QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE

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QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE
TO
SCHOOL CRISIS RESPONSE
AND
THREAT ASSESSMENT AND
MANAGEMENT
Los Angeles Unified School District
Office of the Chief Operating Officer
Crisis Counseling and Intervention Services
(Revised 2004)
Office of the Chief Operating Officer
Crisis Counseling & Intervention Services
Copyright 2002 by Los Angeles Unified School District
Revised 2004
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval
systems or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, recording or otherwise, without written permission of the Los Angeles
Unified School District
If you wish to obtain copies of this document, please contact Barbara
Colwell, at (213) 742-8286, [email protected] There will be a cost
for reproduction and shipping.
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Office of the Chief Operating Officer
Crisis Counseling & Intervention Services
Office of The Chief Operating Officer
Crisis Counseling and Intervention Services
INTRODUCTION
In 1984, the Los Angeles Unified School District established its first crisis intervention
teams in response to the sniper shooting at 49th Street Elementary School. Since that
tragedy, our LAUSD Crisis Teams have developed into the finest system of response to
critical incidents and have gained national recognition. Revised Bulletin N-18 outlines
District policy based on lessons learned from thousands of crises, including school
shootings, and several large-scale disasters.
The structure, which makes our teams effective in large or small incidents, is the
requirement for two kinds of teams – the School Site Crisis Team and the Local District
Operations Crisis Team. This Quick Reference Guide was developed by staff from the
district offices listed on the title page. The material included here is intended to provide
some basic information on how a school can select and organize its school site crisis
team.
The School Site Crisis Team should now identify 3 individuals among the team members
to provide Threat Assessment and Management (TAM). A similar number of individuals
will be identified at the local district level. The Los Angeles City Board of Education has
adopted the following policy: “Making Threats is No Joke”. All threats must be taken
seriously and investigated at each school site. FBI and Secret Service studies of
threatening students over the past five years have shown that suspensions transfer or
arrest do not resolve the problems of the student or the threat to the school. A separate
section of the Guide gives specific information about the process of evaluating and
intervening after a threat has been made.
This Guide, used in the District's crisis training programs for school and Local District
personnel, is not meant to answer all questions. But it is a beginning point to insure that
the local school site is ready to respond to a critical incident, a threat, an earthquake or
other disaster. Nothing takes the place of training, drills and other measures for
preparedness. Assess the needs of your school and determine what steps must be taken to
be truly prepared.
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If you have questions or need further assistance in developing your school site team,
please contact your Local District Operations Coordinator, whose leadership has been
instrumental in effective school crisis response. Marleen Wong or Barbara Colwell from
the Office of the Chief Operating Officer are also available for general questions or
concerns. Remember that every adult on campus can be an important caregiver and
contribute to the safety and welfare of students after a crisis.
Thank you for your attention to this important component of school safety - the
development of your school site crisis team.
Tim Buresh, Chief Operating Officer
Los Angeles Unified School District
(213) 241-4133
Crisis Intervention Services
[email protected]
Marleen Wong, Director
Los Angeles Unified School District
(213) 241-2174
[email protected]
Barbara Colwell, L.C.S.W.
Los Angeles Unified School District
Crisis Intervention Services
(213) 742-8286
[email protected]
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Crisis Counseling & Intervention Services
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
________________________________
The information in this publication was written, prepared and compiled
by the following staff personnel of the
Los Angeles Unified School District
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Tim Buresh
Chief Operating Officer
Marleen Wong, Director
Crisis Counseling and Intervention Services
Barbara Colwell, L.C.S.W.
Crisis Counseling and Intervention Services
DISTRICT MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
Rich Lieberman
School Psychologist
ORGANIZATION FACILITATOR
Rosemary Rubin
Counselor
SCHOOL POLICE DEPARTMENT
Nancy Ramirez
Deputy Chief
Steve Dodson
Lieutenant
Jeff Crawford
Lieutenant
________________________________
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QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE TO SCHOOL CRISIS RESPONSE
THREAT ASSESSMENT AND MANAGEMENT
Table of Contents
What is a Crisis…
1
District Policy – Crisis Intervention (Bulletin No. 962)
2
Threat Assessment (Bulletin 1119)
7
The School Site Crisis Team…
13
School Crisis Team Tasks….
14
District Crisis Team Procedures….
15
General Steps in Crisis Intervention....
18
Initial Interview Protocol….
23
Triage and Assessment Chart….
25
Crisis Flow Chart….
26
The School Site Threat Assessment and Management Team…
27
General Steps in Threat Assessment and Management….
28
Reporting Emergency Information to Law Enforcement Personnel/School Police…
34
Flow Chart for Threat Assessment….
35
When a School Becomes a Crime Scene/The Role of Law Enforcement…
36
Death Notification.....
38
General Steps in Legal Reporting Procedures.....
39
Dealing with a Suicide or Suicide Attempts..…
41
Dealing with the News Media When a Crisis Occurs...
42
Language Needs/Cultural Awareness ...
44
Helping Children Understand the Terrorist Attacks of 9/11….
45
LAUSD Resource List....
47
Guidelines for Referrals Outside the Los Angeles Unified School District.....
49
Sample School Letters and Memos...
50
Notes….
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WHAT IS A CRISIS
1. A natural disaster,
for example, a fire or an earthquake
2. An accident on school grounds,
for example, a plane crashes on the playground during recess
3. An accident near school grounds,
for example, a tanker truck overturns on the freeway nearby and is
leaking gas
4. A violent incident in or near the school,
for example, a high school student shoots another on campus
5. A violent incident involving a student or staff member off school
grounds,
for example, a teacher is murdered by a family member
6. The suicide of a student or staff member,
for example, during the school year, a fifth-grader commits suicide by
taking pills
7. The suicide of a family member of a student or staff member,
for example, the brother of a student shoots himself
8. The accidental death of a student or staff member,
for example, an eighth grader drowns in an irrigation canal
9. The accidental death of a family member of a student or staff member,
for example, a teacher's daughter is killed in a car accident.
10.The terminal illness of a student or staff me,
for example, a second grade student dies of cancer during the school year
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SCHOOL SITE CRISIS TEAM
The chart below is a suggested list of crisis team positions that can be designated from
among existing local school staff. In addition to the person with the lead responsibility
for each function, consider selecting two alternates with similar capabilities in case the
lead person is not available when a crisis occurs. (Example: an alternate to the school
nurse should be someone who has had basic first aid and/or CPR training.) Positions and
responsibilities may vary or overlap according to the abilities and needs of school staff.
When the chart is completed at the beginning of each school year (October is the annual due
date), it should be distributed to all staff so that everyone will be aware of who is responsible for
specific crisis response functions. Provide staff with an updated list if personnel or designated
assignments change during the year.
POSITION
NAMES *
RESPONSIBILITY/FUNCTION
Incident Commander
(Usually the principal or designee)
Crisis Team Leader
Administrator(s)
School Counselor(s)
School Nurse
PSA Counselor
Psychiatric Social Worker
School Police Officer
Plant Manager
Cafeteria Manager
Community Liaison
Teacher Representative(s)
_________________________________________________
* Numbered (1,2,3) in the preferred order of lead person, first alternate, etc.
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SCHOOL CRISIS TEAM TASKS
The LAUSD Crisis intervention consists of a “two tier” system of response.
The school site crisis team provides the first level of response, assessing the
needs of the students and staff.
1. Assist teachers who have asked for help in talking with students.
2. Staff a crisis room for students to report to if needed.
3. Designate a room or area for staff and or parents.
4. Discuss the needs of the identified at-risk students and staff; plan
possible interventions.
5. Plan for comprehensive communication with parents.
6. Decide if any athletic contests or other scheduled events should
be canceled. Review the bell schedule for appropriateness.
7. Obtain pertinent information from the family contact person.
8. Plan support groups for at-risk students, if needed.
9. Plan a debriefing meeting for staff, to be held at the end of the
day.
10. Check in with one another for support.
11. If the local district crisis team is called to the school be prepared
to brief the District Crisis Team members and to provide them
with logistical support.
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DISTRICT CRISIS TEAM PROCEDURES
When the school site team, led by the principal or his/her designee, determines that
the crisis is beyond the experience and expertise of the school site team, the principal
must call the Local District Operations Coordinator to request further assistance.
LOCAL DISTRICT OPERATIONS COORDINATOR



Receives telephone call from Principal/designee requesting local District
Crisis Team assistance.
Obtains information regarding crisis
Contacts District Crisis Team Leader
LOCAL DISTRICT CRISIS TEAM LEADER




Requests information from the Principal/designee at school for factual
information
 Is the on-site team handling the situation?
 Are the services of the District Crisis Team needed?
Selects a member of District Crisis Team to assess situation at the school site
(becomes the point person)
 Point person reports back to the District Crisis Team Leader if District
Crisis Teams members are needed for crisis response at the school site
Contacts District team members as needed for crisis situation
Contacts Operation Administrator to apprise of the situation
LOCAL DISTRICT CRISIS TEAM POINT PERSON



Determines need for services
Reports back to the District Crisis Team Leader to contact other team
members needed for crisis situation
Point Person remains at school site and designates assignments as team
members arrive
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LOCAL DISTRICT CRISIS TEAM MEMBERS AT THE SCHOOL SITE


Check in at the Main Office
 Sign in and meet with the Point Person
 Obtain Bell Schedule, School map, Staff list (if appropriate)
 Report to assigned meeting area

Classroom interventions

Teacher interventions

Group/individual interventions (through referral process)

Parent interventions

Classified interventions
Meet as team at end of day to determine further services and notify Team
Leader
AT CLOSE OF CRISIS


District Crisis Team Leader completes Crisis/Threat Activity Report

Fax copy to Operation Administrator__________________________
Fax to Marleen Wong, Director of Crisis Counseling & Intervention Services
(213) 241-6816
See next page for Crisis/Threat Activity Report Form
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OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Crisis Counseling and Intervention Services
Crisis/Threat Assessment Activity Report
DISTRICT____________
Please provide the following information for each incident in which you were sent to a school
from July 1, 2004 through June 30, 2005.
Date of Report (not date of incident):
Name of Reporting Individual:
Title:
Name of School Where Crisis/Threat Occurred:
Date Incident Began:
Date Service Ended:
Total Days:
Brief Description of Crisis/Threat:
Brief Description of Services Provided:
Number of Crisis Team members Deployed to the School:
If Crisis Team deployed for more than one day, note the number of team members each day:
Please FAX the completed form to Marleen Wong, Director of Crisis Counseling and
Intervention Services at 213.241.6816(FAX). You may contact her at (213) 241-2174 if you have
questions.
Thank you for taking the time to complete this report and for your hard work, support, and
assistance throughout the year.
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GENERAL STEPS IN CRISIS INTERVENTION
The following steps are to be taken after the school has followed law enforcement and/or
safety procedures for responding to the immediate emergency. Within the sections
below, some steps may be taken concurrently or in a different order than shown,
depending on the circumstances.
I.
ASSESSMENT
A. Convene the local school crisis team.
B. Identify problem and determine degree of impact on school.
C. Determine whether additional support is needed and request it by contacting:
1. School Police and/or local law enforcement agency.
2. The Local District Operations Coordinator.
3. Other LAUSD staff: Mental Health Services, Suicide Prevention, etc.
II. COMMUNICATIONS
A. Administrator/designee/crisis team leader/incident commander should:
1. Review facts to determine what information can be shared and which
individuals or groups should receive the information. (Consider police
investigation parameters in making this determination.)
2. Contact family(ies) of victim(s) with sensitivity and in a timely manner.
(Personal contact by the school administrator is preferable. However, in
case of death, the first notification to parents or family is handled by law
enforcement personnel after law enforcement is informed officially by the
coroner's office.)
B. Develop and disseminate fact sheet (bilingual if needed) about the incident for:
1. Faculty and staff.
2. Students, as appropriate.
3. Parents.
C. Set up a status board/chart in or near main office or other appropriate location to
periodically update basic information given in printed fact sheets.
D. Plan other communication activities:
1. Informational meetings for faculty/staff.
2. Informational meetings for parents/community.
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E.
Keep the Office of Communications and/or the communications officer sent to
the school informed about on- and off-campus informational activities.
Because the Office of Communications will be a key resource for media,
provide the office copies (via fax) of any memos or letters the school
provides to staff, students, parents and community.
F.
Establish a system to monitor rumors and provide for rumor control.
1. As information is received, verify all facts heard and update fact sheet as
needed.
2. It is helpful to keep a radio and/or TV set in the administrator's office
and/or the designated incident command center tuned to one or more major
news stations. Encourage school-community liaison representatives to help
monitor broadcasts at home or office to keep the school informed about
inaccurate or false media reports so that misinformation being broadcast
can be corrected as soon as possible by the school or the Office of
Communications.
G. When an incident occurs, contact on-campus and directly adjacent school
programs (such as children's centers, continuation schools, adult schools), as
well as neighboring schools, to share information and determine further impact
on school-community for siblings, PWT students or others who could be
affected by the crisis. Such contacts can be made by phone, fax or in person.
III. PSYCHOLOGICAL FIRST AID/COUNSELING
A. Logistics – select likely locations in advance to be activated as needed for the
following functions, plus an alternate site for each if the first one is not
available or if more space is necessary. The advance list can be shared
with staff as part of a crisis readiness plan,
but the actual locations should be provided in a memo to staff as soon as it is
determined after a particular crisis or incident that counseling will be provided:
1.
Crisis counseling referral center
2.
Group counseling
3.
Individual counseling
4. Information and support center for parents
5. Support center for certificated and classified staff
6. Sign-in area for crisis team members
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7. News media briefing room or area (identify sites on campus and also just
outside campus gates or fences; remember to plan for small groups and for
larger groups of a dozen or more, including TV crews with cameras)
B. Student referrals for crisis intervention services:
1. Inform teachers of the process for referring students during class time.
2. Inform teachers of procedures for student self-referrals.
3. Select a crisis team member to staff each location.
4. Provide bilingual services as needed.
C. Affected students, staff and others:
1. Using triage method of risk screening (a process for determining who will
be treated first in an emergency), identify individuals at risk who may be in
need of intervention services (see factors in a. and b. below).
a. Risk factors by exposure/contact (in order of greatest risk):
1) Direct exposure – victims/witnesses/perpetrators/suspects.
2) On-site – students, faculty, staff, parents.
3) Off-campus – students/staff absent on day of incident.
4) Out-of-vicinity – ex: friends at other nearby schools.
b. Other risk factors:
1) Familiarity with victims.
2) Previous trauma or loss, especially during the past year.
3) Worry about safety of family member or significant other.
4) Family response psychopathology – family dysfunction.
4) Individual psychopathology – history of previous individual
dysfunction.
2.
IV.
Designated crisis team member(s) contact affected individuals and initiate
appropriate interventions, including:
a. Individual counseling.
b. Group counseling.
c. Staff meetings (include faculty and all staff)
d. Parent/community meetings.
e. Classroom activities/presentations/discussions.
f. Referrals to community agencies.
PHYSICAL, MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL CHANGES –
Post-Traumatic “Distress Signals”
Individuals – children, teens and adults – may experience and exhibit a wide
range of post-traumatic stress disorder reactions after a crisis or disaster.
Administrators, faculty and school staff should be aware that these changes are
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not unusual for anyone who has gone through or been affected by a crisis-type
event. These symptoms may be considered a normal response to an abnormal
event in the lives of students and staff.
A referral to a mental health professional for extended care and support should be
considered when symptoms persist after three months and if symptoms are
delayed and recur after six months.
Examples of some reactions are listed here:
A. Physical Changes






Pupils dilate
Saliva thickens
Startle responses increase
Eating patterns interrupted
Heart rate increases
Sleep patterns interrupted
(nightmares)
B. Mental Changes





Difficulty with memory
 Slower learning speed
Decreased computational skills
 Impaired decision-making skills
Decreased ability to analyze
 Decreased self-awareness
Difficulty following what is said or read
Intrusive thoughts and images of the event
C. Emotional Changes












Feelings of isolation
Developmental regression
Depressive feelings
Lack of enthusiasm*
Denial
Anger
Anxiety
Decreased intimacy
Lack of trust
Return to past hurts and trauma
Guilt
Fear
* Sometimes referred to as "anhedonia" – an inability to feel pleasure or happiness
for experiences that are ordinarily pleasurable.
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V. INCIDENT DEBRIEFINGS AND SUPPORT OF MENTAL HEALTH
INTERVENTIONS
A. A daily, mandatory factual debriefing for all members of school crisis team and
Local District crisis teams should cover the following:
1. Review actions of the day.
2. Identify weaknesses and strengths of crisis interventions.
3. Review status of referred students.
4. Prioritize intervention activities and personnel needed for the next day.
5. Plan follow-up actions.
B. Informational debriefing for school staff should be held daily or as needed to:
1. Review actions of the day.
2. Prioritize needs for the next day.
3. Plan follow-up actions.
C. Mental health interventions for students/staff/crisis counselors/others to help
them cope with what happened and give them a better understanding of their
thoughts and feelings (contact Mental Health Services for assistance, if
needed).
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INITIAL INTERVIEW PROTOCOL
I.
Factual Information
Where was s/he when the event occurred?
What was seen, heard and /or told to the child of the event?
How does s/he know the victims and others involved?
Has s/he had any previous experience with violent trauma, serious illness,
or sudden, unexpected loss?
II.
Subjective Response to the Event
How was s/he feeling just before the event?
What is his/her recall of the day?
What was the most disturbing moment?
What was the worst fear?
What keeps coming back to mind the most about what was seen, heard, and/or
told?
Does s/he have bad dreams? What kinds of things most remind him/her about
what happened? What kinds of things make him/her think it will happen
again?
III.
New Behaviors
What new fears does s/he have? (i.e. being alone, going to certain places,
going to
sleep, going to the bathroom alone, etc.)
Are there any new regressive behaviors?
Does s/he worry that something bad will happen to parents, siblings or self?
(Won’t let them out of sight, asks when they are coming back, talks about
steps to
protect them)
Are there avoidant behaviors? (i.e. won’t go near certain places or things)
Are there unusual aggressive behavior or misconduct?
Is there traumatic play? (Repetition of event or rescue theme)
IV.
New Concerns
What feeling doe the child say is the toughest to handle?
What concerns does the child have about how the parents or siblings are
reacting?
(e.g. Seeing them crying or anxious)
Is the child afraid to let the parents know how s/he is feeling for fear it would
upset or anger them?
Have there been changes in the child’s life or daily routine because of the
event?
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V.
Type of Grief Response
What thought or dreams does s/he have involving the victims?
If sad, what does the sadness make him/her think of?
If angry, what makes him/her angry?
What is his/her understanding of the physical reality of death?
VI.
Exploring Coping Responses
What thought or memories help him/her feel better?
What would help him/her feel better or safer right now?
Who are the people (friends, family members, teachers, clergy, etc.,) s/he can
Turn to when feeling badly?
What constructive action or activity have they taken or been involved in since
The tragic event?
VII.
Closing The Interview
Briefly review what the student has told you. (“Can I review what you’ve told
me? Tell me if I’ve heard you correctly.”)
Give the student your admiration and praise. (“I really admire you for being
able to share your experience with me. You are a very courageous person.
You’ve been through something that all people, adults and children, would
find difficult”)
Share your professional experience about expectable outcomes. (Describe the
range of normal somatic, cognitive and emotional responses to trauma, the
course of strength and duration of symptoms, the need for professional
assistance if symptoms persist in strength over time).
Identify helping professionals in the school should the student have questions
or want counseling. Share your schedule of availability, if appropriate
thank the student for his/her time and for permitting you to understand
more about what s/he has gone through in the aftermath of tragedy.
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CRISIS FLOW CHART
CRISIS OCCURS
AT THE SCHOOL SITE, the
Principal convenes the local school
crisis team
School Site Crisis Team
meets
School Site Crisis Team
provides intervention
If crisis is beyond expertise of
School Site team, Principal
contacts the LDOC
AT THE LOCAL DISTRICT LEVEL,
District Operations Coordinator convenes
Local District Crisis Team
Members of the
District Crisis Team
provide intervention at school site
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SCHOOL SITE THREAT ASSESSMENT AND MANAGEMENT TEAM
The School Site Threat Assessment and Management Team (TAMT) is comprised of 3
individuals from the school site crisis team:



Administrator (Principal, Assistant Principal or Designee)
Mental Health Professional (Psychiatric Social Worker, Pupil
Services and Attendance Counselor or School Psychologist trained in
threat assessment)
Law Enforcement Personnel (LAUSD School Police)
The latter two individuals may be school site employees or individuals accessed via the
Local District Operations Coordinator if no mental health professional or school police
officer is available to the school.
Utilizing your school crisis team chart (see page 10 of this Guide), designate from among
existing school staff, the three members of the threat assessment and management team.
As in the example below, one of the TAMT members serves as a case manager of all
actions taken, organizing and recording the steps to be taken for interviews, district and
community referrals, information gathering, follow-up, etc.,
POSITION
NAMES *
RESPONSIBILITY/FUNCTION
Incident Commander
(Usually the principal or designee)
Crisis Team Leader
Administrator(s)
Threat Assessment and Management
School Counselor(s)
School Nurse
PSA Counselor
Psychiatric Social Worker
Threat Assessment and Management
(Case Manager for TAMT)
School Police Officer
Threat Assessment and Management
Teacher Representative(s)
Plant Manager
Cafeteria Manager
Community
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GENERAL STEPS IN THREAT ASSESSMENT AND MANAGEMENT
Threat assessment and management is a systematic method of identifying, assessing
and managing a response to those who may have the desire, the motivation and the ability
to cause harm to persons within a school community. Threat assessment and
management can be a comprehensive and an effective approach that is usually within the
capability of school personnel to apply to a threat situation.
I.
BACKGROUND
While "school violence" and "youth violence" on or around school campuses have
decreased substantially from the levels of the early 1990s, a number of particularly
violent incidents have occurred in the past several years at schools throughout the
country. These incidents and threats of incidents, especially those involving firearms,
explosive devices and multiple fatal and non-fatal injuries, have prompted school
districts, law enforcement agencies and community leaders to explore how to counteract
such disastrous events, which can traumatize a school's students, staff, administrators and
parents for months or years.
Even with a greater focus on threat assessment and management as a potential protective
measure, it must be stated that this or any other method for gauging threats should be
considered an absolute or foolproof guarantee that an act of violence cannot or will not
occur on a school campus. An understanding of threat assessment and management as a
helpful tool and an investment of time in training sessions can have value in preparing
schools and their staffs to take action if a threat situation should arise.
II. THE PROCESS OF THREAT ASSESSMENT AND MANAGEMENT
The following steps are to be taken after a threat has been made at a school site. Within
the sections below, some steps may be taken concurrently or in a different order than
shown, depending on the circumstances.
A.
ASSESSMENT
l. Convene the Threat Assessment and Management Team, comprised of the
school site Administrator, Mental Health and Law Enforcement
Professionals. The latter two individuals may be school site employees,
such as a psychiatric social worker and school police officer or individuals
accessed via the local district operations coordinator.
2. Identify specific threat and determine degree of impact on the school.
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B.
3. Determine whether additional support is needed and request it if
appropriate.
a. Local District Operations Coordinator
b. Local Law enforcement agency such as LAPD
c. LA County Department of Mental Health – Psychiatric
Emergency Team
COMMUNICATIONS
Create a Threat Assessment Folder and write down all you know, in detail, about
the threat made by the student. Document all steps taken and date all materials
placed in the Threat Assessment folder.
Until such time as the assessment is completed, strict confidentiality about student
information should be kept among team members and appropriate district staff.
C.
ASSESSMENT PROTOCOL
1. Administrator/Threat Assessment Team leader should:
a. Determine which team member will be the case manager for this incident.
The Threat assessment case manager will be responsible for maintaining
the Threat Assessment folder and assigning responsibility for specific
tasks such as interviews, record review, resource referrals, and any other
tasks necessary for evaluation.
b. Review school history, including cumulative and health records
c. Interview all adults on campus who have had contact with the student
including: current and past teachers, counselor, psychologist, social
worker, School Police, office staff, etc.
1. Ask for all written materials and pictures from staff produced by the
student related to threats
2. Advise staff listed above to monitor student behavior
3. Advise staff of the need to keep information confidential
2.
Interview friends and associates of student and students who may have
been threatened.
a. Ask for all written materials and pictures from peers produced by the
student
related threats
b. Determine if the student has sent any threatening emails
c. Ask peers to share future concerns, written material, pictures or emails
produced by the student to the administrator in charge of the Threat
Assessment and Management Team
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3.
Interview the parents
a.
b.
c.
d.
4.
Interview the parents
a.
b.
5.
Get a universal release of information form signed (providing
school staff with the ability to share and receive information from
juvenile justice or mental health agencies
Get a psychosocial history of the student
Identify any new family or individual stressors, including changes
in the family, loss or separation, or violence at home or in the
neighborhood
Ask if the student or any member of the family is currently
receiving counseling or mental health services in the community
Ask if the student or any member of the family has an arrest record
or has been incarcerated
Ask if there are weapons in the home or if the student has access to
weapons from family or friends
Interview the student
a.
b.
c.
Get a psychosocial history from the student
Identify any new family or individual stressors, including changes
in the family, loss or separation, or violence at home or in the
neighborhood
Ask if there are weapons in the home or if the student has access to
weapons from family or friends
In the event of a Team decision that the student poses an imminent threat to self or
others: Call the LA County Psychiatric Mobile Response Team or SMART Team to
conduct a 5150 assessment for involuntary psychiatric hospitalization.
D. CASE MANAGER’S ROLE IN THREAT MANAGEMENT
The case manager will reconvene the Threat Assessment and Management Team
(TAMT) and serve as chairperson for the TAMT
1.
2.
3
Review all information from written material, art and interviews.
Determine what assistance or further evaluation the student needs.
Assign staff responsible for referrals to services.
Document Team recommendations in the Threat Assessment folder.
Determine what school or community services may assist the family
Assign staff responsible to assist the parents to make contacts with
resources.
Document Team recommendations in the Threat Assessment folder.
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4.
5.
E.
Schedule school or district evaluations, if appropriate, e.g., school
psychologist or IEP meeting.
Submit summary report to the Office of the Chief Operating Officer.
THREAT MANAGEMENT AS AN ONGOING PROCESS
The Threat Assessment and Management Team may need to be reconvened over
the course of a school year, as needed.


III.
If the student’s condition does not improve or worsens, or
If the student has been removed from the school for any reason and is returned
1.
The TAMT case manager will gather updated information about the
student’s treatment, probation or other follow-up services that the school
has recommended.
2.
Monitor the student and maintain open communication with staff,
students, school and community service providers.
A WORKING DESCRIPTION OF THE SCHOOL THREAT
ASSESSMENT AND MANAGEMENT UNIT OF THE SCHOOL
CRISIS TEAM (or THREAT ASSESSMENT AND MANAGEMENT
TEAM)
A. The Threat Assessment and Management Team will include specific members
of the school's crisis intervention team, as described in Bulletin 1119 (see p. 2 of
Bulletin 1119 in this Quick Reference Guide for the composition and
responsibilities of the unit). The unit will include at least one administrator, one
mental health professional (counselor, psychologist or psychiatric social
worker) and one school police officer.
B. The primary functions of the 3 member team are to:
1. Identify the type of threat and the individual(s) or group(s) making the
threat.
 What specific threat has been made: personal injury, death, vandalism,
arson, extortion, or other criminal act?
 Is a specific individual or group named as the target – teacher, student,
swim team, marching band, school newspaper staff, other?
 Is the individual or group making the threat identifiable in the threat
message? Or, has the threat been made anonymously?
(The remainder of this section applies to situations where a student is communicating a
threat. Obviously, different actions – including, perhaps, an appropriate response by
LAUSD school police or a local law enforcement personnel – may be required if the
Threat comes from an adult on campus, such as an employee or parent, or from someone
with no obvious or immediate connection to the school community.)
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2.
Assess the warning signs, risk factors, stabilizing factors and potential
precipitating events that could trigger the threat into action or help
diminish its substance, based on a review of relevant school records. (The
examples noted below are not meant to be all-inclusive.)
 Warning signs:
Verbal clues – threats, plans, recurrent suicide threats.
Bizarre thoughts – delusions, paranoia, hallucinations.
Behaviors – possession of weapons, setting fires, fighting, assault,
intimidating others, cruelty to animals.
Obsessions – perceived injustices, thoughts of death or violence,
grudges, resentments.
 Risk factors:
Family issues – domestic violence, child abuse, ineffective parenting.
Media violence – movies, TV news coverage or fictional drama of a
violent event, interactive computer games, rap or song
lyrics, etc.
Rejection, humiliation, prejudice – best friend or boyfriend/girlfriend
issues, perceived societal favoritism toward particular
racial group.
Victim of bullying.
Substance abuse – alcohol, street drugs, prescription drugs, over-thecounter medications.
Gun access – street purchase, home availability, burglary, theft.
 Precipitating (triggering) events:
Situational crisis – recent break-up with girlfriend/boyfriend, fight,
recent arrest or other negative contact with law
enforcement officer, failing grade or
worse-than-expected grade in class.
 Stabilizing factors:
Levels of support that could reduce the strength of the individual's
feelings of hostility – involvement of family,
friends, mentor, clergy, mental health counselor.
3.
Determine the category or level of risk for a particular point in time.
The five categories described by an LAPD psychologist cover a continuum
from imminent risk to moderate-to-low risk. The categories are:
 Category 1 – High violence potential; qualifies for immediate arrest or
hospitalization.
 Category 2 – High violence potential; does not qualify for arrest or
hospitalization.
 Category 3 – Insufficient evidence for violence potential; sufficient
evidence for the repetitive/intentional infliction of emotional
distress upon others.
 Category 4 – Insufficient evidence for violence potential; sufficient
evidence for the unintentional infliction of emotional distress
upon others.
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Category 5 – Insufficient evidence for violence potential; insufficient
evidence for emotional distress upon others.
In determining risk, remember:
 The clearer and more organized the threat message, the greater the
potential for following through on the threat, as compared to
communications that are chaotic and suggest that the one
communicating the threat is more likely to be acting impulsively at
that particular moment.
 The more consistently the theme of blame in the threat message is related
to specific significant areas of the communicator's life, the greater
the risk that the threat could be carried out.
4.
Make a recommendation to the site administrator, who will decide what
course of action to take. (Collaboration with Local District or LAUSD
Office of the Chief Operating Officer staff may be desirable or necessary at
an early stage, depending on the level of risk to other). Decisions made
and actions taken should result in:
 Contact with and/or apprehension of the person(s) who initiated and/or
who might carry out the threat.
 Warning and protection for the targeted victim(s) of the threat.
 Continuation of a safe school environment.
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REPORTING EMERGENCIES TO COMMUNITY LAW ENFORCEMENT
AGENCIES AND/OR LAUSD SCHOOL POLICE





For life-threatening emergencies, call 911 first – then call the School Police
Department Watch Commander at (213) 625-6631.
For serious incidents (i.e., battery against student or employee, school vandalism,
etc.), call the School Police Department Watch Commander at (213) 625-6631.
For routine follow-up reports on earlier incidents, call the School Police Area
Detective at (213) 742-8273.
Police Satellite Offices: Valley - (818) 893-6423; Westside - (310) 575-3202;
Harbor/South - (323) 569-6314 (no voice mail);
PROCEDURE WHEN CALLING:
1.
Identify yourself and your location. Give call-back numbers (office, cell, pager) where you
can be reached most easily.
2.
Summarize the nature of the problem or incident.
3.
Give the location of the problem or incident.
4.
Describe the person(s) or suspect(s) involved:

Identify student, staff member, non-student, parent, other.

Provide a physical description: male/female, ethnicity, age, height, weight, hair
color and style, color of eyes, clothing worn (color, hat, shoes, etc).

Other information (i.e., known or suspected gang affiliation).
5.
Describe weapon(s) involved, if any:
 Type.

Location (on person, in vehicle, etc.)

Manner used (threat, actual use, etc.)
6.
Describe method of transportation used by person(s) or suspect(s) involved:

Indicate car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, skateboard, skates, bus, etc.).

If motor vehicle, give color, year, make, model, license plate.

Indicate last known direction of travel.

Any other information (i.e., number of persons in car).

7.
Request medical assistance, if needed (note if already requested through 911)
8.
Tell School Police Department if another law enforcement agency has also been contacted.
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WHEN A SCHOOL BECOMES A CRIME SCENE /
THE ROLE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL
The goals of law enforcement personnel are to stop criminal acts, to apprehend suspects,
to assist victims and to collect and preserve evidence. When a criminal act occurs or is
suspected on a school campus or immediately outside the perimeter of a campus, police
may designate all or a portion of the campus as a "crime scene" from which evidence
must be sought, gathered and properly stored for further use during an investigation or a
legal proceeding.
School administrators and staff should not enter a marked or otherwise identified crime
scene area or interfere with a police investigation. Likewise, students, parents and
community members must not be allowed to enter, interfere with or "contaminate" a
crime scene. Persons not authorized to be within an identified crime scene are
themselves subject to arrest.
1.
Law enforcement personnel will establish a "crime scene" under the following
conditions:
 Murder or suicide.
 Death due to suspicious circumstances.
 When the victim of a crime may possibly die.
 For serious crimes with or without injuries to students, staff or others (crimes
including but not limited to vandalism, burglary, arson).
2.
Only authorized law enforcement and fire department personnel are allowed inside a
designated crime scene area.
3.
The first police officer(s) to arrive on scene will have specific duties to perform to
ensure the protection of the crime scene and to make sure that the crime is
investigated properly. If officers seem impatient or abrupt toward staff, it is likely
due to their attention to these necessary tasks. Despite the sometimes chaotic nature
that characterizes many crises, the police must be permitted to do their jobs
according to established procedures.
4.
A sergeant and/or police officer will serve as the liaison with the school's
administration.
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5.
6.
-36Depending on the size and the nature of the crime scene, the law enforcement
officer in charge will determine if and when crisis team members or other
support personnel from outside the school can enter the campus to begin their
intervention assessments and follow-up activities. It would thus be useful for school
site crisis teams to identify in advance one or two adjacent or nearby off-campus
locations that could be used on a temporary basis by other crisis team and support
personnel to check in and establish contact with school site staff until access to the
campus is allowed.
School administrators may be asked to provide one or more on-campus locations to
isolate witnesses for questioning by law enforcement personnel. Keeping witnesses
apart helps to preserve the integrity, clarity and objectivity of each person's account.
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DEATH NOTIFICATION
The difficult task of delivering death notifications to next-of-kin is the responsibility
of law enforcement personnel, who have been provided with the training and resources
necessary to carry out such notifications.
If a death has occurred on campus and a member(s) of the victim's family arrives at the
school prior to being notified of the death by law enforcement, the family member(s)
should be escorted to a private, comfortable setting until law enforcement personnel
arrive. If a member of the victim's family calls the school prior to notification by law
enforcement, he or she should be asked to come to the school.
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GENERAL STEPS IN LEGAL REPORTING PROCEDURES
I.
DUTY TO NOTIFY
While it is important to establish a trusting and supportive relationship with students
and their parents/guardians in order to provide an environment for effective
intervention after a crisis, it is also important for staff to remember that they have a
state-mandated legal duty to make a formal report in the following circumstances
(effective Jan. 1, 2001, the duty to report was extended to both certificated and
classified personnel):
CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS (under 18 years of age)
A. Abuse:
 Child reports directly that he/she has been abused.
 Staff member suspects from direct observation of child that child has been
abused.
 Staff member sees child being abused.
 Staff member, from other information received or conclusions drawn, has a
suspicion that child has been abused.
B. Harm to self:
 Child discloses that he/she is thinking of harming himself/herself.
 Another party discloses to staff member that child is thinking of harming
himself/ herself. (See Suicide Prevention Bulletin Z-36, March 31, 1998.)
C. Harm to another:
 Child indicates his/her intent to harm someone else and/or has been
involved in or witnessed a crime in which a person was harmed. (See
Reporting Procedures below.)
ADULT STUDENTS
A. Someone's life or physical safety is being threatened or an individual indicates
intent to harm self or others.
B. Staff member has observed or has knowledge of suspected child abuse by an
adult.
C. Staff member has knowledge of adult student's involvement in criminal activity.
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II. REPORTING AND NOTICATION PROCEDURES
When any of the above is indicated, a staff person must take immediate action
according to the district's reporting procedures. Notification of the school
administrator is optional when a report is made directly to a children's protective
services agency
A. Child Abuse
Report to appropriate children's protective services
agency
B. Suicidal Thoughts/Fantasies
 Children/adolescents Inform parent or legal guardian and provide referrals
to appropriate community mental health agencies.
 Adults
Contact a third party to assist in helping the adult
obtain mental health services; provide referrals to
appropriate community agencies.
C. Intent to Harm Another Contact intended victim to provide notification.*
D. Intent to Commit a
Contact appropriate law enforcement agency.
Crime
________________________________________________
*
If threat is credible and intended victim is:
 Student – school administrator brings student to safe site on campus and
notifies parent of threat; school police officer assistance in notification is
requested if needed.
 Faculty/Staff Member – intended victim is called to administrator's office
and is notified of threat; school police officer assistance is requested if
needed.
 Other (outside the school; i.e., non-student, local business owner, neighbor or
nearby property owner, student at another school) – School Police
Department assistance is requested; detective will determine course of action,
which could include contact with local law enforcement agency for
assistance in notification.
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DEALING WITH A SUICIDE OR SUICIDE ATTEMPT
Regardless of where and when a student makes an attempt or completes the act of
suicide, the school family can be greatly affected. You may call for assistance from the
Local District Operations Staff, District crisis team, and LAUSD School Police. Expect
increased attention from the larger school community during the days and weeks after a
suicide or suicide attempt. It may be necessary to collaborate with local law enforcement
agencies and other outside professionals.
Consult page 10 GENERAL STEPS IN CRISIS INTERVENTION (in this Quick
Reference Guide) and contact the LAUSD School Mental Health Coordinator for
additional guidance.
1.
Assess the impact and follow the crisis protocol outlined in the "General Steps in
Crisis Intervention" section of this Guide.
2. Remembrance activities. Avoid school-sponsored memorial assemblies,
dedications and plaques in memory of the victim; such activities tend to glorify or
romanticize the event or the circumstances of the individual who dies by suicide.
Appropriate activities might include donations from students, staff and/or parents to
the victim's family, a charity of the family's choice or a non-profit organization in
which the victim was involved or had expressed interest. Donations might also be
directed toward increased suicide prevention efforts or counseling programs at the
school.
3. Avoid references to blame. In answering the "Why?" questions that will likely be
posed by students, staff, parents and media, remember to emphasize that no one
person and no single incident can be held responsible or targeted for blame after a
suicide or a suicide attempt. The cause and the act of suicide are complex – they
cannot be simplified, justified or explained by blaming individuals, drugs, music, the
school, a boyfriend/girlfriend situation, a poor grade in a class, not making a sports
team, etc.
4. If you feel that certain students in your class may need more individual attention,
contact a member of your school site crisis team for assistance.
For assistance, contact the Local District Operations Coordinator.
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WORKING WITH THE NEWS MEDIA WHEN A CRISIS OCCURS
Office of Communications (213) 241-6766
News media reporters, photographers and camera crews may come to your campus, as
allowed by state law, to gather information for use as "news.” Media persons with
legitimate press passes can be on school property with the principal's (or designee's)
permission if they have checked in with the school office, stated the purpose of their visit
and agree to comply with reasonable "ground rules" set for them by the school. School
or law enforcement authorities can establish different ground rules in the aftermath
of a crisis than might be in place for a reporter's visit on a more routine story.
The media can be a quick and effective tool for providing post-crisis, emergency
information to parents and the community.
ADVANCE PREPARATION

Designate the most appropriate spokesperson for the school (principal and/or his
designee).

Identify a room or an area on campus (and one or two alternate locations) as a
place where news media can be briefed. Anticipate a large media presence after a
serious incident and pre-select your briefing area(s) accordingly.
WHEN A CRISIS OCCURS

After requesting appropriate assistance from 911, the School Police Department
or the Local District office, contact the Office of Communications, (213) 2416766, as soon as possible. Provide enough information to enable that office to be
in contact with the media and thus lessen the communications burden on the
school. A communications officer may be assigned to your school to assist with
media relations activities.

Write a brief fact sheet that can be used by persons answering the phone in the
school office when parents or news media call in the hours immediately following
an incident. The fact sheet can serve to confirm known facts (i.e., "Yes, we did
have an explosion in one of our science labs. Two students were injured and have
been taken to the hospital."), and use follow-up phrases such as: "We're still
checking the facts to find out exactly what happened.... The police are still
investigating.... Children are now back in their classes with their teachers....
Everyone followed the evacuation plan that we have practiced.... School will be
dismissed today at _____ instead of the usual time.... Parents with proper I.D. can
pick their children up at the Reunion Gate on the ____ side of the campus starting
at 1 p.m..... We will send a letter home to all parents....," etc.
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
Media should be referred to the designated media liaison or the Office of
Communications.

Before group media briefings or an interview with just one or two reporters, jot
down some basic chronological notes about the incident to use as your statement
of what happened. Make your statement before taking questions. Refer to your
notes, if necessary, when speaking to reporters or answering questions. Avoid
implications of "blame" or "responsibility" for an incident before the matter has
been fully investigated. Keep in mind what information about students or staff
can be provided to media and what, by law, must remain confidential.
POST CRISIS







Students and parents should be asked to refer media questions to the principal.
If a reporter wants to interview students on campus, the administrator (or media
liaison) should select student.
The liaison or another staff person should be present and should halt the interview
if questions to students become inappropriate.
On-campus interviews with elementary level students after a traumatic incident
are not recommended (a parent who is on campus that day may be willing to
permit an interview).
Students waiting to give witness statements to police or school staff should
not be permitted to speak with reporters first.
Media cannot enter classrooms to speak with students without specific permission
from the principal. Any interviews with or statements given by faculty members
should be voluntary and not conducted during class time.
Keep the Office of Communications staff (or the communications officer assigned
to your school that day) informed of new developments.
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LANGUAGE NEEDS / CULTURAL AWARENESS
When dealing with students and parents from other cultures after a school or community
crisis or disaster, it is very important to be sensitive to language and cultural needs.
Strong feelings or emotions are often expressed most effectively through the child or
adult’s primary language. Bilingual/bicultural personnel have a key role in providing
intervention and postvention services.
If staff persons with the needed language skills are not available at your school, contact
the Local District Office for assistance.
It is equally essential that school and support staffs are knowledgeable about and
sensitive to the values and beliefs of other cultures in order to assist in an appropriate
manner. In addition, school-site crisis team members and Local District crisis team
members should be aware of bilingual community resource agencies to which families
may be referred for further assistance.
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HELPING CHILDREN UNDERSTAND THE TERRORIST
ATTACKS
The terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. requires new thinking
about how our schools will respond to new threats. Over 1.2 million students in New
York City were eyewitnesses to the attacks and collapse of the Twin Towers. 8 schools
were in or near “Ground Zero” forcing 9,000 students and staff to evacuate under the
most trying and dangerous circumstances. The “War on Terrorism” declared by
President Bush after September 11, 2001 causes us to revise our Safe Schools Plans,
reviewing lockdown, evacuation and student/parent reunion procedures.
All Americans have been impacted by the events of 9/11 in a variety of ways. The Pew
Foundation conducted a nation wide survey during the two weeks following the attacks
and found that 72% of their respondents reported feeling depressed by the events of that
day. Senator Kennedy in a Senate Hearing conducted on September 26, 2001 called for
parents, teachers and other caretakers of children to be alert to the need for additional
support and possible mental health care for children and adults who had been
traumatized.
Several websites are presently available to help schools and school staffs, providing
resources for further help and guidance. The following online resources are just a few
among the best of those websites:
American Red Cross; publications tab, Community Disaster Education materials
“Terrorism: Preparing for the Unexpected”
“Helping Young Children Cope with Trauma”
Facing Fear curriculum
www.redcross.org
Center for Mental Health Services in the US Department of Health and Human Services,
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration
www.mentalhealth.org/cmhs/
Department of Health and Human Services; diseases & conditions, disasters &
emergencies
www.hhs.gov
Federal Emergency Management Agency; library section for preparation & prevention,
disasters & emergencies, response & recovery
“Helping Children Cope with Disaster”
“How the Public Can Help After A Disaster”
www.fema.gov
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Homeland Security; educating the public on citizen preparedness in case of a national
emergency
www.ready.gov
National Child Traumatic Stress Network
www.nctsnet.org
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
“Helping Families and Children Cope with this National Tragedy”
“Helping Children After a Disaster”
www.aacap.org/publications/factsfam/disaster.htm
U.S. Department of Education; do “terrorism” search, teachers
“Helping Children Understand the Terrorist Attacks”
www.ed.gob
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LAUSD RESOURCE LIST – 2004-2005
This list includes selected offices that can be helpful before, during and after a crisis. It is
not intended as a list of all possible District resources. When calling, briefly describe the
situation and ask to speak with someone who can assist you. If no one is available to
help at that moment, give the person taking your call a sense of the urgency of the matter,
and leave your name and one or more call-back numbers (office, cell phone, pager).
Remember that your first call in a life-threatening emergency should be to 911. To
reach specific personnel, refer to the Local Districts section of the most current Guide to
Schools and Offices.
Resource/Office
Telephone
Access (Psychiatric Mobile Response Team)
(800) 854-7771
Child Abuse Hotline
(800) 540-4000
Communications / Assistance with News Media
(213) 241-6766
Crisis Counseling and Intervention Services (district wide) (213) 241-2174
For Crisis and Threat Management Training
or (213) 742-8286
Emergency Services
(213) 241-3199
Employee Assistance Program
(866) 312-3077
Helpline for Teens (6:00 pm – 10 pm)
(800) TLC-TEEN
INFO Line (24 hour hotline)
(800) 339-6993
Local District Operations Coordinator(s)
Check Local District
Directory
Mental Health Services (district wide)
97th Street Clinic
Bell/Cudahy Clinic
Carson Family Center
Hyde Park
San Fernando Valley
San Pedro Clinic
Early Behavior Intervention Program
(213) 241-3841
(323)754-2856
(323) 869-1352
(310) 513-8070
(323) 750-5167
(818) 997-2640
(310) 832-7545
(213) 241-3858
Suicide Prevention Unit
(818) 705-7326
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Nursing Services (district wide)
District 1: Zelzah Site
District 2
District 3: La Brea Site
District 4: 17th St. Annex #B
District 5: Soto St. Annex
District 6: Hughes Satellite
District 7: Central West, La Brea Site
District 8: Gardena
(213) 763-8374
(818) 997-2633
(818) 755-5357
(323) 421-2960
(213) 763-8355
(323) 224-3370
(323) 560-4293
(323) 421-2931
(310) 354-3550
Psychological Services (district wide)
Central/West
East
North
South
(213) 241-8303
(323) 421-2825
(323) 932-2127
(818) 997-2398
(310) 354-3456
Pupil Services & Attendance (district wide)
Coordinators in each local district
(213) 241-3844
School Police Department
Chief
Watch Commander (24 hours)
(213) 742-8219
(213) 625-6631
Satellite Offices
Valley
Harbor(no voicemail)
Westside
(818) 893-6423
(323) 569-6314
(310) 575-3202
Translation Unit (language assistance)
(213) 241-5840
Youth Relations
(213) 745-1990
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DISTRICT GUIDELINES FOR REFERRALS OUTSIDE THE LAUSD
Before making a specific referral, it should be determined if the family is covered by a
health insurance plan. If so, parents can be directed to that plan's facility or providers
(Kaiser-Permanente, Blue Cross, HMO, etc.) for appropriate services.
For students or parents without insurance coverage, LAUSD personnel should provide a
list of three community agencies that accept Medi-Cal payment and/or use a sliding scale
of fees based on family income. These organizations are referred to as “public, nonprofit or non-proprietary" agencies (see page 51 for District form).
-49Office of the Chief Operating Officer
Crisis Counseling & Intervention Services
SAMPLE LETTERS AND MEMOS
Clear and appropriate communication with faculty, staff, students and parents during and
after a crisis will provide factual information to those who need it. This applies whether
the crisis involves only one student, several students, or becomes a matter of concern to
the entire school community. Good communication can also help to calm and
counterbalance the rumors, second-hand gossip and misinformation that almost inevitably
seem to follow such events.
This section provides samples adapted from letters and memos that schools have written,
used and found to be effective. Because no two situations are alike, we encourage you to
tailor the content to fit the circumstances of the specific crisis at your school. As the need
arises, administrators may want to collaborate with the Local District superintendent or
operations staff in the drafting of letters to parents or memos to staff. (NOTE: crisis
situations change rapidly, so it is useful to put not only the date but also the time on any
school memos written for faculty and staff.)
Sample 1
Letter to Parents
Referral to Community Health and Human Resources Agencies and
Services
Sample 2
Letter to Parents
Suicide Follow-up (secondary)
Sample 3
Memo to Faculty
Serious Injury to Staff Member
Sample 4
Memo to Faculty and Staff
Accidental Student Fatality
Sample 5
Memo to Faculty and Staff
Death of Staff Member (possible medical condition)
-50-
Office of the Chief Operating Officer
Crisis Counseling & Intervention Services
SAMPLE 1: Letter to Parents
Post-Crisis Referral to Community
Health and Human Resources Agencies and Services
(school letterhead)
(date)
Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s):
If you feel you need additional services for your child and/or your family in the aftermath
of the recent event(s) involving our school, we are providing the names of the agencies
listed below to assist you in locating appropriate low-cost health and human resources in
your neighborhood.
Our school and the Los Angeles Unified School District do not assume responsibility for
counseling, medical or other services provided by these agencies nor for any fees that
may be charged to you. Please note that the agencies listed here accept either Medi-Cal
or other health insurance plans and/or may charge a sliding scale fee.
AGENCY
NUMBER
ADDRESS
PHONE
1.
________________________________________________________________________
2.
________________________________________________________________________
3.
________________________________________________________________________
If you have any questions, please call (name and title)
at our school, (phone)
.
Sincerely,
-51Office of the Chief Operating Officer
Crisis Counseling & Intervention Services
(name and title)
SAMPLE 2: Letter to Parents – Suicide Follow-up (secondary)
(school letterhead)
(date)
Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s):
We have been informed that an 11th-grade student enrolled in our school apparently took
his own life on Sunday, (date)_____________ . The circumstances are still under
investigation by law enforcement personnel at this time.
After an incident of this kind, young people may need more support and attention than
usual from their parents and other adults. Counselors are on campus to help students,
faculty and parents deal with this tragic incident.
For your information, we are providing with this letter a list of "distress signals" (see
attached page). These are clues that are sometimes obvious and sometimes not easily
observable by family members, teachers or friends, through whom youngsters may reveal
their reaction to the physical, mental and emotional stress they are feeling after the death
of someone they know. These feelings are normal after a traumatic incident, and you
might want to remind your children, in an appropriate way, that special counselors are
available at school to help them.
If you are concerned that your child has been particularly affected by the loss of his/her
classmate in this manner, please feel free to contact our school at (phone)
_________________ .
Our school crisis team and other trained counselors are available to answer your
questions and to provide assistance.
Sincerely,
(name)
(title)
See next page --to be included with the letter
-52Office of the Chief Operating Officer
Crisis Counseling & Intervention Services
(Send with letter on previous page or for other traumatic circumstances)
PHYSICAL, MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL CHANGES
(Post-Traumatic "Distress Signals")
Individuals – children, teens and adults – may experience and exhibit a wide range of
post-traumatic stress disorder reactions after a crisis or disaster. Administrators, faculty
members, school staff and parents should be aware that these changes are not unusual for
anyone who has gone through or been affected by a crisis or traumatic event.
Your child may benefit from additional counseling and support if symptoms persist after
three months or if the symptoms are delayed and appear three to six months after the
crisis event.
Examples of some reactions are listed here:
Physical Changes




Easily startled
Increase anxiety
Heart rate increases
Sleep patterns interrupted

Change in eating patterns



Slower learning speed
Impaired decision-making skills
Decreased self-awareness
Mental Changes



Difficulty with memory
Decreased computational skills
Decreased ability to analyze
Emotional Changes







Feelings of isolation
 Bitterness
Developmental regression
 Decreased intimacy
Depression
 Lack of trust
Denial
 Guilt
Anger
 Fear of recurrence
Lack of enthusiasm for activities that were previously enjoyed
Return to past hurts and trauma
-53-
Office of the Chief Operating Officer
Crisis Counseling & Intervention Services
SAMPLE 3: Memo to Faculty – Serious Injury to Staff Member
(school memo format – not to be sent to parents or given to students or news media in
this form)
Date/Time:
To:
All Faculty
From:
(Principal or Crisis Team Leader)
Subj:
INJURY TO STAFF MEMBER
One of our teachers, (name)____________________ , was injured this morning in a
physical altercation with a disturbed individual that occurred just outside the faculty
parking lot at approximately (time)_______. Paramedics were called and arrived in less
than five minutes. I am glad to be able to report that (name)________ was conscious and
talking with police and paramedics. He was treated and taken to (hospital)__
_______________. We will let you know more about his condition as we receive further
information from the hospital.
The circumstances of the accident are under investigation by LAUSD police and local
law enforcement.
Although no students were injured or directly involved in the incident, some of them may be
upset by having witnessed this confrontation. We ask that you keep your students in their current
classrooms until further notice. We will update you as soon as possible as to any schedule
changes for the rest of the day. Counseling support services will be made available later today to
any staff members or students who may be in need of such assistance.
It is likely that I will schedule a brief mandatory staff meeting after school today. I will
let you know as quickly as possible with a follow-up memo. Your cooperation and
understanding at this difficult time is much appreciated.
This incident serves as a reminder to all of us about the importance of being vigilant and
alert to the presence of strangers or persons acting strangely near our campus.
-54-
Office of the Chief Operating Officer
Crisis Counseling & Intervention Services
SAMPLE 4:
Memo to Faculty and Staff – Accidental Student
Fatality
(school memo format – not to be sent to parents or given to students or news media in
this form)
Date/Time:
To:
All Faculty and Staff
From:
(Principal)
Subj:
STUDENT FATALITY
On (day and date)__________ at about (time)_______, one of our students was hit by a
vehicle at the intersection of (street names)________and ___________. Apparently a car
ran a red light and hit the student, who was in the crosswalk at the time. Our school
nurse learned from the hospital that the student died at approximately (time and
day)________.
While the matter is still under investigation, it is my understanding at this time that the
driver did not initially stop after the accident, but returned 30 minutes later and turned
himself in to police.
Since the accident happened close to school, a number of young people, including one
busload of students leaving our campus after school, witnessed the incident. We will all
need to be particularly sensitive and compassionate today and in the days to come as
more students at our school learn about and react to the death of their classmate. Our
school crisis team has been activated, and I have also arranged for additional crisis
counselors to be here starting (date)____ ___________ and continuing as needed.
This morning, I will meet the students on route #______ when the bus arrives and escort
them to the library, which will serve as our crisis center. Crisis intervention counselors
will also go to (student's name)___________ classroom to assist the teacher as she
informs them of the accident and the tragic result. This will help us to determine what
services we may need to provide. Additional counselors will be sent out to classrooms
and made available to individual students and/or staff as needed. Enclosed are some
special passes to be used to send students to the library if you should need to do so during
class time.
Information regarding funeral arrangements will be provided when it is available.
-55Office of the Chief Operating Officer
Crisis Counseling & Intervention Services
SAMPLE 5:
Memo to Faculty – Death of Staff Member (possible
medical condition)
(school memo format – not to be sent to parents or given to students or news media in this form)
Date/Time:
To:
All Faculty and Staff
From:
(Principal)
Subject:
DEATH OF (name)_______________
This is one of the most difficult memos I've had to write in all my years as an
administrator.
Yesterday afternoon at approximately (time)_______, (name)______________ collapsed
in the (location on campus)__________________. Paramedics were called immediately
by (name)__ _________ and CPR was administered by (name)______________, assisted
by our school nurse. The paramedic ambulance from our local fire station was here in
about four minutes from the time of our 911 call. (name)_________ was rushed to
(hospital)________, where she was placed in the Intensive Care Unit. We have been
informed that she died late yesterday evening at about (time)__. As of this morning, the
specific cause of death had not yet been determined.
You might appreciate knowing that (name)_______________ accompanied
(name)__________ to the hospital in the ambulance with the permission of the
paramedics and remained there until members of her family arrived.
I will, of course, be in contact with the family today or tomorrow to express our school's
condolences and to obtain information concerning funeral arrangements and memorial
services.
It is very difficult for all of us to lose a friend, colleague and teacher who has been at this
school for more than _______ years. Our school crisis team is available to faculty and
staff in the (location)___________ and to students in the (location)_________. Please
send any students needing counseling with a pass, if they request assistance during class
time.
If you would like to speak with someone about appropriate ways to discuss this situation
in class with your students, members of the crisis team are available to assist you.
Contact the main office and help will be sent immediately.
My gratitude goes to all staff members who tried to be helpful in this situation. Your
courage and assistance are sincerely appreciated not only by your colleagues, and me but
I'm certain by (name)____ _____'s family, as well. We are very fortunate to have you as
members of the (school name)___ team and to know that we can count on you. There
will be a brief mandatory faculty meeting after school today in the (location)________.
Office of the Chief Operating Officer
Crisis Counseling & Intervention Services
NOTES
-57Office of the Chief Operating Officer
Crisis Counseling & Intervention Services
NOTES
-58Office of the Chief Operating Officer
Crisis Counseling & Intervention Services
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