By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin
From Linda Nimer , author of “The Dirty Little Secret”
If you are threatened:
Implement the school safety plan.
If the school safety plan does not provide immediate support or assistance, isolate the student.
Remove other students from the area.
Allow cool-down time.
Document the incident.
If you are attacked or fearful of attack:
Go to administration and demand that you and your staff receive crisis intervention training, such as CPI(Crisis Prevention Institute).
Develop a written plan for dealing with a particular student. Keep a copy for yourself and send copies to the school site administrator and district special education staff.
Practice the plan on a regular basis.
Demand a walkie-talkie for your classroom.
Develop rapport with campus security.
Document all attacks and file reports with the site/district/state.
Contact your local association to find out what contract language is in place and what kinds of protection are available through bargaining.
File a police report if necessary.
Invite your administrator, psychologist, special education department administration and others to come in and demonstrate how one should deal with a problem situation.
Do not listen to others when they say “it’s part of the job” or “it comes with the territory.”
If you have been attacked:
Take a few slow, deep breaths.
Use “self-talk” to calm yourself down.
Recognize that it’s a big deal and you have been through a traumatic event. It’s OK to be upset.
Seek social support from colleagues, friends and family.
Seek support from your administrators and union representative.
Monitor signs of personal distress that may occur afterward, such as trouble sleeping, trouble concentrating, loss of appetite, tearfulness, etc.
See a mental health professional if needed.
Talk to your administrator about having a plan in place to deal with similar issues proactively in the future.
Do not blame yourself.