Crisis Response to Trauma in Schools after the Homicide of a Classmate
Margaret O’Donoghue, LCSW, Ph.D.More Info
When and Where
Date and Time
Access virtually on TPN.health
This workshop will focus on trauma emanating from the homicides of children and teens both inside and outside of schools with a focus on practical steps for school mental health personnel to respond in the immediate aftermath and plan for ongoing intervention. Trauma affects children in many ways. It affects the developing nervous system and causes anxiety and terror, even in infants. It creates hypervigilance, dissociation, lack of empathy, and depression. In classrooms, it can manifest as underachievement, hyperactivity, and aggression. It can paralyze communities. When it comes to trauma responses in schools after student deaths (homicide, not suicide), social workers and counselors are often left floundering. Lack of training and resources, and administrative unresponsiveness (local and state) often coalesce at this point of grief when schools face the deaths of students. There are practical aspects and ethical issues to consider. Also of importance is how to prepare for vicarious trauma in school personnel. The day after a traumatic event, surviving students, no matter how disconnected they are from the academic demands of the school environment, want to connect with their school communities. This presentation will utilize case studies, the presenter’s and attendees’ experiences, research, and practical strategies to provide participants with a space to learn about this difficult topic.
At the end of this session, attendees will be able to:
1. Identify practical strategies that schools need to utilize in responding to traumatized students after the homicide of a classmate.
2. Explain how cultural, racial, and socio-economic issues impact children, communities, schools, and clinicians when a student dies due to a homicide.
3. Define ethical implications, including confidentiality, social media, and working with both families of victims and perpetrators.
4. Explain the need for self-care for social workers and mental health professionals working in school districts where there have been homicides and methods to avoid vicarious trauma.