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Reclaiming School in the Aftermath of Trauma: Advice Based on Experience

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ISBN-13: 978-1137268549
ISBN-10: 1137268549
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Editorial Reviews


"This one is hard to put down! By meeting numerous individuals who have survived the pain of disaster and the healing of recovery, readers learn how to confront future events so as to become not just who they are, but who they would like to be. Experiences from school shootings ranging from Columbine and Platte Canyon High Schools, Virginia Tech, and the Jokela School Center in Tuusula, Finland, are juxtaposed with those who survived Katrina, the 9/11 attacks, and school bullying. We leave with an enriched understanding of how pain can be put to work. The writing is crisp; the analyses are told by those who actually were there; and the lessons provide food for thought to all, be they teachers, administrators, parents, or community members. A must-read!" - Thomas E. Drabek, author of The Human Side of Disaster; Professor Emeritus, University of Denver

"Reclaiming School in the Aftermath of Trauma is a must-read. The strategies shared by Carolyn Mears are a great resource for any school that is faced with tragedy. The stories shared are inspirational for readers to see how communities and schools were able to overcome adversity in their lives and communities and provide a road map to recovery.' - Frank DeAngelis, Principal, Columbine High School

"This book has particular relevance to international schools because these schools are often located in unstable countries or places where the risks are higher for terrorism or catastrophic events. Equally important to taking preventative measures is to prepare for the aftermath of an unforeseen trauma or catastrophe. By presenting the varied real life accounts this book provides a framework for every school administration to ask the questions that will help develop a plan that is best for each unique school." –Katherine Johnson, Director, Human Resources, Singapore American School

"Carolyn Mears . . . provides an excellent firsthand analysis of the reactions and phases individuals experience on the pathway to recovery. She also provides a variety of practical and realistic activities to help with the recovery process." - John Nicoletti, Police Psychologist, Nicoletti-Flater Associates

"This book should be required reading on every campus, regardless of size. Recent history has shown no school is immune to random violence. Carolyn Mears offers a guide to responding to the unthinkable; a practical map to shortening the road to recovery." - Donald Donahue, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland; Former Program Director, Health Policy & Preparedness at the Potomac Institute for Policy

'Reclaiming School in the Aftermath of Trauma: Advice Based on Experience is an excellent text for educators who wish to learn about and take preventative measures against traumatic events and random violence. The compilation, through the inclusion of varied real-life accounts, is also beneficial to those currently facing the aftermath of an unexpected trauma.' - Susan Delaney, Association of Texas Professional Educators News

About the Author

Carolyn L. Mears is the author of the award-winning study Experiences of Columbine Parents: Finding a Way to Tomorrow and Interviewing for Education and Social Science Research: The Gateway Approach, holds a research position, serves on the Graduate School of Social Work Trauma Certificate Board, and is dissertation advisor and adjunct faculty at the Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (April 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1137268549
  • ISBN-13: 978-1137268549
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.5 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,514,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world. Tragedies can and do befall some of us. But how do we make it through those tragedies? How do they change the way we interact with each other? What do we do when the tragedy passes and a state of "normalcy" descends upon us? In her book, Reclaiming School in the Aftermath of Trauma: Advice Based on Experience, Carolyn Lunsford Mears explores how parents, students, and school staff are affected when tragedy occurs in their lives and how they find ways to carry on.

As a parent of two Columbine High School graduates, Carolyn Lunsford Mears knows something about carrying on after tragic incidents. She is smart and humble enough, though, to allow others to voice their own experiences and calls upon those involved in other school tragedies to recount their tales, as well. Survivors from Virginia Tech, Columbine High School, Hurricane Katrina, September 11th, and other incidents are all represented here.

The book offers a thorough exploration of the cognitive and social effects that people suffer after surviving these events. The structure of the book - three distinct sections entitled Understanding Trauma, Learning from Trauma, and Putting Pain to Work - makes it accessible to readers. Additionally, calling upon people like Frank DeAngelis, Columbine High School principal, and Paula Reed, a Columbine teacher and novelist, to recount their stories allows readers a chance to get insight and clarity that they might never otherwise obtain. One of the most useful features of the book is that final chapter, a list of resources compiled by the author so that readers may further educate themselves on this issue.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I highly recommend Dr. Carolyn Mears' book: Reclaiming School in the Aftermath of Trauma: Advice Based on Experience. As a 15-year professional educator and researcher of youth violence, I can firmly say that this book makes an effective case for empathetic and compassionate teaching and leading. Mears' book is filled with articles/writings from individuals close to national tragedies, including the Columbine shooting, 9-11, Hurricane Katrina, etc. Mears went to the real source of advice; educators who lived through horrific conditions with their students and communities and somehow emerged to effectively share their pain and experiences. Furthermore, they share their passion for ensuring that communities and school officials remember that life is different after a tragedy, and leadership must be different. Because Mears is a Columbine parent whose own son survived the tragedy, one might imagine that the book keeps a narrow focus on shootings or similar tragedies, but that is absolutely not the case. In fact, the book begins with a broad explanation of the "aftermath" of trauma. The author explains that students experience trauma on a regular basis. It does not take a shooting to result in PTSD or a need for mental health interventions. Students and their families can be traumatized by regular community violence, events they see on t.v., or other circumstances separated from the daily life of schooling. But schooling is a continuous process, and the real-world trauma of youth makes its way to the classroom on a regular basis. Mears collects the advice of those who have survived trauma to explain that the road back is not easy. The road back to "normalcy" is complicated by educators rarely trained in traumatic response.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Recovery is the last mentioned of the four phases of emergency management, and one to which many schools only give lip-service. Carolyn Mears has created an excellent resource for schools to use to plan for, and recover from, traumatic events in their schools.

This past spring we had a high school freshman commit suicide. Perhaps the Lord was looking out for us, but I had just finished reading Reclaiming School in the Aftermath of Trauma, and the information I had found was put to immediate use in helping both our staff and students begin to recover. I can only say this is the finest work I've seen on the topic of trauma recovery for schools.

Her numerous chapter authors serve to illustrate the wide variety of situations schools can face, and at the same time identify the common themes in all trauma, you can never be the same again, but you can adapt and move on. That powerful message, along with the numerous examples of how it was done should become part of any school's recovery plans.

Chapter 7 - Voices of Columbine, provided me with the best picture yet of what happened in Columbine, as you get a perspective from the principal, a teacher, and a student. When planning for recovery, all affected personnel should be served, not just the students. Each person will have their own unique needs, and a good plan will reflect this.

Chapter 11 - Burned into Memory: Remnants of Personal Victimization was written by Michael Dorn, who rose above his victimization to lead a very successful life, by any measure. In this day and age, bullying is a buzzword, and Mike has a different spin on recovering from bullying. Given the option, he has chosen to focus on the positives in life, and has not only overcome his own victimization, but his dyslexia.
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