Mark Scott, an educator with the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), was no stranger to dealing with crisis-level situations in his career. On three occasions, he was called into a classroom to deal with an incident involving a student and a handgun.
A Unified Response to a Challenging Situation
Thankfully, Scott had worked with LACOE to bring Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) training to schools in his area, many of which serve challenging at-risk populations. Scott was able to restore calm and successfully diffuse the situation using methodologies and structure he learned from CPI.
“In reviewing the literature, it became apparent to me that in cases of violent incidents resulting in injuries, the most common factor was that staff was untrained or mis-trained,” Scott explained.
As Scott looked for a solution, he came across CPI.
“I’ve taken advantage of comparing CPI across different models and I really have found that it is one of the most easily apprehended models that I’m aware of.”
LACOE has since adopted policies based on CPI training and philosophy to systemize training and operational procedures. “We want as many people as possible to have this training in order to increase the likelihood that we’ll have a safer environment in which to educate and care for our children.
“With CPI training,” Scott continued, “staff now feel more comfortable in matching techniques learned to classroom experience—they find the tools to be accessible and feel validated by the training.” And that has had a major impact at every level of the schools.
Case Study: Los Angeles County Office of Education
See the impact LA County schools experienced after introducing CPI training to all staff.
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A New Culture of Classroom Safety
Scott has seen first-hand the transformative impact of the program on school staff.
“The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive—I hear comments like, ‘Man, I wish I had received this training when I started in this field. It’s opened my eyes about the preventative aspect of crisis intervention.’”
Among the programs used most extensively is Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training. “The de-escalation components and the team intervention strategies have proved very effective in helping us prevent and avert a true crisis,” Scott added.
Students have also benefited from the training. Scott told us how, “Often a crisis emerges when students do not know what to expect from staff. The CPI model is designed to make staff behaviors more predictable. Standardized behaviors foster a more dignified treatment of students, parents, staff, and others.”
But the most significant outcome according to Scott is,
“there has been a culture shift. Our organization has truly begun to employ and internalize this philosophy of Care, Welfare, Safety, and Security.”
This allows staff to proactively attend to challenges instead of reacting to situations in the moment.
“The public should know that with appropriate training and reinforcement, our schools are safer and the likelihood is increased that our children will be well cared for in an environment that is conducive to learning and growing.”
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Originally published in 2010.