5 Critical Steps for School Crisis Training

Posted on May 7, 2012


Recent events in Ohio and Oakland are tragic reminders that schools need to have comprehensive crisis response plans in place. That is why the National Education Association (NEA) and the National Education Association Health Information Network (NEA HIN) developed this easy-to-use crisis guide with essential, to-the-point advice for schools and districts. The NEA School Crisis Guide has resources on preparing for, reacting to, and responding to a crisis, whether it’s an act of violence or natural disaster. Here are 5 critical steps in school crisis training from NEA HIN’s School Crisis Guide: Help and Healing in a Time of Crisis.

  1. Form a school crisis response team that includes:
    • Principal
    • Assistant principal
    • Facility manager
    • Food service personnel
    • Front office professional
    • NEA building representative
    • School nurse or social worker
    • Mental health professional (e.g., counselor, social worker, psychologist)
    • Security officer
    • Technology specialist
    • Teachers as available and needed
    • Liaison to district communication office
  2. Provide yearly training on the procedures outlined in the emergency preparedness and crisis response plan. (Be sure to include bus drivers and substitute teachers.) Identify in the plan who will provide training and what training is necessary so everyone understands his or her role in a crisis.
  3. Communicate components of the plan to parents and guardians, and other appropriate stakeholders. Public safety agencies should be provided with copies of each school’s and the district’s emergency preparedness and crisis response plan.
  4. Orient new staff to the plan. Make sure each classroom has a copy of step-by-step emergency response procedures. Arrange for substitute teachers to receive copies when they arrive at new schools.
  5. Regularly practice major aspects of the plan, such as lockdown and evacuation procedures, using tabletop exercises and actual drills with law enforcement officials, so everyone is confident in fulfilling their roles.