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Schools and Crisis: Selected Resources

September 19, 2001 3 min read

This list of resources intends to provide help for schools and parents struggling to cope with the tragic events of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Resources for Educators States Thrown for a Loop by Acts of Terrorism Crisis Shelves President's Focus on Education D.C. Teachers, Students Die in Pentagon Crash Schools for Military, Diplomatic Offspring Tighten Security Fearing Potential for Backlash, Islamic Schools Step Up Security 'Oh My God, I Can't Believe This' Schools Struggle With What to Tell Students About a Day of Terror On Disaster's Doorstep, Schools Strain to Cope As Crisis Unfolds, Educators Balance Intricate Demands


“Some Therapists Caution That Trauma Services Could Backfire,”The New York Times, Sept. 16, 2001.

The National Education Association posts resources in their “Crisis Communications Guide and Toolkit.” Contents include:

The National Mental Health Association posts this reaction statement to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The National Association of School Psychologists posts this list of resources relating to how children experience disasters and crises and what parents and school personnel can do to help. Among other materials, read:

“Helping Your Child Deal With a Terrorist Tragedy,” from KidsHealth, advises parents to maintain normal family routines even in the face of tragedy. “Anxiety is ‘contagious,’” says KidsHealth. “It will be helpful for your child to see that your world, and theirs, are not in chaos.”

TimeforKids lists resources for teachers, including:

  • “Coping With Stress”;
  • “Talking With Kids”—"The best overall strategy is to do two things simultaneously: acknowledge their fear while simultaneously reassuring them. ..."; and
  • Teacher Resources, where teacher readers write in with their suggestions and coping strategies.

“Coping With Death and Grief,” a collection of resources for parents, teachers and community members from Connect for Kids. Among other resources on offer are “Strategies for Parents and Teachers,” and “Zero to Three: How to Discuss Terrorism with Young Children.”

“Any time that a child is motivated enough to ask a question, it is an opportunity for us to take advantage of a teachable moment,” says James Madison University’s Dr. Lennis G. Echterling in “How to Talk to Children About the Threat of Biological Warfare or Terrorist Attack,” posted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Also from FEMA, How to Help Children After a Disaster: A Guidebook for Teachers (requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader).

“Coping With Trauma,” from, reprinted from the November 1999 issue of Child Magazine.

Fred Rogers offers some tips on how to help children deal with events they see on the news that are scary and hard to understand.

From Sesame Street Parents and the CTW Family Workshop, “Tragic Times, Healing Words,” a special on helping children cope with disaster.

“A Practical Guide for Crisis Response in Our Schools, Fourth Edition,” from The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, establishes guidelines for parents and teachers for crisis response. Included in the edition are “Responding to a Crisis Situation,” “Age- Appropriate Reactions and Intervention Strategies,” and “Practical Information Concerning Grief Counseling.” (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader).

“To Be Involved or Not: Crisis Intervention in Schools,” from Westwind Publications, Feb. 11, 1999. The author suggests that “crisis intervention and follow-up in the schools can be the first line of defense for addressing some of the most distressing and problematic issues that currently face our young people.”

“School Crisis Response: Expecting the Unexpected,”Educational Leadership, November 1994, suggests that a coordinated districtwide crisis response requires careful planning.

Crisis Intervention Resource Manual, from the Bartow County (Ga.) School System, provides quick summaries on a “Child’s View of Death,”“Key Factors Which Influence a Child’s Response to Death,” and “Helping Kids Cope With Grief.” Also provided is a list of links to materials on “Disasters and Coping.”

David Baldwin, a psychologist in private practice, maintains a Web site on trauma, with an extensive list of links to trauma- related sites.

“Talking to Children About Violence and Other Sensitive and Complex Issues in the World,” adapted by Linda Lantieri from A Discussion Guide for Parents and Educators by Susan Jones and Sheldon Berman. This guide explores some of the questions that parents and teachers frequently ask about ways to discuss such tragedies as the recent attacks.

Talking With Kids About Tough Issues, a national campaign from Children Now and the Kaiser Family Foundation, encourages parents to talk to kids about the news, and specifically about the media and disasters.


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