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Yankton Teachers Learn Crisis Prevention

March 23, 2012, 5:03 PM by Nicole Winters

Yankton Teachers Learn Crisis Prevention

Dealing with angry, or combative students is something some teachers find themselves having to deal with, especially when it comes to high-risk kids. Knowing how to deal with a situation like that while keeping everyone safe can be difficult. That's why teachers and staff are going through specialized training in the Yankton School District.

Knowing your personal space and how to act if someone moves into it, especially if they're angry, can be nerve raking.

"As that anxiety level is growing we don't want to make it grow by doing the wrong thing," Beadle Elementary Principal Carey Mitzel said.

Some staff and teachers can find themselves in that position with a combative student. Teachers in the Yankton School District are going through specialized training to prepare themselves, just in case.

"This is a non-violent crisis intervention program and it's all based on, it really focuses on prevention," Stewart Elementary Principal Jerome Klimisch said.

Yankton School District Principals Jerome Klimisch and Carey Mitzel are training staff members on how to de-escalate situations, while protecting the student, themselves and anyone else.

"We try to give the teachers strategies to deal with that and calm them down," Klimisch said.

Each group is trained for about nine hours. This is the second year staff have gone through the training. So far, the district is seeing results.

"Since I've been trained in this, we've probably used physical restraints much less than we ever did in the past," Mitzel said.

Physical restraint is sometimes used if the student is a threat to themselves or others. The program teaches what to do in that situation, but the main message is to intervene before it gets to that stage.

"The CPI message is probably 95 percent verbal, interacting with the students and try to de-escalate verbally and then there's a physical part of that if needed, and it's only as a last resort," Mitzel said.

Giving teachers the tools to know just what to do if a situation arises.

The training is part of a national program known as Crisis Prevention Intervention. Beyond safety, the training is also being implemented to comply with legislative mandates.

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