By Kent Berkley
Educators know it is inevitable that some of their students will experience traumatic events that can happen at home or in the school building. When emergency situations arise on campus, a large segment of the student body can be affected by the same traumatic event. Recent advances in school safety practices and in understanding the effects of toxic stress on adolescent brain development have prompted some school administrators to update their safety protocols and build a network of therapeutic interventions to help students recover from traumatic events. Gereon Methner, Secondary Principal for the Gibraltar Area School District, says his administrative team spends a great deal of time working with staff, faculty and community partners to prepare for any emergencies that may occur.
Principal Methner emphasizes that adolescents, like adults, respond to traumatic events differently, so it is important to develop an array of resources so that each individual situation can be addressed with a specific plan. He states that it is critically important to plan in advance and collaborate with key partners such as law enforcement, first responders, school counselors and community mental health providers.