Crisis can create a crisis response but a clear framework which is purposeful and co-ordinated is required by schools in the aftermath of a critical incident involving a student or member of staff.
These structures must be in line with clearly formatted procedures if we are to respond coherently and flexibly to a critical incident. This has the effect of containing the aftermath of the incident for the student or member of staff.
The critical incident is a serious matter for the whole school community, especially the student’s member of staff’s close friends and peers in the school. Thus it is important that the school reacts to such an event in a way that recognises what has happened and deals sensitively with the aftermath and also supports those most seriously affected by the incident.
On receipt of notification of a critical incident, the Principal or Chaplain should be the first point of contact and he/she will notify the following people:
Principal => Deputy Principals => Pastoral Care Team => Year Heads => Tutors => Other Relevant Members of Staff
- Establish the facts:
- What is the nature of the critical incident?
- Who has been involved in the incident?
- How is he/ she doing?
- Convene a meeting of key people: Counsellor, Chaplain, Home School Liaison Co-ordinator, Year Head and any other relevant member(s) of the staff.
- Contact appropriate outside agencies for support should the need arise, e.g. Counselling Service, etc.
- Contact support staff.
- Make immediate contact with family.
- Consult with the family regarding appropriate support from the school.
- Student/staff briefing.
- By whom? Principal, Chaplain, Year Head
- What Information? Facts
- Be sensitive to the family’s wish for privacy.
D – TRIAGE => Closest Friend(s) – Staff/Class – Year Group
- Anticipate student/staff questions and responses.
- Ensure that a quiet place can be made available for students/ staff.
- Media Briefing
- Designate a spokesperson.
- Prepare a brief statements.
- Protect the family’s privacy.
- (Principal/ Pastoral Care Team).
Medium Term Tasks
- Facilitation of students’/staff’s responses, e.g. get well cards, flowers, etc.
- Monitoring of distressed students/staff.
- Ensuring counselling service is available to identified students and staff.
- What other services are required/available, e.g. Health Board, Accredited Counsellors from I.A.C.P. and I.A.H.I.P.
Long Term Tasks
- Review overall school response. Help the students/staff to acknowledge the critical incident.
- Review the support structures available, e.g. Support Group, etc.
- Be aware of the impact on the Primary Carers. Provide appropriate support.
Relevant Services and Organisations offering Support
I.A.C.P. Counselling Service 01-2300061
I.A.H.I.P. Counselling Service 01-2841665
Health Board: Catherine Brogan 01-6707987
Bereavement Counselling 01-8391766
Compassionate Friends (Dublin) 01-8322197
The Samaritans 0850-609090
SÓLÁS (bereavement counselling for children) 01-4540355