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September 2001
September 12, 2001

Crisis Intervention In The Freeport Schools

by John Helfrich

     While the attack on the World Trade Center went on, the Freeport school district took extra ordinary measures to buffer the children from trauma. The teachers and staff of each school were sensitive to what was taking place, so as not to panic those students who had parents, relatives and friends who worked in the Downtown area.
     My wife, who works in food services told me how, during each lunch period, students, who had a parent who worked in the disaster area, were paged and asked to report to the office. There they were gently told what they needed to know and provided with the support they needed on an individual basis.
     This took a lot of fast action by each school to look up records and alert staff. It was not an easy task. The teachers, in spite of their personal sorrows, were able to comfort the students. The school district then combined the students who weren't being picked up after school at the Atkinson school, until a parent or guardian could pick them up.
     Many staff, including food services, stayed late to make supper for those who remained behind. Thankfully, each child was picked up by the end of the evening.
     The whole school district, from the administrators down to the cleaners, deserve a special mention for the swift and compassionate way they reacted to this terrible tragedy and the care and professionalism they displayed.


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