I was a high school principal in Montreal (Pennsylvania) when the TWA Flight 800 exploded in July 1996 in Long Island. The recent tragedy in Connecticut, as well as the other school tragedies we witness, always gives rise to thoughts of not only the disaster but also the tragedy that followed. In 1996, our school lost 16 students and 5 adults. In the following weeks and months, some of the following events occurred that no school could possibly prepare for, and they usually had to "make up". Some suggestions for its management are included.
1. The medical investigator must positively recognize each victim. Parents will not see their baby again, so dental records and DNA samples will be required. Think of what it would have been like last Friday at a shooting in Conny State when parents heard the news about their child.
2. Gifts and money (there were only thousands of teddy bears) will come from all over the world: a gloom from a Calcutta Girls' Private School, cards made from children in Ghana, handmade masonry in a children's school. Darwin, Australia … gifts will continue to come in. One day the school will have to make a decision that will cause great misery. The decision to "focus our attention on the living." No one will know what to do with all the gifts. You are making a permanent memorial. Do we keep them? We cannot dispose of them fairly. What We Do There will come a day when school, not families, will have no alternative but to pass, and there will be great adjustments to this adjustment schedule… The overseer will be judged severely for deciding to move on.
3. The funerals will be quite heartfelt … but the cemeteries will present a surreal sight of unbearable sorrow. Generator-operated tree lights will have Xmas trees, and gifts will be presented under the tree (as the child will need to play something in the sky) and jackets hanging on the tombstones and played with tombstones and Christmas e-mails. Some people will have cuts to their baby's life, which are at the house's Xmas tree. I saw it. It was devastating and it remains so for me today.
4. Sisters will be very angry with their parents who will never go through the death of a child who leaves their sister in justice and the brother feels less loved and neglected.
5. Many families with all good intentions will start a foundation in the name of their children. However, huge sums of money will come from every corner of the world, and there will be endless evening meetings that will try to come to some sort of agreement on what to do with all the money now angry and still grieving parents.
6. Finally, another catastrophe will happen, as happened to us, where I once talked to Wolf Blitzer, and all the new satellite trucks and black limoners who were televising television news disappeared the next when the hand-made nail bomb came out of the Atlanta Olympics. . All of a sudden, we no longer existed in terms of news … which was supposed to be, on the surface, good news, but we were really independent at the time.
These are the terrible things that will happen when all of this happens. Here are some improvisational things that worked for us …
1. Volunteers will come everywhere … don't distract them … you help them and yourself if you can invent something for them to do where there is no work … people have to be in another tragedy in people. . We had guidance counselors and teachers and ministers and soldiers, and just ordinary mothers, fathers, grandparents, and students, who were everywhere. We all had things to do … some senior citizens were making ribbon balls to help hang emails. .
2. Religious people coming from all faiths will come … they will be a reflection of all faiths … For us, Jehovah's Witnesses were the most helpful as they organized and hung on the wall each email and took care of thousands of living plants and flowers every day, that were sent to our school everywhere, as would happen in the city of Matauna. Do not exclude anyone … let all faiths leave literature in a quiet and respectful place. Stay in touch with the local minister, who usually includes all the clergy in the city … they can help spread the message to their respective flocks and help in different ways.
3. Hire a firm engaged in trust fund creation and principal donation. This will include long hours, and school officials will have to run schools, and their whole lives will be taken over by things they have no experience with … those people have to do everything to make a living. These meetings will be extremely obscene as parents are not prepared for the logical thinking required for such meetings.
4. The school should respect mental health professionals and grief counselors, but someone should be responsible for those people, and the Administrator and Administration should never forget that they are responsible for the building, not the mental health professionals. Ms. Overseer – try not to turn the building's control over to people who do not have such expertise, just as you do not have the experience of consulting. Not too exaggerated in my experience is the fact that the occasional relaxing dogs often provide more relief to distressed people.
5. School board members should be reminded that they are citizens, as long as they do not meet as a body and vote for something as a group. Individual Board members will go to school, each with his or her own agenda of how things should be handled … the strongman should retain control of this, or chaos will occur between everyone giving contradictory directions and coming up creative but contradictory ideas. Individual board members should receive instructions that do not give themselves in this setting.
6. Kids are much more resilient than we think … At some point in the fall, I used to say to a group of students … "This is not another special program for us Montserville students from the poor city. They were ready to move on. although the adults wanted to "help" them a little more … talk to students to find out when they had enough "help" they always knew.
7. Adults will deny that they need counseling, thinking only about helping children. Make the teachers take a week off using substitute teachers in some organized way … they have to leave for a while, admit it or not … I still cry over all these tragedies because of the thoughts that come back to me. I was the tough guy who was supposed to be responsible … pay attention to the needs of adults. We haven't done it enough.
These are just thoughts from someone who had to deal with the effects of a disaster … Not all talking leaders on television know what they're talking about. They never had to deal with such a thing.