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  First week
  Support families by providing information and resources.
  • Hold a parent meeting at school to answer questions and address concerns. Have a mental health expert address post-traumatic stress. Provide handouts on mental health issues and information on long-term mental health resources.

  • Provide safe places for students and parents to meet informally. Include planned activities (games, crafts) as well as mental health support.

  • Form parent support groups with the help of mental health agencies.

  • Practice active listening to allow a safe place for grief and anxiety to be vented and heard.

Make sure staff are valued and informed through daily meetings and phone calls. Involve staff in planning special events, memorials and back-to-school activities. Make mental health services available, including Employee Assistance Program, if applicable. Practice active listening and acknowledge pain and anxiety as well as a healing process that has ups and downs.

Return to normalcy. It’s important for everyone to return to a routine as quickly as possible while honoring those injured or dead. Determine when to resume extra-curricular activities and classes in consultation with law enforcement, mental health and facilities staff.

Continue to provide regular, ongoing communications. There is no such thing as “overcommunication” in a crisis. Regularly update Web sites, voice mails and phone scripts. Maintain a master list of questions and get volunteers to research answers. Continue daily fact sheets as needed.

tool icon Manage the ongoing needs of the media as the story evolves. The media will look for new angles as the crisis stabilizes. Click here for information. While the number of press conferences decreases, individual requests for information and interviews continue. Ask the media to consider what images are portrayed and how that affects potential retraumatization of victims. Develop media protocols regarding media pools and credentials for special events and memorials to minimize intrusion while ensuring media access. A media pool is a commonly used practice that provides access to a limited group of media representatives who are required to share video and sound with all other media outlets. Click here for sample.

Continue to meet and coordinate with appropriate agencies. Especially in the case of a crime, keep in close contact with law enforcement agencies.

Meet with key stakeholders. For rumor control, hold face-to-face communications with all district principals and administrators, school board members, former board members, parent leadership, elected officials and other community leaders so the community receives accurate and timely information.

Research financial resources. Grants may be available from local and state agencies, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. These grants can help fund additional nurses, mental health workers, substitute teachers, after-school activities and consultants.

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