What is a Crisis?
The most common crisis is the death of a student or staff person, although other kinds of traumatic incidents may be appropriate for response, such as a sudden/unanticipated event involving serious injury (physical or mental) or death that profoundly and negatively affects a segment of the population.
How Can a School Access the Response Team?
The Tri-County School Response Team can be accessed in Deschutes County by calling Nita Carnagey at 541-325-9911. In Jefferson County, the team can be accessed by calling team leader, Caron Smith at 541-475-5593 or 541-475-7253 or Nita Carnagey at 541-325-9911. In Crook County, contact Doug Bristow at 541-447-6283 or 541-548-2859.
What Does the Response Team Do?
When a team member responds to a call, he or she first verifies the information, then checks with the building administrator to confirm the team’s invitation, and then appoints a team leader. The team leader assembles a group to respond, matching the need with the specific team members’ strengths, when possible. A response is generally one day in length, with the goal of supporting the school staff in stabilization and organization. The team does not make decisions, but lends advice and suggestions based on training, experience, and research-based best practices. The resident school maintains all authority, and the team proceeds only at the invitation of the administration.
Team members fill a number of roles. These include staffing a “safe room” where students and/or staff can go if they need a break from the mainstream for a time, assisting staff and students in addressing issues of grief, and composing letters to be sent to parents or other impacted individuals. Trained team members can conduct Critical Incident Debriefings in the case of trauma. Some team members may also help in the counseling center or substitute at teacher request. Follow-up support sessions may be arranged for those students, staff or others who might benefit.
What is the Goal of the Response Team?
The goal of the School Response Team is to affect organization, support, and direction during a time that can easily become confusing, overwhelming and chaotic. The efforts are toward stabilization and a return to normalcy. This is most effectively accomplished when students and staff have the opportunity to take time to acknowledge the meaning of the loss, to integrate that meaning into their lives, to accept the fact that the loss means change and then to refocus on life. It is the goal of the School Response Team to support this process while the resident school or agency remains in charge.