Responsive Behaviour Support: Crisis Management

The tenth component of the Responsive Behaviour Support is Crisis Management.

In the context of Responsive Behaviour Support, crisis management involves a predetermined plan of action to address potential student safety concerns to minimize the risk for the student and others. A crisis can range in scope and intensity from incidents that directly or indirectly affect a single student to ones that impact the general school community. Having a predetermined set of strategies and supports in place in the event of severe behaviour situations is critical when a student is out of control, potentially harmful to others or possibly self-injurious. Understanding your school’s processes and procedures is critical when a student crisis occurs as it typically involves a team approach to respond in the most appropriate manner. Taking a proactive approach to responding effectively and ensuring control of a situation to reduce fear, frustration and anxiety in staff and students is most appropriate.

Most schools will engage in a process to create a Student Crisis Plan for the individual student that typically involves a team of teachers, educational assistants, social workers, administrators, parents/guardians and the student. This team will:

• Examine professional reports and recommendations.

• Document the plan on a template (see your school's plan or the template in your Learning Journal)

• Share the plan with all staff.

• Ensure the plan is available for substitute teachers

• Store the plan in a central location (ie. binder at the office if paper copy or secured drive)

• Revise the plan regularly.

• Communicate regularly with parents/guardians and administrators, while the plan is being implemented.

• Debrief with staff after each incident and revise the plan as needed.

• Continuously track student behaviour.

• Consider further professional development for staff in crisis intervention (ie. Nonviolent Crisis Intervention (NVCI) or Lifespace Crisis Intervention (LSCI) )

After a crisis occurs, inevitably at some point, the student will be returned to the classroom setting. Each school has different policies and procedures regarding the safe return of the student after a crisis. Ensure that you touch base with your administrators to understand the process.

Despite the challenges that some students may encounter, maintaining a positive relationship with the student remains the foundational element in an attempt to avoid escalation of concerning behaviour. As stated in the first post in this series, it is beneficial and even essential to establish authentic relationships with students. It has been proven to be the most effective way to support students socially, behaviorally and academically. Students move and thrive in a safe, loving, welcoming, stimulating environment full of meaningful interactions!

Author: Barb Pears