Responding to a School Crisis

School members comfort each other after a crisis. NEA Healthy Futures wants to keep schools safe, especially during a crisis. Natural disasters, accidents that claim student or educators lives and violent acts can shake a school community to its core. Ultimately, it will be you and your fellow school community members who will work to restore balance. We’re encouraging all school communities to look at school safety and crises through a four step lens: Prepare – Prevent – Respond – Recover.


It is better to be proactive rather than reactive; preparation is essential, which is why NEA Healthy Futures urges schools to have a crisis plan in place before an emergency occurs. Having a plan ensures that educators and school staff know exactly what to do in the hours, days and weeks following a crisis. How Can My School Be Prepared for a Crisis?

  • Download the NEA Healthy Futures School Crisis Guide for useful tips on how NEA state and local associations can lend expertise, the guide can save schools precious time in the midst of a crisis and help children and staff return to learning and a sense of normalcy.
  • Provide proper training and support for staff.


NEA Healthy Futures wants to help NEA members and the education community at large take more proactive steps to promote school safety and support a positive school climate. This includes the promotion of healthy habits that support good physical and mental health, and engaging schools and communities to develop productive working partnerships together. NEA has endorsed a Framework for Safe and Successful Schools that incorporates these efforts.


NEA Healthy Futures (working under our previous name NEA Health Information Network) has responded to an unfortunately high number of crises and emergency situations at schools across the country, ranging from natural disasters to human-caused violence. We have found that in the immediate response to these incidences, school leaders and staff greatly appreciate and benefit most from simple and thoughtful step-by-step procedures that help maintain order, anticipate problems, and offer guidance on what to say to students, families and the media.


Recovering from a traumatic incident can be a much longer process than many realize, sometimes taking many years for individuals and communities to heal. We offer guidance to help schools and communities better anticipate and recognize their recovery needs.