The proper handling of school-wide crises is essential to minimizing negative impact on the learning and mental health of students, school personnel and communities. A comprehensive crisis intervention approach provides ways for schools to return to normalcy as quickly as possible, address residual problems, and explore preventive measures for the future. To achieve this, school districts must adopt, implement, and institutionalize a set of crisis intervention procedures.
This panel presentation will explore the core definition of crisis planning within school districts and schools, including how suicide attempts and deaths should be handled within the crisis plan. The panel will also include key personnel from two school districts that will discuss how they got to where they are now, what they learned along the way, the obstacles they had to overcome and the success they have had since.
Upon completion of this workshop, participants will be able to:
•Understand what is school based crisis planning.
•Understand how suicide attempts and deaths fit within the school crisis plan including how they differ and how they are comparable to other school crisis events.
•Identify the do's and don’ts of reacting to a suicide within a school district.
•Develop strategies to build a more comprehensive crisis plan.
Tom McSherry, MC
Mr. McSherry founded Crisis Preparation and Recovery, Inc. in 1995. He has over 24 years of experience in emergency and disaster services and over 17 years experience in the field of critical incident stress management (CISM). He also served as the Emergency Disaster Services Coordinator for the Western Territory of The Salvation Army for over 8 years.
He has performed hundreds of CISM interventions for private individuals, emergency service personnel, businesses, and non-profit agencies. He has been involved in managing The Salvation Army’s response and recovery efforts in disasters such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, a typhoon, wild land fires, tornadoes, air and train crashes, the Columbine High School shooting, and September 11th.
His organization affiliations include: President of the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Past President of Arizona Emergency Services Association, and a member of the Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists. He is an adjunct instructor for the State of Arizona Emergency Management Division and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). He is a trainer of 10 different Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) courses nationally and internationally, and has worked with emergency response agencies, schools, and hospitals to develop emergency response plans and CISM teams.He is also a Master Trainer for the Medic FirstAid training program. He holds a Master of Counseling degree from the University of Phoenix and is a trained mediator.
James P. Lee, Ed.D., Superintendent, Paradise Valley Unified School District
Jim Lee has been superintendent since July, 2009, and served as assistant superintendent since 2005. Dr. Lee was director of student services two years before that. He spent the early part of his teaching career in the Suring (WI) School District and joined the Scottsdale Unified School District in 1984. For eight years he served as principal of a middle school and a high school in the Scottsdale district.
Bruce Harvey, LCSW, Crisis Prevention, Gilbert Public Schools