A school or community crisis can happen anywhere at anytime. It could be an active shooter or a natural disaster. Most of the time we say, “I don’t even want to think about the unthinkable.” But after seeing both man-made disasters and natural disasters increase by 750 percent and 223 percent, respectively. Maybe it is time to instead “think about the thinkable.”
That’s the advice of my guest this week, Dr. David Schonfeld, MD, FAAP, Director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement. Dr. Schonfeld returns to Anchored in Education this week to talk about how we can support students, schools, and communities in crisis situations. We also talk how we can prepare students ahead of a crisis as well as the support needed following an event.
If you haven’t had the chance, check out last week’s episode where Dr. Schonfeld and I discussed Supporting the Grieving Student.
Dr. David J. Schonfeld, MD, FAAP established and directs the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement (www.schoolcrisiscenter.org), located at the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work in the University of Southern California. He is Professor of the Practice in Social Work and Pediatrics at the University of Southern California and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Prior faculty positions have been in the Department of Pediatrics at Yale University School of Medicine; Head of the Section of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; and Pediatrician-in-Chief at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and Chair of Pediatrics at Drexel University School of Medicine.
For over 30 years, he has provided consultation and training to schools on supporting students and staff at times of crisis and loss in the aftermath of numerous school crisis events and disasters within the United States and abroad, including school and community shootings and stabbings in Parkland, FL, Newton, CT, Benton, KY, Las Vegas, NC, Thousand Oaks, CA, Spokane, WA, Marysville, WA, Osaka, Japan, Corning, CA, Aurora, CO, Platte Canyon, CO, Chardon, Oh, and Townville, SC; flooding from Hurricanes Maria in San Juan, Sandy in NYC and NJ, Katrina in New Orleans and Ike in Galveston; tornadoes in Joplin, MO and Alabama; wildfires in Butte County, CA, Sonoma County, CA and in the Great Smoky Mountains in Sevierville, TN; and the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, China. He coordinated the training for school crisis response teams for the NYC DOE after the events of September 11, 2001.
Dr. Schonfeld frequently speaks (with over 1,000 presentations) on the topics of crisis and loss and has authored more than 100 scholarly articles, book chapters, and books. He has conducted school-based research (funded by NICHD, NIMH, NIDA, the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, William T Grant Foundation, and other foundations) involving children’s understanding of and adjustment to serious illness and death and school-based interventions to promote adjustment and risk prevention. Dr. Schonfeld is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Disaster Preparedness Advisory Council and the National Biodefense Science Board (NBSB)/National Preparedness and Response Science Board (NPRSB). He served as a Commissioner for both the National Commission on Children and Disasters and the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission in CT. He served as President of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics from 2006-2007.