The Case Study of Soren
1. Define the problem (from student’s perspective) 2. Ensure safety (including assessing potential for self-harm) 3. Provide support 4. Examine alternatives 5. Make a plan 6. Obtain a commitment (including no-harm agreement where applicable) Tragedy struck a small west Texas town Saturday when beloved Lubbock Christian School (LCU) superintendent, Peter Dahlstrom, accidentally shot and killed his nine year old granddaughter, Soren, while rabbit hunting on the family farm. The entire community has been shocked by this tragedy and the effects of the incident will be felt in the community for some time.
Many people in the community will benefit from crisis intervention techniques during this time. I have applied Robinson’s Crisis Response Model for successful crisis intervention to develop a plan of action to help teachers, students, and faculty through this difficult time. The model suggests the following six steps: 1) Define the problem; 2) Ensure safety, including assessing potential for self-harm; 3) Provide support; 4) Examine alternatives; 5) Make a plan; and 6) Obtain a commitment, including a no-harm agreement where applicable.
The first phase of the crisis intervention plan is to inform as many people of the issue as quickly as possible. To quickly reach as many people as possible, the crisis team sent out an email to inform parents as immediately after the accident occurred. It would be best if the children are not blind-sided by the information at school on Monday morning. I expect several of the students and faculty members to go through the 5 classic stages of grief identified by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (1969), which are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Sometimes this can be a slow process, so I think some students and teachers will require on-going help to process this tragic loss of life. My plan involves the following crisis intervention steps: 1. Have a Staff Pre-meeting first thing Monday morning: a. Invite all the staff who feels affected by the crisis. I feel it is important to include part-time teachers, bus drivers, playground supervisors, janitors, secretaries, and any other workers who would like to join. b. Keep communications open and give facts on the situation, as appropriate within the bounds of confidentiality.
Prepare a handout for staff not in attendance. c. Share reactions and feelings with one another, taking time for mutual support. The school crisis team shares information on grief, and answers the questions and concerns of the staff. d. Give a plan for the day that has been prepared by the crisis team. 2. Prior to the first active school day How to tell Students e. Decide which students are to be told. f. Confirm what information they will be told. g. Decide who will tell the students. h. Outline the procedures for how they will be told. i.
Discuss how they may react and what to do. 3. The Debriefing Meeting: A meeting with staff at the end of the day to discuss how the day went for both students and staff. 4. Activities to Discourage: Large assemblies or public address announcements – these make it difficult to provide support to students on an individual basis. When he Lubbock Christian School community mourned the loss of a student and the pain of their leader. “This is a great tragedy for our school,” said Brian Pitaniello, chairman of the Lubbock Christian School’s Board of Trustees.
Pitaniello said Peter Dahlstrom has worked as superintendent of the school for 17 years. “He is a spiritual leader for our school; he loves our kids,” he said. Hundreds of students, teachers parents and friends of the Dahlstroms gathered for a student-organized prayer vigil in honor of the family Saturday morning in the school’s auditorium. “That just shows the impact this family had on our school,” Pitaniello said. “This school and this community loves this were answered by a family friend who said the family did not wish to speak with the media. family. and our heart breaks for this family.
We hurt for her family for a loss of a child as well as for the loss of a classmate and the loss of a student. ” School administrators sent an email to parents early Saturday informing them of the incident. Parents were told grief counselors would be available for students. Parents of third-graders were urged to meet with a children’s grief counselor at 8 a. m. Monday morning at the school to help mothers and fathers feel more confident in talking with their children about the tragedy. Classes were expected to go on as scheduled Monday. Phone calls to the Dahlstrom house in Anton . k. Student and staff contact with the media while at school – media contacts can be disruptive and sometimes insensitive. Direct all media to the public information officer or representative. l. Removing belongings of the deceased- this is best done gradually and can include family members and friends. Having concrete reminders in the classroom can help teachers and students let go gradually. m. Staying rigid with regard to curriculum and scheduling – reactions will vary, from needing flexibility to needing structure. Decisions must be made on an individual basis. n.
Not communicating with students, staff, parents and community on unfolding events. o. Treating the death of students differently because of status or community position, etc. 5. Safety Valves p. Make sure there are enough staff and school crisis team members to support all who may need it. It’s much better to have more than you need, than to need, more than you have. q. Designate a safe room for anyone wanting a place to go to, if needed. Make sure everyone knows its purpose and location. r. Hold a debriefing meeting at the end of the day to give people a place to process the day and receive support and validation. bnnhb