Beginning in April and May, many high schools across the country enlist the assistance of local health authorities and agencies to perform a simulated crisis event on their high school campuses. In preparation for prom nights, festive graduation nights and other activities that cause teens to joyride and party, the intent of these simulations is to show in real-life time what might happen if an accident occurred. In most cases, the students are not warned that the event will take place, except for the few who are taking part as victims and actors of the scene. Such scenes could include a fatal car accident, a sniper shooting, or schoolyard bullying and beating. Other students, unaware of the crisis exercise, are told to congregate in a football field, which has become the scene of the accident. Seeing their friends “involved” is a sight many teens will never forget as real emergency responders arrive at the scene, students are transported via gurney and pronounced “dead” at the scene. Others cry in disbelief and struggle to regain composure.
Simulated crisis events are held all over the country, and are not just limited to school yards. Many places of employment and federal agencies practice crisis management, and have done so for many years, on a more regular basis then those that occur in the school system. Is your child prepared to handle a crisis at school should one occur? Many remember the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a fatal day that look the lives of more than 25 children and some adults. While it is never too late to begin crisis management, what can you do now to get started? Here are some practices and tips for putting you and your children on course:
- Check with the high school or college to see if there is a crisis management plan in place. What happens if there is a sniper at the school, a gunman taking refuge on school property, or an explosion or bomb threat?
- Does the school have a way to alert students and parents via text tor instant messaging? When Virginia Tech was involved in a shooting several years ago, the school had a messaging system in place to alert students of the dangers surrounding them.
- How close are the nearest emergency responders?
- Does the school have a history of violence and, if so, are those isolated incidents, or mass activities?
Crisis management exercise can bring to the forefront an incident that your student may want to avoid. Doing so may save the life of that student at a later time. If you or someone you know has a child who has been injured or killed as a result of a school related accident, the demand for justice will be all-consuming. Making an appointment with your attorney will be the first place to start in order to collect thoughts, evidence and documentation that will be critical to your case.