School Business Affairs July-August 2019

20 JULY/AUGUST 2019 | SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS PROMOTING WELLNESS Stop the Violence Before It Starts Communication and relationship building are critical to preventing a crisis on campus. By Simon Kemp A student disturbance breaks out at a school. Angry words are spoken, tensions flare, and the situation escalates into a physical alterca- tion. Administrators and school resource offi- cers who step in to break up the fight wonder what they could have done to avert the situation. Although school districts are focusing more resources on training educators to handle crisis situations, having to deescalate a situation means a missed opportunity to prevent it. Many crisis intervention training models fail to address the root causes of conflict. These models trap educators in a cycle of deescalating crises instead of teaching them how to prevent conflict in the first place. These reactive training programs have several features: • A behavior plan. Addressing student behaviors with- out building basic, foundational relationships with students will not prevent conflict. Students need to feel trusted. • Restraint without prevention techniques. Physical restraint should always be the last resort. Even when used, it should be the least restrictive possible option. Physical restraint should be used only when the person poses a clear threat of substantial harm to self or oth- ers. Excessive use of physical force can damage rela- tionships with students and lead to a cycle of conflict. LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/STOCK.ADOBE.COM