RESPONDING TO A TRAUMATIC OR CRITICAL INCIDENT IN WHICH THE SCHOOL IS INVOLVED.
Schools may become directly or indirectly involved in a tragic or traumatic event
- The incident may involve loss of life, serious injury or emotional disturbance.
- The incident may occur in the school environment or outside.
- It may involve staff, students or those close to them.
- The network of those involved in a traumatic event can be wide, especially if it directly involves the school.
- Feelings of grief and loss can continue over long periods of time.
- Counselling should be provided for all those who need it. This may include many who do not seem to be closely connected to the event or the individuals involved.
- The school may be in a position to help grieving families at difficult times. e.g. through the schoolís participation in the funeral service.
- While school should operate as normally as possible, some degree of flexibility should exist.
- It is essential that people be given clear, accurate information at all times.
ACTION TO BE TAKEN AS A RESULT OF A TRAGIC / TRAUMATIC EVENT WHICH INVOLVES THE SCHOOL
Incidents vary in complexity. These guidelines provide a framework for action and would not necessarily be followed in all cases. However the following 4 principles must be followed: -
- Provision of clear accurate information.
- Description of action to be followed.
- Provision of help for all affected.
- Maintenance of normal school program.
- Obtain accurate information. Deal only with substantiated facts.
- As soon as possible inform staff, especially those most directly involved, and School Council president and the D.E&Tís Emergency Management Inform close friends and family individually. Allow questions and discussion as they arise. Dispel rumours.
- Contact the Regional Office and/or DE&T if necessary. All emergency or criminal activity in which the safety or well-being of staff or students is at risk, or where there is a threat to property, must be reported immediately to the Departmentís 24 hour Emergency and Security Management Branch on ph: (03) 9589 6266
- Appoint a skilled Support Team to assist in the management of the incident. The team may include staff members, counsellors, external DE&T personnel, support agencies etc. The size and composition of the team will be related to the nature of the incident. Distribute names of Support Team members, and inform others of the role of the team.
- As soon as possible provide information to the community as to what has happened, and what is being done.
- The principal and/or School Council president will deal with all media requirements. A written press release may be useful. If necessary, protect others from contact with the media.
- Establish an open line of contact with the family or families directly involved.