How a School Alert System Helps Staff De-Escalate Incidents

by | Jun 17, 2022

A School Alert System Helps Staff De-Escalate IncidentsNobody wants a crisis to occur at school, yet educators know that it’s not a matter of if a situation will occur, but when.

When a conflict, crisis, or medical emergency occurs on campus, it falls on the teachers and staff to quickly assess and de-escalate situations. A wearable emergency button can assist when this happens.

Typically, a teacher is the only adult around to prevent escalation and resolve a situation when it occurs on campus. A school alert system that features a way to quickly and discreetly call for help can ensure that teachers are supported as they confront these unfortunate, but common situations. Every school safety plan should ensure that school staff can summon administrators, resource officers, or medical personnel before a situation gets out of hand.

The Problem with Current De-escalation Tactics

Currently, most school staff members call for help in a conflict by using a classroom phone or their cell phone, if they can do so at all. This is ineffective because:

  1. It indicates to students that the teacher doesn’t have control of the situation.
  2. The teacher must divert their attention from managing the situation to calling for help. This involves finding their cell phone, unlocking it, and making a call, which prevents the teacher from engaging fully with the student involved.
  3. Using a phone alerts others that a conflict is underway. This can escalate an already tense situation.
  4. A call for help could trigger some students into a stress response.

As all educators are aware, student behavior has always been something to manage. Post-COVID, behavioral incidents have risen dramatically in schools, further underlining the need for continued social-emotional learning.

In this environment, conflict is bound to occur.

Ideally, a school staff member—supported by other staff members—is equipped with the skills and support needed to de-escalate conflicts. But it’s not that simple. The process requires discretion and skill. Interventions like verbal warnings and rational arguments make demands upon students’ higher brain functions. When students are in a triggered state, they’re unable to meet these demands, which often simply makes things worse.

Currently, many schools rely on a system in which teachers send another student for help, have a walkie-talkie system, or rely on teachers to use their cell phones. When a frustrated student feels they’ve lost control of the situation, it can increase their desperation and quickly escalate. Large class sizes can also contribute to high levels of conflict in classrooms and incidents getting out of hand.

In the next phase, staff members then see conflicts escalate while waiting for help to arrive. Middle and high-school students, in particular, believe they are advocating for themselves and speaking on their behalf as they defend themselves or try to explain. So when staff members indicate that they are calling for additional support, a student could panic, and their emotional state goes into overdrive. When they see the situation is not resolving in their favor, they may engage in extreme behaviors to gain control or “win” what they see as an argument.

Even in elementary schools, behavioral incidents can result in conflict between teachers and students, leaving other students to experience a heightened emotional response to the conflict they’ve witnessed.

How Can a School Alert System Help De-Escalate Behavior Incidents?

A School Alert System Can Help De-Escalate Behavior Incidents

A wearable emergency button is a practical solution.

It’s an approach that’s both informed by students’ experiences and allows school staff members to discreetly call for support. It’s much more effective in de-escalating classroom conflict. When teachers acknowledge that students’ behavior is a form of communication, they are less likely to become emotionally triggered themselves or to confront the student. Maintaining this awareness and remaining calm can help staff members de-escalate potentially dangerous situations. In combination with a school alert system, this understanding can help lower tensions in the classroom and enhance the safety of everyone involved.

A wearable emergency button like the CrisisAlert badge features one-button activation. With one simple but purposeful touch, staff members can summon help in any circumstance.

The best de-escalation methods are discreet and provide as much objectivity as possible. Third parties not directly involved in the alerts can arrive at the incident and remain objective as they evaluate what’s happening. With a CrisisAlert badge, a staff member involved in an elevated emotional state can quickly summon another staff member who is uninvolved in the situation.

De-escalation is also required when a health crisis occurs in the classroom. For students who witness a medical event, these moments can be frightening or disorienting. A wearable emergency button allows school staff to immediately summon a response team to the location. These staff members can assist other students and help bring down the level of stress and anxiety in the classroom. They can then, if necessary, assist and support students as they evacuate the room.

As educators and administrators are well aware, student behavior incidents are on the rise. The CENTEGIX CrisisAlert badge is designed for use for both these types of situations and other emergencies, from routine disruptions to the extreme. The badge allows school personnel to call for help in the case of nearby suspicious activity, severe weather, and other external threats, and reduces critical response times during emergencies.

The CENTEGIX CrisisAlert wearable badge is:

  • Fast. School staff can call for help more quickly than by intercom or phone.
  • Discreet. School staff can call for help without escalating a conflict.
  • Accessible. School staff has immediate access to help, no matter the situation at hand.
  • Mobile. School staff can call for help from anywhere on campus.

Adding the CENTEGIX CrisisAlert badge as a part of a school alert system leads to decreases in school conflict: according to Jay Floyd, superintendent of Hart County Charter System (GA), “[Students] know that there’s an immediate response from [school staff members] if there’s an altercation. So in a lot of cases, our altercations are way down, I mean, way down. And you know, that’s got to be a part of that, because of the safety and security part of that, what their teacher has access to.”

When they have a CrisisAlert badge, teachers can avoid indicating that they are responding to conflict. By quickly clicking the badge a teacher wears on their person, ideally with their school ID, they avoid giving a triggered student (or students) additional cause for escalation. Instead, typically, a student is so focused on advocating for themselves or “winning” the conflict, they remain engaged in that activity until staff support arrives. But with a wearable panic button, help can already be on the way as, or if, a conflict heats up. In this way, a CrisisAlert wearable badge can prevent a student’s attention from turning onto the teacher or other students, and a teacher receives support without triggering a student by publicly calling them out.

Wearable Safety Solutions Ensure Safer Schools

Wearable Safety Solutions Ensure Safer Schools

The CrisisAlert badge contributes to the safety of schools by providing a discreet method for teachers and staff to call for help. The badge can be worn on a clip or lanyard with an ID badge. The CENTEGIX network secures every square foot of school property—without dead zones. The solution functions everywhere, inside and outside, and don’t depend on cell service or wifi. Every staff member has access to an instant call for assistance made possible by a wearable badge.

School safety is directly linked to student outcomes. Safe schools promote the protection of all students from violence, exposure to weapons and threats, bullying and harassment, and other emergencies. The sense of emotional and physical safety students experience in school is indexed to academic performance. The safer schools are, the more successful students will be at their primary job—learning. A discreet wearable emergency button can play an important role in increasing teachers’ and students’ emotional and physical safety. A school alert system assists with discretion–the key to keeping students’ emotions at a manageable state during a conflict or emergency so they can continue to learn.

CENTEGIX is the leader in incident response solutions. Our CrisisAlert platform is the fastest and easiest way for staff to call for help in an emergency, from the everyday to the extreme. CENTEGIX creates safer spaces by innovating technology to empower and protect people, and leaders nationwide trust our safety solutions to provide peace of mind. To learn more about how CENTEGIX can help you support your teachers and staff, visit www.centegix.com.

Additional Resources

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