Static is not a word that describes the Horace Mann Middle School Crisis Plan; proactive and evolving are more accurate.
“We keep our eyes and ears open and constantly review our crisis plan, its processes and update it to reflect current problems,” says Russ Groblewski, principal of the school in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin.
For instance, when word got around that students were playing the so-called choking game—the self-asphyxiation activity that can have grave consequences—the Building Consultation Team immediately convened to address the problem. Further, the school supports its crisis team with ad hoc committees that respond to specific problems or situations; this decentralized process allows the school to tackle challenges quickly, says Groblewski.
This mindset also extends to suicide prevention.
When students exhibit suicidal tendencies, Horace Mann acts decisively to engage appropriate community partners including police if a youngster in imminent danger requires emergency hospitalization.
“Suicide is not an issue we take lightly. We never underestimate a statement that a student makes,” says Groblewski. “We have a culture here of reporting self-inflicted cuts and other dangerous behavior to parents and the appropriate agencies.”
In fact, the school creates highly individualized plans for students deemed suicidal and communicates the plan to appropriate staff on a need-to-know basis. “Responding to a crisis is not one person’s responsibility here, it’s everybody’s responsibility,” adds Groblewsi.