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Crisis proceedures

(A) The telephone contact tree – see Supplementary Handbook



  1. To ensure that the physical, emotional and mental safety of students and staff is assured at all times (both within the classroom and the grounds).
  2. To ensure that all staff act in a consistent manner to maintain safety for all.
  3. To ensure that situations are handled in such a way that the best possible management occurs at all times.


  1. The first staff member arriving at a situation where a student has been physically injured, is emotionally distressed or is in some other way at risk (eg of self-harm or harming others) will remain on the scene to manage the situation. If assistance is required, they should send another person/student for help, usually to the Main Office.
    REMEMBER - the messenger must be told to state clearly what has happened (“an accident”, “a student very upset”, “a fight” etc) and where in order for appropriate help to arrive.
  2. Ensure the distressed person is as safe as possible. Try to ensure basic safety and comfort without putting yourself (or others) at risk.
    You need to know some basic first aid - how to maintain an airway, stem bleeding, the recovery position, and that it is important not to move an injured person.
  3. The Main Office will activate the help needed by way of:
    Either :
    1. Cellphone calls to - The two DPs, Head of Student Support, the Principal And/or
    2. Activating an identified first aider And/or
    3. Activating staff to assist (usually from the staff room)
  4. No staff member at the scene of an incident should leave the scene until a formal hand-over has occurred to another staff member who will manage the situation. This formal hand-over must be clear and verbal, and the new manager of the situation must have stated that they no longer need you to stay, nor to undertake any further tasks.
    The maintenance of the safety of all members of the school community over-rides all other routine activities.
  5. The first aid assistant in consultation with the DP ic of emergency procedures will assess what further help or involvement is needed (ambulance, police, notification of train control, other staff) and either contact these or ensure they are contacted (either directly or via the Main Office).
    The DP then instructs others what to do, and these instructions are non-negotiable.
    The school’s Main Office must be kept informed if further help (ambulance, police) is needed or has been sent for, in order that they may continue to inform others who need to know (Principal, DP’s, AP’s etc)
  6. The DP makes all decisions relating to the incident, including who accompanies the student (in ambulance, police car etc).
  7. On the instruction of the DP, the receptionist in the Main Office (or someone to whom they delegate the task) will contact parents if instructed. They will inform parents of the situation, the measures being taken at school, but not of the details.
    In essence, the parents of any student who goes off-site as part of such an incident must be informed.
  8. The safety and well-being of those associated with the incident (onlookers, friends, staff) must also be considered. This may mean the involvement of other staff (usually from the Student Support centre) who ensure the immediate emotional and mental health needs of all are met in a manner that will reduce trauma, short- and long-term.
  9. After the incident, formal debriefing should occur in a manner appropriate to the incident, the participants and its scale.
  10. In order to maintain student safety, no student will be released from class to accompany an adult other than a staff member. This means if anyone appears at a classroom wishing to remove a student, they must be sent to the Main Office, and a senior staff member will decide whether or not the student can be collected from class. Formal sign-out then occurs.


  • Try to disperse unassociated onlookers
  • Take all incidents seriously

This means that if a student is emotionally distressed, or making any remarks that indicate thoughts of self harm or harming others, the student must be stayed with (or tracked if they move), it must be reported ( to DP’s or to Director of Student Support) and followed up.

  • If a student has a moderate to serious injury, it should be dealt with at the scene. Any additional necessary first aid, equipment or help should be sent for.


  • Send only one accompanying student to the Main Office with a slightly injured or ill student.

Please note that the sickbay is a place for students who are not well enough to be in class. Students should basically only need observation for some 10-15 minutes, and then be able to return to class. If they are too unwell for this, they should generally be sent home (as decided in consultation with office staff).


Common signs of distress which school staff will notice which should be checked by a counsellor are:

Unexpected reduction of academic performance eg:

  • unusual failure to complete assignments, apathetic in class, has recently received a very much lower than expected grade
  • extremely disappointed at being rejected for a course
  • demonstrates abrupt changes in attendance, such as increased absences, tardiness or truancy

Ideas and themes of depression, death, suicide eg:

  • reading selections, written essays, conversation, and artwork containing themes of depression, death and suicide
  • statements or suggestions that s/he would not be missed if they were gone
  • appears to collect and discuss information on suicide methods
  • begins giving away prized possessions (possibly with some elevation in mood)
  • has demonstrated previous direct or indirect suicide threats or attempts

Change in mood eg:

  • withdrawal, sudden tearfulness, and remarks which indicate profound unhappiness, despair, hopelessness, helplessness
  • anger at self, increased irritability, moodiness, and aggressiveness
  • lack of interest in surroundings and activities and marked emotional instability

Grief about a significant loss eg:

  • stress due to the disintegration of their family
  • recent death or suicide in the family, or has lost a friend through death or suicide
  • break-up with a boyfriend or girlfriend
  • close friend has moved away

Withdrawal from relationships eg:

  • change in relationships with friends or classmates
  • loses interest in extra-curricular activities and may drop out of sports and other clubs
  • begins to spend long periods of time alone

Physical disturbances with emotional causes eg:

  • eating disturbances (and consequent noticeable loss or gain of weight)
  • chronic physical complaints, such as headaches, stomach aches, fatigue, body aches
  • scratching and marking of the body, or other self destructive acts
  • reduced personal hygiene and self-care

High risk behaviours eg:

  • increased use of alcohol and drugs to the point of being “wasted”
  • engages in other risky behaviours (eg dangerous driving, playing with guns).