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Herkimer BOCES Health and Safety Service helps local school districts organize, practice crisis response plans
June 28, 2017




Crisis response meeting
Members of local schools’ crisis response teams go through how they would respond to emergency scenarios during a meeting arranged by the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Health and Safety Service on May 11 at Herkimer BOCES.



Members of local school crisis response teams recently gathered at Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES to align their plans, discuss best practices and work through how they would handle some scenarios such as a student death or an active shooter.

Participant Jessica Cooper, a school counselor at Mount Markham, said she thinks such meetings and practice are very important.

“Crises are out of control, so you have to try in a controlled setting to think about options A and B. When you’re in a real crisis, you have to think about all these options,” she said. “It helps normalize crisis, so you’re not in a panic.”

The Herkimer BOCES Health and Safety Service arranged for the meeting on May 11 at Herkimer BOCES with members of crisis response teams from Herkimer BOCES and several component school districts.

“When a crisis happens, it’s going to happen whether you’re prepared or not,” Herkimer BOCES Health and Safety Service Coordinator Adam Hutchinson said.

At the meeting, Sue Cooper, child life specialist and Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES crisis consultant, and Paul Dischiavo, a school social worker at Sauquoit Valley, presented to the crisis team representatives in attendance and shared an example crisis response plan.

“We like them all to be on the same page for crisis response plans, so one school can respond if another school needs them,” Sue Cooper said.

Dischiavo said he and Sue Cooper work with the districts to align their response plans, although districts are able to formulate their own variations.

“We basically give them all the ingredients,” he said. “We want to make sure everyone has a crisis response plan that works for them.”

Dischiavo said being in the middle of a crisis can feel like “the worst feeling in the world,” so having a plan to follow is very beneficial.

“Having a process is key,” he said.

Sue Cooper agreed.

“The nature of crisis is chaos,” she said. “Our target today is to discuss; think about it.”

Frankfort-Schuyler Superintendent Bob Reina said it’s important that schools in the Herkimer BOCES region be on the same page with crisis response plans and practice how to respond.

“We need to do it,” he said.

Jessica Cooper said the exercises help you practice how to have control in a crisis and be flexible.

“You have to do a lot of these to keep yourself up to date – kind of like a fire drill,” she said.




Crisis response meeting
From left, Sue Cooper, child life specialist and Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES crisis consultant, and Paul Dischiavo, a school social worker at Sauquoit Valley, look on as Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Health and Safety Service Coordinator Adam Hutchinson speaks to members of local schools’ crisis response teams on May 11 at Herkimer BOCES.


Crisis response meeting
Members of local schools’ crisis response teams listen to a presentation during a meeting arranged by the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Health and Safety Service on May 11 at Herkimer BOCES.


Crisis response meeting
Sue Cooper, child life specialist and Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES crisis consultant, speaks to members of local schools’ crisis response teams on May 11 at Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES, Paul Dischiavo, a school social worker at Sauquoit Valley, looks on.


Adam Hutchinson speaks at crisis response meeting
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Health and Safety Service Coordinator Adam Hutchinson speaks to members of local schools’ crisis response teams on May 11 at Herkimer BOCES.



Guest speakers talking at crisis response meeting
Paul Dischiavo, a school social worker at Sauquoit Valley, speaks to members of local schools’ crisis response teams on May 11 at Herkimer BOCES.








 
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