Equip your threat assessment teams with the tools needed to move students off a path of violence. FIND OUT HOW

VIRTUAL TOOLKIT

Recovery Plan for Schools After Violence

Experiencing violence in the community can be traumatizing for more people than those who were directly involved. Those who witnessed the incident can experience trauma, as can other members of the community in which the violent incident occurred. Examples of community violence can include shootings in public places, gang-related fighting, riots and more.

After surviving or witnessing such a traumatic event, it’s likely for survivors to experience a range of emotions, from grief to depression to anger. While these reactions are common, that doesn’t mean they should be ignored or that survivors should be left to suffer in silence. It is important to be able to recognize the signs of grief after community violence takes place and to learn ways to help affected individuals cope. Here are some coping strategies inspired by SAMHSA’s Coping with Grief After Community Violence.

Forming a Recovery Team

Organizing a collaborative recovery team is crucial to the success of any school recovery program. The purpose of such a team is to attend to the physical and psychological needs of students and staff and to utilize available community resources to prevent further harm and advance recovery. Individuals to consider including in a recovery team might be:

  • Educators
  • Administrators
  • Special education professionals
  • Mental health professionals
  • Law enforcement
  • Human Resources
  • Important members of the community

Free Virtual Toolkit

Download the Guide

Download this virtual toolkit to get resources, guidelines and tools to help you develop a recovery plan tailored specifically for your school, staff and students following a traumatic violent event.

Download the Virtual Toolkit

Recovery Plan for Schools After Violence

Training Staff, Parents & Counselors

Training staff, parents and counselors to identify signs of trauma and stand ready should a violent event occur is important in addressing the physical and emotional distress students may feel. Providing helpful collateral and training materials can assist staff, parents and counselors in offering appropriate resources and support to students as needed.

Develop a Plan

Formulating a recovery plan before you need it is crucial to putting your school in the best position to assist students in the aftermath of a violent act. This can be accomplished through the following steps:

Establish a Process for the Recovery Team

Your recovery team should work to determine goals and objectives to achieve the best possible results before, during and after a traumatic school event. Once the plan is created, training should be provided to educators and staff, and they should receive an outline of their responsibilities.

Survey Staff for Suggestions on Creating a Supportive School Environment

Getting the input of your staff for ways your school can better support its students in times of crisis can prove to be invaluable.

Develop an Awareness Campaign

Many students and families are unaware of available resources that can help them recover from violent events at school. Incorporating these resources into existing training collateral can help raise awareness that help is easily accessible.

Make Teacher Strategies Easily Modifiable

The grieving process for a student in elementary school likely differs vastly from that of a high school student. Therefore, teachers’ support strategies should be adaptable so that they are effective at all grade levels.

Include a Process for Suicide & Self-Harm Incidents

Assisting grieving students following a suicide requires special procedures. It’s important to emphasize to students that no one is to blame for the tragedy and that help is readily available. It is also important to have similar plans in place for other types of traumatic events, including active shooters, fires, pandemics and community disasters.

Support Students’ Families & the Community

The ripple effect of violence in schools often goes beyond the classroom walls. As part of your school recovery program, it’s crucial to have measures in place to support families of students and staff and the community.

Parents and community members will also have questions about child safety after a violent event occurs. Be sure to have this information readily available via emails, parent meetings, physical collateral or alternative means.

Free Virtual Toolkit

Download the Guide

Download this virtual toolkit to get resources, guidelines and tools to help you develop a recovery plan tailored specifically for your school, staff and students following a traumatic violent event.

Download the Virtual Toolkit

Recovery Plan for Schools After Violence

Post-Crisis Recovery Timeline

Challenges faced during recovery are likely to evolve as time progresses. Therefore, the approach educators and staff take in supporting students should be adaptable while still providing continuous triage and support. Below are brief guidelines to consider during each phase of recovery:

  • Initial days and weeks – Perform psychological triage and assess impact from the violent act. Additionally, consider a range of memorial options. These can include living memorials such as organizing donations to a suicide or school violence prevention program.
  • One month postcrisis – Train teachers in monitoring and referring students who are exhibiting signs of trauma.
  • Six months postcrisis – Provide psychoeducation for coping with potential trigger events.
  • One year postcrisis – Prepare to address a wide range of emotions on the one-year anniversary.
  • Beyond one year – Focus on the positive growth that has occurred since the event while continuing to seek advice from experts.

Additional Resources

Left Menu Icon