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Building School Resilience in an Era of Multiple Threats

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Master's thesis

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There is a lack of attention towards the process of recovery in U.S. schools despite their vulnerability to natural and intentional threats with the potential of creating mass casualties. By promoting resilience as a component of recovery as is now done in Israel and the United Kingdom, the United States can empower children and the at-large community, enabling a quicker recovery. Case studies from past mass casualty incidents from a variety of threat mechanisms involving schools were analyzed to assess the following 1 time criticality, 2 information sharing, 3 family reunification, 4 lockdown considerations, and 5 first responder readiness. Regardless of threat mechanism, most variables will factor in a schools ability to recover, including the reality that the longer the exposure to the trauma, the greater the psychosocial impact and the greater the difficulty in recovering. School administrators and first responders, primarily from public health and law enforcement, should collaborate on efforts in the pre-event phase to mitigate both physical and psychological impacts from trauma. Chapter I presents the problem statement, research questions, literature review, and study methodology. Chapter II reviews existing mass casualty threats naturalaccidental threats, school shootings, and acts of terrorism. Chapter III presents case studies chronologically of naturalaccidental events school shootings in the United States acts of terrorism i.e., the school attacks in Maalot, Israel, and Beslan, Russia and events that have occurred in proximity to schools i.e., Oklahoma City Bombing, September 11th in New York City, SARS, and Hurricane Katrina. Chapter V examines the psychosocial impact of mass casualty incidents on families, schools, and communities. Chapter VI looks at resilience as a method to alleviate the impacts of mass casualty events. Chapter VII presents recommendations.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Humanities and History
  • Psychology
  • Safety Engineering

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