Schools prepare to handle possible crisis

Surveillance cameras, deputies on campus and electronic locks will all help to prevent a major crisis from occurring within the Carson City School District.

But there are no guarantees.

Despite efforts made by school officials to tighten security and increase safety, the possibility still remains that something could go wrong.

In case it does, the district has assembled a team made up of school counselors, psychologists and other members of the community to provide counseling and comfort.

"We wanted to make sure we had a team of people who could help those involved come back to normalcy," said Superintendent Jim Parry. "It's a component of our safety plan."

Parry said the Critical Incident Stress Management Team will counsel students and teachers involved an anything ranging from the death of a classmate or teacher to a suicide to a school shooting.

"It provides psychological first aid," said Keith Croskery, a school psychologist and team coordinator. "Research has shown if it is provided, it reduces burn-out rate, suicide attempts and alcohol and drug addiction."

The team can also be called to assist in dealing with tragedies in the community at a local, regional and national level.

"We would involve ourselves whenever called upon," Parry said. "It can be used for any and all human catastrophes."

Bob Shaw, who runs the crane operation for Carson City's Shaw Construction, lost his arm on Nov. 11 when a piece of crane equipment used to lift a cement wall malfunctioned at a Reno construction site.

"It was a pretty traumatic event," said Dan Rikalo, the sales manager of the crane department.

Rikalo called in the management team to work with members of the construction crew.

"We were able to sit down and discuss what happened in a pretty much open conversation," Rikalo said. "It was very helpful when you have something like that. I can't say enough good about them."

The team is part of the Safer Schools project which is partially funded through Project Impact, a federal program to help make communities more disaster prepared. The school district received $90,000 from Carson City's $300,000 Project Impact grant.

The district will use $45,000 to print spiral-bound booklets to send home to parents next year detailing how schools will respond to a wide variety of calamities. The remaining $45,000 will pay for emergency crisis kits for each classroom.


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