Crisis management in schools: evidence based

Wilson MacNeil (Lead / Corresponding author), Keith Topping

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)


    Critical incidents in or involving schools include shootings, stabbings, other forms of homicide, terrorist activity, suicide, road traffic accidents, major fires and natural disasters, which result or might result in death and/or serious injury to students and staff. Where crisis management plans exist, they might be based on 'common sense' or clinical judgement, risking worsening rather than improving outcomes. The relevant evidence base is scattered and of very various quality. This systematic review addresses these difficulties. This first part of the review considers definitions, prevention (resilience building and mental health promotion), preparation (planning, education, training and practice) and response (prompt implementation of effective actions and mobilisation of appropriate resources). The beginnings of an evidence base can be seen. In 'prevention', effectiveness has been demonstrated for some suicide prevention, anti-depression and resilience-building programs. In 'preparation', the literature is largely descriptive and founded mainly on clinical judgement. This is also true for 'response', but there is evidence that media portrayal of suicide generates more suicide. Although there is as yet no direct empirical evidence for the effectiveness of crisis management planning in schools, it would seem a wise course, provided it is not rigid and bureaucratic. Other implications for policy, practice and future research are outlined.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)64-94
    Number of pages31
    JournalJournal of Educational Enquiry
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education


    Dive into the research topics of 'Crisis management in schools: evidence based'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this