Readers who have engaged in school crisis response are invited to submit first person narratives describing response to traumatic events in schools. Writing a personal narrative can provide the author with an opportunity to process, learn from, and work through the emotions of a response and educate others with their insights.
Narratives must be based upon real interventions and provide a clear description of the response from the author’s perspective. Responder perspectives include school administrators, school counselors, school psychologists, school social workers, school nurses, and teachers.
Examples of traumatic incidents include school bus/car accidents, death of teacher/staff member, death of student, suicide of student, natural or accidental disasters, school violence/shooting/act of terrorism, or sexual abuse/molestation.
Suggested Organization of the Narrative
It is suggested that narratives include a creative title that identifies the type of crisis, an Abstract that orients the reader with a brief description of key themes that arose during the response, and an Introduction section that sets the scene, presents the traumatic event, and when relevant, describes the school’s history and culture. Author(s) should identify job title(s) and response team role(s).
The next section should be a Description of the response as it evolves, including any prior attempts to address prevention and preparedness, important events and their impact, responder perspectives and functions, interventions to address needs, and movement toward recovery. Headings to orient the reader are suggested. Include special considerations such as cultural diversity or barriers, students having special needs, suicide contagion, etc.
The voice should be first person narrative. The author(s) may share thoughts, feelings, insights, and opinions that draw the reader into the response description to experience the challenges, difficult decisions, and problem-solving.
The Conclusion should include a summary of “lessons learned” for reflection and discussion.
Applying concepts of an evidence-based framework such as the NASP’s PREPaRE model is suggested, but not required. Narratives are subject to editing. If editing is suggested, permission will be requested from the author, who will then have final approval before the narrative is posted.
Narratives should be consistent with APA guidelines for confidentiality of case studies. Apply confidentiality to names of school districts, schools, students, staff, and community. Names of crisis responders should only be cited with written permission.
Caution to Authors
While the writing of personal narratives about traumatic events can be therapeutic for the author(s), it can also be difficult and emotionally distressing. It is suggested that writers of narratives have a support system of colleagues or professionals to work through feelings associated with the event, if needed.
Selection of Narratives
Narratives will be selected for posting based upon clear description of a traumatic incident that is particularly instructive for readers. Submission of a narrative does not guarantee selection for posting.
Submit a Narrative
- A personal narrative may be submitted by completing and sending a Contact Form accessed here or in the “Contact” section of this website.
- Posted narratives must include the author’s name. Anonymous submissions will not be considered.
- Submitted narratives may not be returned – please keep your original copy!
Please consider submitting a personal narrative that may contribute to the professional development of individuals and teams learning about and practicing school crisis response.