Being able to manage a crisis situation and address the needs of the key stakeholders in a manner as efficient and expeditious as possible is a crucial skill that an educator must develop (Liou, 2015). By focusing on the urgent tasks and getting the priorities straight, one becomes capable of preventing accidents, maintaining safety levels high among students and other stakeholders, and minimizing the damage. Despite the fact that every participant of the crisis management process has a distinct set of roles and responsibilities to which they must adhere, collaboration and active information sharing is crucial to the success of the measures taken to address the problem.
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Roles and Responsibilities: Description
As a rule, internal respondents’ (IRs) roles include informing the people that may possibly be affected by the crisis about the situation and providing instructions regarding the further course of actions. In addition, the supporting role needs to be mentioned when it comes to discussing the ones of internal respondents. Traditionally, the responsibilities associated with the identified role include providing emotional and psychological support to the people affected by a crisis.
The victims thereof need emotional support, and IRs must be ready to offer it to the target population. Since addressing the needs of every single crisis victim is barely possible, the target population may have to be split into groups based on their needs and backgrounds (Jin, Liu, & Austin, 2014).
Therefore, the responsibilities of an IR include, but are not limited to, providing immediate information about the possible or ongoing crisis to the people that are, have been, or may possibly be affected by it; contacting the family members of the emergency survivors; and providing psychological assistance to the people that have suffered a crisis. The latter task is especially challenging given the possible threats to which the target population may be exposed, including the possibility of developing PTSD, depression, etc. (Cozza, 2014). Therefore, in the environment of an educational facility, it is imperative to identify the needs of all stakeholders, especially as far as diverse learners are concerned (Jin et al., 2014).
While IRs must be concerned with the management of the crisis victims’ immediate needs, external ones (ERs) are given more general roles that imply supervising the process and focusing on more general issues. For instance, the roles of ERs often include designing the general crisis response model, as well as providing general support to the students. The said support may involve the general guidelines to counselors as far as the learners’ needs are concerned, the provision of the required resources, e.g., medical supplies, the management of information flow (i.e., maintaining the existing communication tools in order), etc. (Davis, 2014).
School Counselor: Collaboration and Crisis Management Plans
Since emergency management requires that every single participant should be provided with a rigid set of roles and responsibilities to handle, it is imperative to make sure that the information is transferred successfully from one person to another and that cooperation is viewed as one of the key priorities. Particularly, to design a coherent crisis management plan, a school counselor must consider cooperating with teachers so that the background of learners could be identified and that their needs could be located successfully. Furthermore, the relevant information about students will help create the tools for raising awareness among them about the subject matter.
Cooperation with administrators will help shape the curriculum in the way that will imply including crisis preparedness activities. In the course of the said training sessions, the students will be taught about the essential ways of surviving an emergency, the means of locating the crucial information, the tools for contacting the school authorities, etc. Thus, the safety of the students will remain high.
Finally, the focus on collaboration between the school and the community must be kept. The identified measure will help maintain awareness levels among the target population high. As a result, crisis preparedness levels will remain high among the community members. Therefore, accidents during emergency management can be avoided successfully (Warmbold et al., 2015).
Barriers to Collaboration and the Means to Overcome Them
One must admit, though, that establishing cooperation between the administration, teachers, and counselors in the context of an academic facility is a challenging task that may imply overcoming certain obstacles. For example, lack of resources can be viewed as a significant impediment. The introduction of lean resource management strategies and the principles of cost-efficiency during budgeting will help handle the specified issue.
Inconsistency in decision-making and the unwillingness to collaborate can be considered another two reasons for concern that are, in fact, connected. The said problems are triggered by the inefficient communication process and can be managed by shaping the current conversation model. For instance, the use of social networks as the means of building awareness should be considered.
Finally, the complexity and the rigidness of school systems must be listed among the primary barriers to successful crisis management. The lack of flexibility in the process of decision-making may affect the communication process significantly. Therefore, introducing changes to the communication system used by the school with the help of an appropriate change model is a possible solution (Education Bureau, 2016).
The needs of a vulnerable population must be met during crisis management. In the school setting, students’ safety is a priority, which means that the roles and responsibilities of an emergency management team must be identified carefully. For this purpose, active cooperation between the internal and external team members, as well as administrators, teachers, and counselors is crucial. Enhancing the information management process, one is likely to build awareness rates fast, thus, making sure that the students and the community remain protected.
Cozza, S. (2014). Disaster and Trauma, an issue of child and adolescent psychiatric clinics of North America. Atlanta, GA: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Davis, T. E. (2014). Exploring school counseling. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
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Education Bureau. (2016). School crisis management intervention and psychological support in the aftermath of crises: Handbook. Washington, DC: Education Bureau.
Jin, Y., Liu, B. F., & Austin, L. L. (2014). Examining the role of social media in effective crisis management: The effects of crisis origin, information form, and source on publics’ crisis responses. Communication Research, 41(1), 74-94.
Liou, Y. H. (2015). School crisis management: A model of dynamic responsiveness to crisis life cycle. Educational Administration Quarterly, 51(2), 247-289.
Warmbold, K., Shearin, J., Kilpatrick, K., Harper, W., Stephenson, E., & Maras, M. (2015). Collaborative school mental health: Connecting school counselors and school psychologists. Columbia, MI: University of Missouri.