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Katrina School Concerns: Vol. 87


Hurricane Katrina Disaster:

Concerns for the Displaced Students

Katrina Disaster
Our hearts go out to the Disaster Victims
Keys’ volunteered our services to help!!
Click to learn
more about this training:

Helping Children of a Catastrophic Disaster
Dealing with Anger, Suicide, Depression, Anxiety Disorders and Other Disorders of displaced children
Training scheduled in
Baton Rouge, LA with the
Baton Rouge School District
Learn more

Keys To Safer wishes to express our collective heart felt sympathy for those whose lives have been devastated by Hurricane Katrina. We are keenly aware that the loss and trauma suffered by so many will continue to be a major part of their lives for months and years to come.  Learn more about Displacement Due to Disaster Training

Kids will suffer a unique set of stresses and the entire Keys To Safer team is prepared and eager to help meet these challenges. Estimates range from 16 to 36 weeks before many can even return home or to where their homes once stood. This also includes schools. Kids may have to face the loss of;

  • school, home
  • friends, family
  • neighborhoods
  • pets & more…

This is tough for adults but especially hard on children. Keys’ stands ready and willing to help with our Multi-Disciplinary Expert Team in the logistics and services needed for;

  • setting up new schools
  • security measures for temporary schools and shelters
  • counseling for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • dealing with Anger (parents, social workers, crisis responders, etc)
  • and other areas affected by this devastation

Keys’ works with schools every day on the development of Crisis Response Plans, Implementation Procedures and Recovery, we are keenly aware of the issues that are facing those who are displaced and those who reach out to help. We have the expertise through a staff of Multi-disciplined Subject Matter Experts who can conference with the State Department of Education or individual Districts to help mitigate the effects of this disaster. Sooner is far better than later.

In many surrounding states, we have opened out hearts, homes and schools. They have come to us. Now what do we do? One refugee in an emergency shelter said this morning, “There is no New Orleans for us to return to. There may never be a place for us to return to.” We could have these extra students for a long time or permanently. Here are some of the issues:

  1. Educational records, shot records and documentation were largely lost when their schools were lost. All enrollment pre-qualifiers should be eliminated statewide. Get the kids back into a school routine, then play “catch up” later down the road. We have already had school officials calling us about these concerns. They have said, at first, we can’t accept these students because of this problem.
  2. These are all students of trauma. They will need more mental health services than the resident population. Support groups should be started today and not only with displaced student but families as well! (Ex: we have already had a request from a school on how to deal with a displaced student that loss friends or fellow students in the disaster.)
  3. Resident students will accept the Refugee students’ trauma as they get to know each other and may need services as well but will appear under the radar.
  4. Students will come and go as families run out of resources or hear of a “better deal” and move on.
  5. Refugee students will tend to bond together as will the resident population. Insuring that acceptance and inclusion is the order of the day will take deliberate planning.
  6. Staff meetings are essential to discuss and review signs of depression, suicide ideations, eating disorders, illnesses common to floods and refugees, mentoring acceptance and tolerance, etc)
  7. Some of the refugee students may be members of street gangs and may try to spread their message or they could run into rival gangs, either refugee or resident.
  8. The logistics involved include:
  • Temporary to permanent housing (HUD, hospitals, national guard, nursing homes, abandoned buildings, airport hangars, mobile home dealers and parks)
  • Temporary classroom space (trailers, dividers in the gym or cafeteria, local churches)
  • bathroom space
  • Staffing for these Temporary classrooms
  • Student’s school & personal supplies (text books to toilet paper)
  • transportation, (more buses, more drivers, more fuel)
  • communications (internal, external)
  • information flow, keep them informed about “back home”
  • media control
  • Food (at home and at school) minimize preparation, make meals an event, watch for loss of appetite as an indicator of more serious problems.
  • School nurses, may be swamped or overwhelmed with sick students or students who act sick to get attention
  • School Resource Officers’ concerns:
  • Security of Temporary Facilities: Gangs and others who wish to take advantage of this situation to prey on the victims.
  • Sexual predators
  • Property crimes and school crimes might temporarily rise
  • Mental Health:
    • Lots of displaced students in trauma or with traumatic history and perhaps very little coping skills.
    • Trained staff to watch and intervene in suicidal behavior, fights and other mental health issues.
    • Medication issues:  No records yet many off medication that they need.
  • Many parents and student with no knowledge of the area (in temporary schools and temporary addresses):
    • students need local area maps, phone numbers and other information about their current area, in case for an emergency.
  • Mother going through Katrinaand more… 

Please contact Keys to help.
We are a  organization with limited resources but a big heart and we will give until it hurts to help those who are deeply hurting.

email or call to request our help.

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