Round Lake Senior High School ROUND LAKE HIGH SCHOOL CRISIS INTERVENTION PROCEDURE. Action Steps

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1 Round Lake Senior High School ROUND LAKE HIGH SCHOOL CRISIS INTERVENTION PROCEDURE Action Steps The Board of Education of the Round Lake Area School District #116 recognizes that it has the responsibility to provide for the welfare of staff and students in the case o extraordinary events or crisis such as suicide, civil disorder, accidents, and major disasters. To implement policies that address these issues, the following procedures have been established. NOTIFICATION The Superintendent is the school official who is notified. They will notify the building principals and then all district administrators. Each reported crisis should be verified with the appropriate agency (police, coroner, fire department, etc.) prior to initiating the plan. If the building principal is notified, he/she will notify: 1. Superintendent 2. ESC 3. OSC 4. Initiate building crisis team phone tree. The following information will be given: a. There has been a crisis in the district. b. The crisis team will convene at 6:30 a.m. in the library. 5. Initiate staff phone tree. The following information will be given: a. There has been a crisis in the district. b. There will be a voluntary meeting in the library at 7:00 a.m. c. If the staff member is not going to attend the meeting, they should check their mailbox first thing in the morning. d. Be visible in the halls. e. If you are not feeling well, if at all possible, please try to attend school. The sub will be used elsewhere. (SEDOL teachers will contact their support personnel.) 6. In case of death, the principal contacts the student s family to offer condolences and to discuss how the family wishes to handle the situation. This step would be particularly important when there is a question regarding whether a family is dealing with their child s death as a suicide. IF A CRISIS OCCURS DURING THE DAY 1. Minimize student traffic in the area. 2. If necessary, extend the class periods. 3. Determine if paramedics/police/other emergency personnel are needed. Staff members on scene calls 911, assists casualty, then calls an administrator or tells another staff member to call an administrator. The administrator will call the District Office. 4. Notify parent/family member if student or staff has been hurt or is in a crisis situation. 5. Convene the crisis team immediately to determine the plan. 6. Provide support to witnesses or persons who are directly involved in the incident. 7. Principal or his/her designee will notify the Superintendent.

2 CONVENE TEAM The crisis team will meet at 6:30 a.m. in the high school library. The building principal will serve as team leader. There will be an optional staff meeting at 7:00 a.m. in the library to inform the staff members of the crisis and the plan of action that will be taken throughout the day. An optional debriefing meeting will be held for the staff at the end of the school day in the library. Crisis Team members will be handed out at Staff Meeting. Tasks of the team: 1. Building principal to share facts. 2. Develop wording of fact sheet and other information to be included on teacher and secretary guideline sheet. i. Every care will be taken to protect confidentiality issues regarding students and staff during a crisis situation ii. Only pertinent information should be shared with the students and staff. Keep in mind that the more factual information shared eliminates rumors and stories. Include name, nature of incident, funeral arrangements if known. iii. Include information about resources available to staff and students, i.e. Drop In Center, Social Workers, etc. b. Assign a member of the Crisis Team to type and copy fact sheet for the staff. Include general guidelines for staff. (see below) c. Distribute in person at the 7:00 a.m. staff meeting and/or have in teacher s mailboxes by 7:30 a.m. d. Assign a staff member to fax information to all of the buildings in the District. e. Building secretaries will be given the same written notice and can read to the parents the information from the notice. If the parent wants more information, the phone call needs to be transferred to the Principal. f. Fact sheet will be read by the teachers preferably during 2 nd hour. The principal or his designee wil read the fact sheet to the study halls in the Commons. 3. Develop a building plan for the day. 1. Building principal or his/her designee will be the only one to speak to the press and answer questions from parents. He can designate others to help take calls. 2. The Social Worker and Guidance Counselor of the student will follow the class schedule of the deceased student to share information and respond to questions. 3. A staff member will notify the District Registrar to determine if there are siblings in the District. This staff person will notify other schools (principals and social workers) that may be impacted by the crisis. 4. Designate a staff member who will notify the substitute teachers in the building and will be available to relate the crisis information to the students in those classrooms. 5. Assign a staff member to update staff at the morning voluntary meeting, preferably the building principal. 6. Head Custodian will update other custodians and lunchroom staff. 7. Principal s secretary will update office staff. 8. Security personnel will be responsible for monitoring the entrances and directing visitors to the appropriate place.

3 9. Designate a staff member who will be available to escort students to the Drop In Center or social workers office when necessary. 10. Determine if a Drop-In Assistance Center is needed. If so, Special Ed Coordinator will be responsible for maintaining the Center with appropriate staff of social workers and psychologists. The Chorus room will be used for the Drop-In Center. If the Drop-In Center is to be used, include this information in the teacher s fact sheet. 11. Identify persons in need of support, e.g. students, teachers, custodians, etc. Assign a staff member to check in with these people. 12. Designate a staff member who will be able to sub for teachers who may need a break during the day to deal with their own emotions. 13. Develop a plan for backup communication in case phones and public address system fails. Determine who has walkie-talkies and frequency to be used. 14. Determine any changes to building use park district, extracurricular, scouts. Assign a person to contact these people. 15. Designate one staff person who will attend the wake and funeral to maintain a list of students in attendance for possible further follow up and support within the school. OPTIONS TO BE CONSIDERED BY THE TEAM There may be situations where the police are involved. An example would be a homicide. A police officer will be invited to the crisis meeting in order to share with the team what their needs are and what their processes will be. The action plan will be developed with this information in mind. The District 116 Bilingual Coordinator may be contacted and there will be a discussion about how to service the Spanish-speaking population and their families. If needed, a Drop-In Assistance Center will be set up in the Chorus Room. It will be staffed by the District s social workers and psychologists and others as needed. A staff member will be responsible for taking student ID s as they enter to develop a list of students in attendance. The list will be used for follow-up conferences with students for whom there is a concern. If more support staff are needed, the Special Education Administrator will be notified. They will contact the appropriate staff. Food and water may be provided in the Drop-In Center, if appropriate. GENERAL GUIDELINES Students will be encouraged to stay in school. If a student wants to go home, parents must be contacted either by a Guidance Counselor, Psychologist, or Social Worker. These phone calls can be made from the Guidance Office, Social Work Office or the Drop-In Center. Parents need to be told where their child will be and must pick up their child in person and sign him/her out unless other arrangements are approved by the administration. Drop-In Center staff and Guidance Counselors will maintain a list of students that have permission to leave so that the attendance is properly adjusted and so that the support staff has a list of students who may need follow up conferences. Social Workers and Psychologists will meet with all high risk students. The parents of these students will be contacted by one of the support staff. In the case of a suicide, high-risk students will be identified using a list of all students who have made threats/attempts during the current school year. The list will be prioritized by school social workers the morning of the crisis. Friends of the student may be included on the list.

4 It is better for the students if the official period of mourning is limited. A guideline might be to continue the activities such as the Drop-In Center until the day of the funeral and then return to the Special Services programs generally available within the building. EVALUATE CRISIS PLAN The team will meet again at the end of the day or sooner if possible, to assess the implementation of the plan. The team will collect the lists of students who had permission to go home. Attendance will be corrected. The social workers will keep a list of all the students affected by the crisis for possible future interventions. The team will also decide what services will be offered the next day. A voluntary staff meeting will also be held at the end of the day for any staff member that wishes to attend. GUIDELINES FOR STAFF Don t talk to reporters. The building principal or his designee will be the person to speak with the press and answer parent question. Every care will be taken to protect confidentiality regarding students and staff during the crisis situation. Only pertinent information should be shared with students and others. If press members are calling, that phone call goes immediately to the principal. Please do not parent information about the crisis unless told by the principal. All staff members should be highly visible. Look for students in distress and insure that they get to the appropriate area. The Staff Fact Sheet will list available resources n the school. Teachers should encourage students to the office alone if they are upset. Call the office and someone will come and escort the student to the appropriate place. Prepare students for bad news and read Fact Sheet to your class as prepared by the crisis team. (The team for each case will develop specifics). This is usually read during second period. Acknowledge you own feelings; invite the students to express their feelings, as well. Be prepared to deal with anger as well as hurt and pain. Some students may even joke about the situation or tease classmates. Accept these varying emotions, saying something to the effect that people handle situations like this in different ways. If a discussion ensues, the tasks become one of concentrating on the facts and attempting to dispel rumors. Attempts by students to glamorize the event should be challenged and the incident should be placed in proper perspective. A faculty handout will be available to all staff with helpful information. The goal is not to overreact but to be aware of students and/or staff having trouble dealing with the events. Please be sensitive to student reactions and behavior. Be prepared for students to tell stories and appear agitated. If students wish to speak about the tragedy beyond your level of comfort, contact the office and someone will be sent to talk to your class or a small group. The guidance counselor and social worker will follow the class schedule of the deceased student, speaking to each class for about tem minutes and responding to questions. If a staff member needs time to adjust to the news of the crisis, please contact the office for a substitute.

5 ADDITIONAL STAFF GUIDELINES All suicide ideations and self-harming behaviors (verbal, written, visible marks, etc) need to reported immediately to the social workers in the building. If no social worker is available, reports need to be directed to the principal. All staff will report deaths/traumatic events involving a student and/or his family (parents, caretakers, siblings) immediately to the principal of the building. Principal will convene the crisis team if deemed appropriate. ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN ANNUALLY Have one meeting at the beginning of the school year with the Crisis Team to update plan. The general crisis plan will be discussed, and the names of staff and community members assigned to the crisis team will be generated and the crisis phone tree will be produced. Familiarize new crisis team staff on techniques of working with students on grief issues and the procedures of the crisis team. Familiarize new staff of crisis procedures at the new staff orientation. Discuss the crisis procedure with the staff of the high school at one of the early faculty meetings. Have the emergency crisis telephone tree and the staff telephone tree ready at the beginning of the school year and update it as necessary. Notify parents of the signs of suicide and the procedures and services available through articles in the Principal s newsletter. Repeat information in summer mailings. Include this information in student handbooks (In The Know). Familiarize both the secretaries and custodians of the crisis procedures.

6 WHAT TO EXPECT AT A WAKE A wake is an opportunity to Honor your friend or loved one. It is a time to exchange Support with family and friends. The dress is formal in order to show respect for the departed and his / her family. Please try to attend with your parents. As one arrives at the funeral home, There may be a sign-in book where you can write your name. Sympathy cards can be brought to the wake. If you want, you could describe one of your memories that you want to share with the family in your sympathy card. Sympathy cards can be handed directly to close family members or placed in an identified location in the funeral home. Donations may or may not be included in the card. Sometimes you may want to have flowers sent to the funeral home. Some families request where donations can be directed charity, Church, hospital, etc. or to assist with burial expenses. Generally, the family forms a receiving line to greet mourners. Introduce yourself and your connection to the deceased person math class together, played sports with him, etc. Shake hands or give a hug to the family members, whichever is more comfortable for you. Words can never fully express our deep sorrow; therefore do not feel obligated to say a lot. A few words such as I am sorry for your loss may express more than you will know. You may or may not choose to view the body. Viewing the body can be both comforting and/or overwhelming to an individual. Sometimes people kneel in front of the casket on the kneeler and say a private prayer. This is again your choice. Sometimes you may choose to sit in the chairs provided and have a quiet conversation with other friends or the family members or you may choose to just sit quietly and reflect. Many people choose to leave at this time to allow for other mourners to pay their respects. Do not feel that you need to stay the whole time. For a period of time, you may be overwhelmed with feelings. Take care of yourself, eat well, get plenty of rest, be gentle with yourself, and make wise decisions.

7 RESPONSE/CRISIS TEAM AND DROP-IN CENTER The death of a student is a rare and tragic event that emotionally affects classmates, teachers, parents, and the community. Round Lake Schools have organized and used over the past several years, a plan called, CRISIS INTERVENTION. The following procedure is generally followed after a crisis such as the death of a student. The principal gathers the facts and calls together the crisis team. The crisis team usually consists of the Principal, Deans, Guidance Counselors, Psychologist and Social Workers. The situation is discussed and plans are formulated. At the high school, the principal puts written notice in each of the teachers mailboxes. The teachers read this notice to their second hour class. The Guidance Counselor and / or Social Worker follows the student s schedule all day long and personally speaks to each of the students classes. Students are told that a drop-in center will be available to them. The Social Workers and Psychologist immediately open the drop-in center where students can gather to meet, talk and discuss their grief. Students are encouraged to talk about the situation, express their feelings, and be with others. Students are educated in the stages of grief and are supported by the social workers and psychologist. Students can stay for as long as they want and are excused from classes. The Social Workers will make a list of names and periods that students should be excused from their classes and turn it into the attendance office. Students can ask for follow-up sessions with the social worker at any time. Some students ask to call their parents to get permission to leave school. This is gently discouraged because we feel that the students should not be alone at this time. If students insist, we will call their parents and explain the situation. It is then the parent s decision as to whether they want their child to leave school. If students are allowed to leave, we expect the parents to pick up their child so that the child is not home alone. Students are only excused if their parent gives permission. If students leave without permission they are subject to consequences for an unexcused absence. Some of the physical symptoms of grief may be tightness in the throat, sighing, empty feeling in the abdomen, loss of appetite and general weakness. Some of the psychological symptoms may include a sense of unreality, disorientation, distractions, restlessness, and inability to complete tasks, indecisiveness and sense of going crazy. Everyone reacts to death differently and should be allowed to do so within normal limits. Although sad feelings may continue for a long time, most individuals return to their usual routine within three weeks. Bob Klein High School Social Worker Kathleen Myers High School Social Worker /Outreach Coordinator Mick Hanson High School Social Worker

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