Preparing for the
School Crisis Response
Stephen E. Brock
Lodi Unified School District, Lodi, CA
Despite the best of school crisis prevention efforts, it needs to be recognized that crisis events and their consequences cannot be completely avoided. For example, it is impossible to prevent natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods. Also, whereas much can be done to pre vent school violence, it seems unlikely that we can protect our schools from all acts of random violence. Thus, it is critical for schools to be prepared to respond to crisis situations (Brock, Sandoval, & Lewis, 2001).
The importance of school crisis response preparedness cannot be understated. Although it is next to impossible to prepare for all contingencies, crisis response measures place schools in the best possible position to respond to traumatic circumstances. The need for this preparedness is reinforced by the fact that the school crisis response is multifaceted. As illustrated in Fig. 2.1, the crisis response may include a number of different activities. Response plans help to ensure that none of these activities are overlooked in the often chaotic times following a crisis. Crisis response plans also help to ensure that there is very little delay in the provision of crisis services. The need for an immediate response is especially important when it comes to the provision of crisis intervention (also known as psychological first aid). The effectiveness of these services has been suggested to increase directly as a function of the intervention's proximity in both time and place to the crisis (Slaikeu, 1990).
In the pages that follow, this chapter reviews activities that the author's experiences have found to be important to school crisis response pre