma. This includes limiting teacher-to-teacher conversations about the events in front of students. ♥ Maintain communication with other teachers, school personnel, and parents to monitor how the students are coping with the demands of school, home, and community activities. ♥ Remain aware of your own reactions to students' trauma. It is okay to express emotions to your students, such as "I am feeling sad about what happened." However, if you are feeling overwhelmed with emotion, it is important to take care of yourself and seek support from other teachers and staff. Recommendations for Middle School Staff to Help Students (According to the American Psychological Association) 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 26
  27. 27. ♥ Reinforce ideas of safety and security. After any classroom discussion of the event, end the discussion with a focus on their current safety and a calming activity, such as taking deep breaths, working together on an art project, or having a moment of quiet reflection. ♥ ♥ Listen to and tolerate your students retelling of events, as well as playing out the events. Maintain a predictable class schedule and rules to provide support and consistency for the students. Schedule specific times for discussion during the school day to allow for opportunities to express their thoughts and feelings about the tragedy ♥ Encourage the students to talk about confusing feelings, worries, daydreams, and disruptions of concentration by accepting the feelings, listening carefully, and reminding the students that these are normal reactions (any of these feelings are okay ♥ Students will often process the information about the events at unpredictable times throughout the day. As they try to develop an understanding of what has happened, they may ask questions that may be initially shocking to adults, including questions that have gruesome details or focus on death. Try to respond in a calm manner, answering the questions in simple and direct terms and helping the students transition back to their activity. ♥ Use simple direct terms to describe what happened, rather than terms designed to "soften" the information, which inadvertently further confuses the students. For example, use the term "died", rather than "went to sleep". ♥ Students will often misunderstand information about the event as they are trying to make sense of what happened. For example, they may blame themselves; may believe things happened that did not happen, etc. ♥ Students may ask the same types of questions repeatedly, which can be confusing and/or frustrating for the teacher. Understand that students may need to hear the information multiple times before being able to integrate and understand it. Give the students time to cope with fears. ♥ Expect some angry outbursts from students. Try to catch students before they "act out", by taking them aside, and helping them calm down and regain control of their behavior. In addition redirect students who are being irritable with each other which could escalate to direct conflict. ♥ Do classroom activities that will reinforce the message that one person can make a difference to help and heal. Activities can include drawing pictures and sending cards or class projects of collecting pennies or aluminum cans or making origami cranes. ♥ Encourage some distraction times, which would include doing school work that that does not require high levels of new learning as well as enjoyable activities. Help students do activities that allow them to experience mastery and build self-esteem. ♥ Expect some brief (temporary) declines in the students' school performance. Consider suspending classroom testing for the rest of the week. Also, consider reducing homework for one or two days, if a large number of students are impacted. ♥ Provide reassurance to the students that the heavy feelings will get lighter and easier to handle over time. 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 27
  28. 28. ♥ Protect students from re-exposure to frightening situations and reminders of trauma. This includes limiting teacher-to-teacher conversations about the events in front of the students. ♥ Maintain communication with other teachers, school personnel, and parents to monitor how the students are coping with the demands of school, home, and community activities. Should difficulties coping with the event persist and interfere with the students' functioning, consider seeking help from the school counselor In addition to helping those who are clearly angry or depressed, monitor students who are withdrawn and isolated from others. ♥ Remain aware of your own reactions to student's "trauma". It is okay to express emotions to your students, such as "I am feeling sad about what happened." However, if you are feeling overwhelmed with emotion, it is important to take care of yourself and to seek support from other teachers and staff. Recommendations for High School Staff to Help Students (According to the American Psychological Association) 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 28
  29. 29. ♥ Reinforce ideas of safety and security, even though high school students will not necessarily verbalize their fears. Students of this age may need a quiet moment of refection. ♥ Maintain a routine with a predictable class schedule and continue with rules that provide support and consistency for the students. ♥ Listen to and tolerate your students retelling of events. Schedule specific times for discussion during the school day to allow for opportunities to express their thoughts and feelings about the tragedy; however, set limits. ♥ Encourage students to talk about confusing feelings, worries, daydreams, and disruptions of concentration by accepting feelings, listening carefully, and reminding students that these are normal reactions following a very scary event. Discuss students' perceptions of media descriptions of events, if applicable. ♥ Students will often process the information about the events at unpredictable times throughout the day. As they try to develop an understanding for what has happened, they may ask questions that are initially shocking to adults, including questions that have gruesome details. Try to respond in a calm manner, answering the questions in simple, direct terms and help the students to transition back to their activity. ♥ Students will often misunderstand the information about the event as they are trying to make sense about what happened. For example, they may blame themselves, believe things happened that did not happen. If students are confused, gently help students develop a realistic understanding of the event. ♥ Students may ask the same types of questions repeatedly, which can be confusing and/or frustrating for teachers. Understand that students may need to hear the information multiple times before being able to integrate and understand it. Give students time to cope with their feelings. ♥ Expect some angry outbursts from students. Try to catch students before they "act out", taking them aside, helping them calm down and regain control of their behavior. In addition, redirect students who are being irritable with each other which could escalate to direct conflict. ♥ Do classroom activities that will reinforce the message that one person can make a difference to help and heal. Activities can include drawing pictures and sending cards or class projects of collecting pennies or aluminum cans. ♥ Encourage some distraction times, which would include doing school work that that does not require high levels of new learning and enjoyable activities. Help students do activities that allow them to experience mastery and build self-esteem. ♥ Expect some brief (temporary) decline in students' school performance. Consider suspending classroom testing for the rest of the week. Also, consider reducing homework for a day or two. ♥ Provide reassurance to students that the feelings will not be so heavy after a while and the situation will be easier to handle over time. 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 29
  30. 30. ♥ Protect students from re-exposure to frightening situations and reminders of trauma. This includes limiting teacher-to-teacher conversations about the events in front of students. ♥ Maintain communication with other teachers, school personnel, and parents to monitor how students are coping with the demands of school, home, and community activities. Should difficulties coping with the event persist and interfere with students' functioning, consider seeking help from the school counselor who can make recommendations to the parent regarding outside agency support. Monitor students who are withdrawn and isolated from others. ♥ Remain aware of your own reactions to students' trauma, as well as your own reactions to the trauma. It is okay to express emotions to your students, such as "I am feeling sad about what happened." However, if you are feeling overwhelmed with emotion, it is important to take care of yourself and to seek support from school counselors and other staff. 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 30
  31. 31. Recommendations for Elementary School Parents to Help Students (According to the American Psychological Association) ♥ Avoid exposing your child to reminders of the trauma. This includes limiting your child's exposure to the news and other television programs about the tragedy. If you do choose to have your child see this information on the television, keep it brief, watch it with your child, and talk to your child after to clarify miscommunication. Protecting the children from re- exposure includes limiting exposure to adult conversations about the events - even when you think they are not listening, they often are. ♥ Maintain the family routines, particularly around sleeping, eating, and extracurricular activities (e.g., sports, church, dance). Be sure the bedtime routine includes safely tucking them in at night. Young children may want a night light again. Make sure your child is receiving a balanced diet and enough rest. ♥ Avoid unnecessary separations from important caregivers. ♥ Expect temporary regression in your child's behaviors (e.g., starting to baby talk, wetting the bed). Do not panic, as your child is likely to return to previous functioning with time and support. ♥ Provide soothing activities, such as reading books, listening to music, taking a walk, riding bikes, etc. ♥ Increase patience with your child and with yourself. Give your family time to cope. Find ways to emphasize to the children that you love them. 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 31
  32. 32. Recommendations for Middle School Parents to Help Students (According to the American Psychological Association) ♥ Avoid exposing your child to reminders of the trauma. This includes limiting your child's exposure to the news and other television programs about the tragedy. If you do choose to have your child see this information on the television, keep it brief, watch it with your child, and talk to your child after to clarify miscommunication. Protecting the children from re- exposure includes limiting exposure to adult conversations about the events - even when you think they are not listening, they often are. ♥ Maintain the family routines, particularly around sleeping and eating and extracurricular activities (e.g., sports, church, dance). Make sure your child is receiving a balanced diet and enough rest. Extra time with friends who are supportive and meaningful to him/her may be needed. ♥ Avoid unnecessary separations from important caregivers. ♥ Provide soothing activities, such as reading books, listening to music, taking a walk, riding bikes, etc. Some middle school students benefit from writing their thoughts and feelings in a journal. ♥ Address acting-out behavior involving aggression or self-destructive activities quickly and firmly with limit setting. If this behavior is severe or persists, seek professional help. ♥ Increase patience with your child and with yourself. Give your family time to cope. Find ways to emphasize to the children that you love them. 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 32
  33. 33. Recommendations for High School Parents to Help Students (According to the American Psychological Association) ♥ Avoid exposing your teen to reminders of the trauma. This includes monitoring your teen's exposure to the news and other television programs about the tragedy. When you can, watch it with your teen, and talk to your teen after to clarify their understanding of the events and the images seen. Be aware that your teens are often listening when adults are discussing the events. Protect your teen from re-exposure includes limiting exposure to adult conversations, however, find time to include them in age appropriate discussions about the events and resulting thoughts and feelings. ♥ Maintain the family routines, particularly around sleeping and eating and extracurricular activities (e.g., sports, church, dance). Make sure your teen is receiving a balanced diet and enough rest. Extra time with friends who are supportive and meaningful to him/her may be needed. ♥ Avoid unnecessary separations from important caregivers. ♥ Provide soothing activities, such as reading books, listening to music, taking a walk, riding bikes, etc. Some high school students benefit from writing their thoughts and feelings in a journal. ♥ Address acting-out behavior involving aggression or self-destructive activities quickly and firmly with limit setting. If this behavior is severe or persists, seek professional help. ♥ Encourage your teen to delay making big decisions. ♥ Increase patience with your teen and with yourself. Give your family time to cope. Find ways to emphasize to your teen that you love them. 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 33
  34. 34. Appendix E Resources Books, Videos, and Websites Books Grade Title Author Description Pre-K - K About Dying Bonnett, Sarah Death is explored through a dead bird and a grandfather's death Abeuelita's Paradise Nodar, Carmen Girl remembers her grandmother's stories Cat Heaven Ryiant, Cynthia A pet dies Daddy's Chair Lanton, Sandy Rituals regarding death in a Jewish household Geranium Morning Powell, Sandy Two children who have lost a parent find compassion I'll Always Love You Wilhelm Loss of a dog Sophie Fox, Mem A relationship between a grandfather and grandchild When My Dad Died Hammond, Death of a father Janice When My Mommy Died Hammond, Death of a mother Janice Where's Jess Johnson, Joy and Death of a sibling (baby) Marv Yo Las Queria Vendrell, Maria Mom is ill You Hold Me and I'll Hold Carson Death of a great aunt You Pre-K - Elem (5th) Badger's Parting Gifts Varley, Susan Badger's friends deal with grief Beyond the Ridge Goble, Paul Death of an elderly Plains Indian woman Blackberries in the Dark Jukes, Mavis Grandfather dies Bridge to Terabithia Paterson, Ten-year-old close friends Katherine Day of the Dead: A Goldsmith, Hoyt Celebration of Los Dias de Muertos Mexican-American Celebration Days of the Dead Laskey, Kathryn Celebration of Los Dias de Muertos Dog Heaven Lifetimes Dog Heaven Rylant, Cynthia Death of a pet Lifetimes Mellonie, Bryon Life cycle of plants and animals Ingpen, Robert 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 34
  35. 35. Mustard Graeber, Death of a cat Charlotte My Grandpa Died Today Fassler, Joan Death of a boy's grandfather Nobody's Fault Hermes, Patricia Emily's brother has fatal accident Saying Goodbye to Thomas, Jane Funeral rituals Grandma Someday A Tree Bunting, Eve Saying good-bye to an oak tree The Spriti of Tio Fernando Levy, Janice Day of the Dead Pre-K - 2nd A Handful of Seeds Hughes, Monica Grandmother's death Grade A Little Bit of Rob Turner, Barbara Accidental death of friend Grandpa's Slide Show Gould, Deborah Grandfather dies Someone Special Died Prestine, Joan Questions and answers about death K - Elem Am I Still a Big Sister? Bernheimer, Death of sibling Audrey The Dead Bird Brown, Margaret Burial of a dead bird The Saddest Time Simon, Norma Concept of death Saying Goodbye to Daddy Vigna, Judith Death of dad in a car accident So Far From the Sea Bunting, Eve Japanese-American family who is moving Tales of a Gambling Khalsa, Dayal Family traditions Grandma The Tenth Good Thing Viorst, Judity Dead Cat About Barney To Hell with Dying Walker, Alice Death of a friend Too Far Away to Touch Newman, Leslea Uncle dying of AIDS The Two of Them Aliki Relationship of grandfather and granddaughter The Wall Bunting, Eve Vietnam Veteran When Dinosaurs Die Krasney, L. & Memory of a loved one Brown, M. Whiskers, Once and Orgel, Doris Death of a cat Always Elem A Taste of Blackberries Smith, Doris Best friend's death Aarvy Ardvak Finds Hope O'Toole, Donna Loss of mother Annie and the Old One Miles, Misha Grandmother is ill. Bart Speaks Out" Goldman, Linda Suicide Breaking the Silence on Suicide Better with Two Joosse, Barbara Death of dog Cousins Hamilton, Virginia Death of grandmother Daddy's Climbing Tree Adler, C. S. Accidental death of father El Mejor Truco Del Abuelo Holden, Dwight Grandfather's death Gran-Gran's Best Trick) Everett Anderson's Rylant, Cynthia Death of father Goodbye First Snow Coutant, Helen Vietnamese girl understands death I Heard the Owl Call My Craven, Margaret Indian village--meaning of life and death name 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 35
  36. 36. Journey MacLachlan, Mother moves away Patricia Learning To Say Goodbye LeShan, Eda Stages of grief Los Mejores Amigos Wild, Margaret Cat loses owner Marisol y el Mensarjeo Smith-Ayla, Father is murdered Amarillo Emilie Nana Upstairs and Nana Depaola, Tomie Death of grandmother Downstairs On My Honor Bauer, Marion Drowning of friend Pablo Recuerda la Fiesta Diaz, Jorge Families honor spirits of the dead del Cia de Los Muertos Robin on His Own Wilson, African-American boy comes to terms with Johnniece death of grandmother Run, Run As Fast As You Osborne, Mary A girl moves Can Sapo y la Cancion del Valthuijs Burying a dead bird Minto Searching for David's Bennett, Cheryl Brother is killed Heart Shades of Gray Reeder, Carolyn Civil war loss Summer to Die Lowry, Lois Older sister diagnosed with Leukemia The Education of the Little Carter, Forrest Cherokee boy goes to live with Tree grandparents The Fall of Freddie the Buscaglia, Leo Allegory between life and death Leaf The Giver Lowry, Lois Boy questions his future The Remembering Box Clifford, Eth Family traditions The Three Birds Van den Berg, Bird's mother dies Marinus Tiger Eyes Blume, Judy Death of father Toby Wild, Margaret Death of a dog Un Gato Viejo y Triste Zaton, Jesus Illness of a cat What's Heaven Shriver, Maria Death of mother Middle A Summer to Die Lowry, Lois Sister's death School Abuelita Hubner, Franz Grandmother's illness Farewell to Manzanar Huston, Jean & WW II Hutson, J.D. Out of the Dust Hesse, Karen Death of mother Park's Quest Paterson, Death of father in Vietnam Katherine Slake Holman, Felica Teen lives in a subway in NY S Limbo You Shouldn't Have to Hermes, Patricia Mother is dying of cancer Say Good-bye Middle - Father Figure Peck, Richard Mom commits suicide High School My Brother Sam Collier, James & Revolutionary War-family is split apart Christopher My Daniel Conrad, Pam Death of a boy 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 36
  37. 37. No Place to Be: Voices of Berck, Judith Writings by homeless children Homeless Children Say Good Night, Gracie Deever, Julie Coping with death of a best friend Swallowing Stones McDonald, Joyce Accidental death Tears of a Tiger Draper, Sharon Car accident The Accident Strasser, Todd Car accident The Eagle Kite Fox, Paula Father has AIDS The Grieving Teen Fitzgerald, Helen Teenagers and death Walk Two Moons Creech, Sharon Mother killed in accident When the Broken Heart Meyer, Carolyn Loss of husband and children Still Beats High After the Rain Fox, Norma Grandfather's death School Amazing Grace Cannon, A. E. Depressed teenage mother Begonia for Miss Zindel, Paul Impending death Applebaum Close Enough to Touch Peck, Richard Girlfriend leaves Dead Serious Leder, Mersky Suicide Death Be Not Proud Gunther, John Impending death Face at the Edge of the Bunting, Eve Suicide World Freak the Mighty Mazer, Norma Physically disabled friend Friends Till the End Stsser, Todd Leukemia I am Fifteen and I don't Amothy, WW II Autobiography want to Die Christine I Have Lived a Thousand Hon-Jackson, Holocaust survivor Years Livia It Happened to Nancy Sparks, Beatrice Date rape infects girl with HIV Izzy Wily Nilly Voight, Cynthia Teenager loses leg in car accident Kindness Rylant, Cynthia Pregnancy Living When a Young Grollman, Earl Suicide Friend Commits Suicide : Or Even Starts Talking About It Maniac Magee Spinelli, Jerry Death of parent Night Wiesel, Elie WW II concentration camp Night Kites Kerr, M. E. Brother has AIDS No Promises in the Wind Hunt, Irene Depression Now I Lay Me down to McDaniel, Leukemia Sleep Luriene Pigman Zindel, Paul Dying old man Pigman's Legacy Zindel, Paul Sequel Remembering the Good Peck, Richard Suicide Times So Far From the Bamboo Watkins, Y. K. WW II Grove The Power to Prevent Nelson, Richard Suicide Suicide: A Guide for Teens Helping Teens Tell Me Everything Coman, Carolyn Accidental death of mother Toning the Sweep Johnson, Angela African women cope with death 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 37
  38. 38. Tracker Paulsen, Gary Grandfather's death Two Moons in August Brooks, Martha Teenager deals with death of mother Counselor/ 100 World-Class Thin Bodart, Jane Bibliography on death and dying Teacher Books Resources Adolescents at Risk Kaywell, Joan Death and dying resources Breaking the Silence Goldman, Linda Adults helping children cope Coping When a Parent Grosshandler- Adolescent bereavement Dies Smith, Janet Life in a Crowded Place Peterson, Ralph Loss in the classroom community Straight Talk About Death Grollman, Earl Interventions The Grieving Child: A Fitzgerald, Helen Parent's Guide Why do People Die? MacGregor, Explains death, beliefs, customs, and rituals Helping Your Child Cynthia Understand Death with Love and Illustrations Videos Elementary The Tenth Good Thing AIMS MEDIA Dead cat About Barney A Taste pf Blackberries Batesville Accidental death of friend Management Services Full House "The Last Warner Bros. TV Death of grandfather Dance," Max and Nellie's Journey The Old Brick Grandfather's impending death with Grief Playhouse Elementary Mick Harte Was Here Listening Library Brother's accidental death -Middle The Magic Within Cinema Gild Parents killed in car accident High Dying is Not an Option: Denver Center Teens dealing with loss School Thinking About Suicide Media Teen Grief "Climbing Human Relations Teens dealing with different losses Back" Media 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 38
  39. 39. Websites Website Website Address Description American Hospice www.americanhospice.org Materials Foundation Belief Net www.beliefnet.com Teens can post questions Fernside www.fernside.org Children can write letters Other Resources Rainbows (grief and loss support groups/training) 1240 Johnson Ferry Place, Suite A-50 Marietta, GA 30068 (770) 321-9636 e-mail: rainbowsga@email.com website: www.rainbows.org The Rising Sun Center for Loss and Renewal (counseling services and resource materials) Sharon Rugg, LCSW 2848 Windsor Oaks Tc. Marietta, GA 30066 (770) 928-1027 website: www.risingsuncenter.com Compassionate Friends Support groups for parents and siblings who have experienced a loss Meetings in the Marietta area Contact Susan Goethe for further information. Survivors of Suicide Support groups for family members and friends impacted by a suicide. Contact Susan Goethe for further information. 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 39
  40. 40. Paulding County School District Crisis Response Team Members Andy Aarons, Counselor, East Paulding Middle School Susan Goethe, Curriculum Specialist for Counselors Darlene Gray, Counselor, East Paulding Middle School Debbie Gunter, Counselor, Dugan Elementary School Kelly Pitts, Counselor, Roberts Elementary School David Seawell, Counselor, Hiram High School Cherie Simpson, Counselor, Hiram High School Precious White, Counselor, Union Elementary School Brad Zimmerman, Counselor, Baggett Elementary School Updated June, 2005 4/29/2010 10:45 a4/p4 40

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