Schools are more vulnerable to security threats and social ailments, which can lead to a crisis-type situation. These include gang violence, hostage taking, and drug addiction. All of these problems can trigger severe emotions like hysteria as well as PTSD. These issues can cause problems for students and hinder their ability to learn.
So school administrators and educators must create a learning environment that is safe and healthy for students. This will help them to succeed. How can you as a school administrator help students achieve this environment? Learn how to manage a school crisis.
Crisis management system in schools
Schools must establish a crisis management group to address any emergency. This team has the purpose of devising strategies that can be used to cope with any type of emergency. This may include natural disasters in common geographical areas as well terrorist attacks. The school’s administration prefers teachers and professionals in crisis and trauma management to ensure its effectiveness. Flexible learning programs are available to educators. For example, the online MSE in Crisis Management can help them develop their leadership abilities and critical thinking skills during crisis. This program is also available to you. This program will show you how to respond to trauma in children and how to help them.
PPRR Crisis Management Model is also recommended. PPRR is short for Prevention, Preparedness, Reaction, and Recovery. This model was first used by the US State Governor’s Association back in 1978. Here are some tips to help create the best crisis management plan for your school.
Make a list of all the possible crises that might occur
Your first step should be to be prepared for anything that might occur. Every district has its own security measures and disasters. After the 9/11 attack, schools began to prepare staff and students to handle possible terrorist attacks. In the event of a severe storm, guides are issued by states in coastal regions to provide information on shelters and how to locate them. Schools located in unsavory neighborhoods are more at risk for gang-related violence.
Make sure you have an emergency binder. It should contain instructions for getting out of emergency situations, as well emergency numbers. The binder should always be readily accessible on campus.
Plan for worst-case scenarios
Even if the emergency situation has been managed, it is important to be ready for any eventuality. At worst, staff and students would need to evacuate.
Together, create an exit plan that has minimum obstacles. Should the crisis occur on a large level, you might also need to coordinate your efforts with other schools. Staff members should be given positions so that they can lead students to safety without panicking. Designate a safe spot outside the school for staff and students to take temporary refuge.
Conduct emergency drills and training
Once your plan is approved, take steps to ensure staff and students follow the instructions. Your team should be involved in regular drills and training sessions that lead people to safety. Because everyone knows the right thing to do, panic and disorder are reduced in real emergencies.
Assess the situation.
Sometimes the size of the crisis may overrule the original crisis plan you developed and trained everyone on. You should have the ability to quickly assess the situation, and make decisions that are in everyone’s best interests. In addition to the primary plan, you can also draft a contingency program.
Be present and composed
People are more likely to flee during times of crisis than they are during good times. In such times, it is common for people to see everyone as their own. However, it is vital to exhibit exceptional leadership skills as well as impeccable composure in order to lead students through difficult situations. It is important to be visible and reachable for students in difficult situations.
Communication skills are essential in order to effectively communicate key points that can be used to address and manage an ongoing emergency. Staff and students can forget about the instructions in panic situations. Avoid using a harsh or formal tone in dealing with this situation. It is important to be clear in your messages during crisis situations.
Initiate regular therapy sessions
Things will take time to recover after a crisis. Based on how much of an incident they were exposed to, staff and students may experience anxiety panic disorder or PTSD. If they aren’t treated, these symptoms could lead to more permanent psychological diseases. They can also negatively impact their academics and social activities.
An excellent way to manage emotional and psychological traumas is to start therapy sessions. For students with mental health issues, early intervention is key to preventing them from becoming chronic.
A school crisis can lead to the media being on the alert, seeking more information and sensationalizing the situation. It is possible for schools to get negative publicity from miscommunications. Communicate clearly with the media. Communicate with the media in a clear and concise manner so there is no room for misinterpretations or miscommunications.
To ensure that schools can resume normal functioning as quickly and efficiently as possible, they must properly manage crisis situations. The National Education Association, (NEA) created a guide detailing a step-by–step process for school crisis management. Multiple copies of this guide are sent to schools all over the US. It serves as a guideline and a source for crisis management plans. You must be ready for anything in order to manage crisis effectively. Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Failing to prepare is the best way to fail.”