District Administration April 2018 - 19

MENTAL HEALTH

Florida school shooting underscores need for new PD
After February's deadly school shooting at
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
in Parkland, Florida, there was no shortage of suggestions for improving school
security, ranging from adding more
guards to arming teachers.
One area not widely addressed,
however, is how to prepare teachers and
administrators psychologically for dealing
with a crisis.
For example, although teachers practice active shooter lockdown procedures,
how should they respond if they lock a
classroom door and hear a student in the
hall calling for help-do they risk the
safety of other students to bring the child
in from the hall? And once they decide,
how do they live with their choice?
Unfortunately, not much is available in terms of social-emotional PD for
educators in crisis planning, says Amy
Klinger, director of programs for The
Educators' School Safety Network and
professor of educational administration at
Ashland University.
"So much emphasis has been reactionary-on guns and metal detectors-but
there needs to be a discussion about investing in people," says Klinger. "We need
to shift the conversation to educators as
first responders, because they are."
Although much of the focus has been
on active shooter scenarios, educators also
need to consider preparation for extreme
weather events, student suicides, bus accidents and other more likely-yet traumatic-situations.
Empowering responders
It's important to provide emergency-related PD to every employee in the building-not just the principal-because
there is no way of knowing who will have
to respond in a crisis, says Klinger.
The Educators' School Safety Network
offers emergency operations planning on
its website (eschoolsafety.org), including
active shooter preparation, threat assessment and management resources.
Empower teachers by tapping into ex-

www.DistrictAdministration.com

isting caretaker skills, Klinger says.
"We're not saying stop being a teacher
and start being a security guard," she says.
"We are saying we can take what you do
as a teacher and make it work for threat
assessment and violence prevention and
crisis response."
Teachers mostly request training
that focuses on identifying and referring
threats. They then want to know how to
add appropriate supports to intervene on
that path to violence, says Klinger.

having a detailed recovery plan, says Stephen Brock, a nationally certified school
psychologist and an author of the PREPARE curriculum.
The caregiver component of the PD
should help educators cope psychologically with traumatic events.
"The goal of the training is preparing
them to take care of others, but really,
there's nothing wrong with the idea that
the training is also taking care of the caregivers themselves," says Brock.
Taking care of teachers first sets the
path of the entire school community's
recovery.
"The students and parents will say,
'Yeah, this is bad, but look at the principal
and the teachers. They have a plan, and
it's clear they're following it,'" says Brock.
"Suddenly, the perception of the event
and the problems it's generated become
less severe, less overwhelming and less
unsolvable."
-Ray Bendici

Navigating the aftermath
The National Association of School Psychiatrists' PREPARE curriculum
(DAmag.me/prepare), designed for
school-based professionals, focuses
on crisis prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. In-service PD is
also provided.
Any crisis-training PD has to be addressed from different angles, including

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration April 2018

District Administration April 2018 - Cover1
District Administration April 2018 - Cover2
District Administration April 2018 - 1
District Administration April 2018 - 2
District Administration April 2018 - 3
District Administration April 2018 - 4
District Administration April 2018 - 5
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