Review of Crisis in Public Schools throughout
the United States
Throughout the United States students in public schools have experienced many crises. Students have witnessed or experienced many different types of crisis which can include: violence, death, accidents, family issues, natural disasters and terrorism. Statistics from the National Center for Educational Statistics (2008) show that in the 2003-04 school year there were 19 homicides and 3 suicides that occurred at school. Outside of school in the 2003-04 school year there were 1,437 homicides and 1,285 suicides of youth ages 5 to 18. According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System Encyclopedia (2008) in the year 2007, there were 2,022 children ages 0-15 and 5,338 teens ages 16-20 who died in fatal car accident. Other crises include disasters. Since 2003 there have been 4 hurricanes (hurricanes Isabel, Ivan, Katrina, and Ophelia) in the United States. Hurricane Katrina displaced over 372,000 school-aged children (Dickenson, 2008). In the September 11 attack, there were 3,051 children who lost a parent (New York Media, 2008). Earthquakes, thunderstorms, and tornadoes also have caused major fatalities and displacements.
Public Schools in the United States “need to be ready to handle crisis, large and small, to keep children and staff out of harm’s way”. There must be a “Crisis Intervention or Management Plan”, in case any of these crises occur in the school. Unfortunately, not all do. School Psychologists play a significant role of the crisis management team and should review the plan and know their part in crisis management for schools during and after the crises occurs. Crisis Management, as defined by The Model School Crisis Management Plan (1999), is “that part of a school division’s approach to school safety which focuses more narrowly on a time-limited, problem-focused intervention to identify, confront and resolve the crisis, restore...