Case Study: South Carolina Dept. of Education

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Case Study [PDF]

The State of South Carolina has been partnering with the CPI for over 15 years to properly equip teachers and paraprofessionals with the tools to deal with potential violent events. The training provides clear and practical steps that can be safely taken to deal with such situations.


“Today’s schools operate in complex environments. With the wide variety of students and human dynamics that arise on any given day in schools, in many of our communities there may arise situations that pose a danger to students or staff,” states Mike Paget, Consultant for Students with Emotional Disabilities with the South Carolina Department of Education.

In his three decades of working with students’ emotional behavioral development and mental health concerns, Paget has seen a variety of staff training approaches designed to deal with unexpected situations. He estimates that 20% of any student population can be considered “at-risk.”

“In any group of students, you will have a range of kids, including some whose background may cause them to be volatile and reactive. And when situations arise that present a risk to students and staff, no one wants to have to place a hand on a student to restrain them. Ideally you want to be able to handle a situation in a way that will make it safer rather than worse.”


Paget maintains a support network for over 100 trainers throughout South Carolina to provide strategies that have a track record of success in:
  • Reducing the frequency and severity of disruptive or dangerous situations.
  • Increasing employee confidence and morale.
  • Fostering a culture of respect and safety in schools.
  • Preserving dignity as well as safety for adults and students.

“We have seen scary situations in which potential violence has been defused and problems avoided thanks to these techniques—the individuals are shown respect and nonverbal cues that are non-threatening or non-provoking to them.”

For adults who are not accustomed to dealing with challenging students, Paget finds it is very easy to react to their own anxieties and respond in a manner that does make the situation worse. Paget has found the CPI training, especially the de-escalation skills, to be “a wonderful tool to calm the acting-out person as well as the adult. It’s a remarkable way to settle everyone down.”
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About the Author

“Every individual on this earth deserves to be treated with compassion, understanding, and the right to keep their dignity intact. This can be difficult to honor at times when someone loses control of their behavior, but that’s where Rational Detachment and not taking it personally really kicks in. What has helped me be able to do this well goes back to the first day I was introduced to Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training. I was a participant before becoming a Certified Instructor (and before working for CPI), and over the years I have had so many opportunities to use what I learned way back then. Today, I live the skills automatically. It’s an honor to have been given those skills to live the philosophy of treating others the way I want to be treated.”

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