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By Cynthia Menzel

For over ten years CTA’s Traumatic Events Assistance and Management (TEAM) Cadre has supported educators and their families who are experiencing tragedies. Now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, CTA’s TEAM Cadre is ready to help and has a number of resources and protocols in place to remotely support local chapters through these trying times.

That support and help includes dealing with mental and emotional trauma associated with incidents such as:

  • The death of a student, school or college staff member, or a community member whose death affects a significant portion of the school/college population.
  • Major natural disasters, environmental events, or situations that involve a threat to the physical safety of students or staff.
  • Situations involving a perceived threat to the emotional well-being of students or school/college staff, including incidents of hate crimes, racial unrest, bomb threats or other acts of violence.

The TEAM Cadre was created because tragic events can bring severe emotional trauma to CTA members, the students they teach and the communities they serve. Comprised of field and departmental staff, TEAM Cadre members are situated geographically across California and have the skills and resources needed to assist CTA members experiencing a traumatic event and to the CTA staff who serve them.

Because each local situation is different, cadre members work with local members and staff in assessing and evaluating the situation. Following the assessment, a cadre member provides appropriate resources and support to meet the needs of the local CTA members, including working with school and college districts, connecting members with CTA benefits and resources, and identifying and coordinating community services. Cadre members also provide strategies for local leaders to help individual members deal with trauma.

TEAM Cadre members are NOT first-responders and are not trained to provide psychological counseling in the aftermath of a traumatic event. They work with school and college districts to ensure those types of assistance. Cadre members are, first and foremost, union organizers and advocates who help make sure local CTA members are part of the solution and are at the table as decisions are made in the aftermath of an incident.

CTA members and leaders should contact their local CTA staff member or their regional manager for assistance. Request more information, assistance and resources at TEAMCadre@cta.org, as well.

Local leaders can find resources and templates specific to COVID-19 at cta.org/COVID-19 and at cta.org/LeaderResources.