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Associated Press  

Participants stretch their arms during yoga poses as they join the International Yoga Day inside a mall in suburban Taguig, south of Manila, Philippines on Sunday, June 21, 2015.

breaking top story
Mega Millions ticket worth $4 million sold in Carlisle

A $4 million winning Mega Millions ticket was sold in Carlisle for the Friday drawing, the Pennsylvania Lottery announced Monday.

The ticket matched all five white balls drawn, 4-5-10-12-18, but not the yellow Mega ball, 21, to win $4 million. It was sold with the $1 Megaplier option, which boosted the prize to $4 million instead of $1 million since the multiplier drawn was 4.

The ticket was sold at Walnut Bottom Gulf, 920 Walnut Bottom Road, Carlisle, which earns a $10,000 selling bonus.

The lottery system suggests the ticket holder sign the ticket, call the lottery office at 717-702-8146 and file a claim at the nearest lottery office. Pennsylvania Lottery Mega Millions prizes expire one year from the drawing date.

After Friday’s $143 million jackpot was won in Ohio, the Mega Millions jackpot reset to an estimated annuity value of $40 million for the Tuesday drawing.

Last fiscal year, the lottery system said players in Cumberland County won more than $42.4 million.

Cumberland County
Secure Schools: Districts, emergency services work to recover after a school incident

Their names have become synonymous with loss — Columbine, Sandy Hook and, now, Parkland.

One is nearly 20 years removed from a school shooting. For another slightly more than six years have passed. For the third, the three-month anniversary is coming up.

All are still recovering from an event that can take generations to heal.

“Something can happen in three minutes that be so devastating it can take a community a hundred years to heal,” said Dr. Frederick Withum, superintendent of the Cumberland Valley School District.


Finding answers to the nagging question of “why” is part of the healing process.

The school itself is a crime scene so it has to be saved for a time, said Chief Christopher Raubenstine of the Silver Spring Township Police Department. The county’s forensics unit and potentially other agencies like the State Police and the FBI would comb the scene for evidence.

Building relationships among the county police departments in less stressful settings is vital to creating a functioning unit in the event of an incident. That’s one of the reasons police chiefs across Cumberland County get together once a month — to build the relationships between their departments so they can work better together in the event of a major incident, Raubenstine said.

The staff at Cumberland County’s Emergency Operations Center assists investigating agencies with collecting evidence from radio and telephone communications during the incident, said Michele Parsons, emergency operations manager for the county.

Investigating agencies may interview EOC staff members or ask them for documentation on the decisions they made as the incident played out. While the investigation continues, the police department would also bring in experts to debrief officers.

On one hand, they would go through the incident from a tactical perspective looking at what happened and why the officer did what he did as the incident unfolded.

On the other hand, they would walk through the incident from a mental health perspective. In this perspective, the officers may be joined by medics and other emergency services personnel in what might best be considered group therapy. That opens the door for anyone who may need to talk through the incident in more depth with a counselor, Raubenstine said.

After an incident, a number of organizations reach out to offer assistance, but their timing is off. Those involved with the incident are already overwhelmed, and have little time to look through the offers to determine which have the most merit, Raubenstine said.

Instead, they look to the connections already made through the county.

During the incident, the school board remains on the sidelines to offer support and refrain from interfering.

“Upon completion, we would certainly debrief the event, make fact-based changes as needed and continue to provide support as we are able,” said Michael Gossert, president of the Cumberland Valley School Board.

The school board would work through an analysis of what worked, what didn’t and what else needs to be done. The board needs to conduct a rigorous evaluation and be able to be reflective, said Paula Bussard, president of the board of directors for the Carlisle Area School District.


Big Spring School District has trained counselors at its two secondary building, and its elementary school counselors are also trained, said superintendent Dr. Richard Fry. The district can also put word out through the county that counselors are needed and they know counselors will come out.

That happens now.

If there’s any event in a school district, the communication begins. Last month, a girl was killed in a car crash on a Saturday evening. By midday Sunday, Withum said he had seen messages from eight local superintendents and several local high school counselors reaching out to offer assistance. In the past, he’s also seen one school staff send lunch over to another district to encourage them in a difficult time.

There is a common foundation for student assistance and crisis intervention teams that administrators, school counselors and teachers have. Often, this training involves the same language and protocols, making it possible for trained personnel to be included in the counseling efforts after an event, Withum said.

Typically, the districts have a detailed plan for how the counselors will interact with the students. Locations for the counseling services are identified, and supplied with tissues, bottled water and any other needed supplies, Withum said.

Those locations can sometimes be the reunification centers that transition into counseling services or they can be another location that would be logical for students to go if they can’t return to the school building.

The first level of assistance and support is triage to determine who needs further assistance. One child, for example, may visit the counselor and, though they are upset, they also have a support system to help them cope such as a parent who can pick them up from school and have them visit a member of the clergy.

Another equally upset child may visit the counselor, but reveal that they have to go home to an empty house and take care of their younger siblings while a parent works. For this child, the counselor will work to gather the support they need by calling the parents and by finding someone to assist with the younger siblings, Withum said.

Counseling would go on as needed in the district.

“There’s no timeline on that,” Fry said.

It’s also essential to understand that a situation in one building can have an effect on other buildings in the school district as a student affected by a situation at the high school may have younger brothers or sisters in elementary school.

Returning to class

In the days after an incident, the district also needs to think about where to hold classes when they resume. The building may still be a crime scene so classes may need to be held somewhere else. The district may also choose to move classes if something happens at one building on a multibuilding campus. For some students, the mere sight of that building could be traumatizing.

At some point, there comes the decision of whether the building reopens at all. Sandy Hook Elementary was demolished, and officials at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have announced they plan to demolish the building in which the shooting occurred.

If the district has to hold classes in a different building after an incident, the EOC assists with bus routes, making sure the district’s transportation department knows which roads are closed. They would also assist with making sure the building meets Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, that there are no health and safety hazards and that approval from the state is obtained to hold classes there.

Even with all the counseling, recovery will take time.

The 911 dispatcher who took a call may appear fine, but take a call years later that acts as a trigger to rekindle memories of that day, Parsons said.

A parent who survived an incident in the school may harbor fears as their children enter the school system.

Anniversaries of the incident will be recalled in memory and in the media for years.

People from outside the area who hear the name of the town or of the school will show a spark of recognition, recalling the news reports and the devastation of the school’s darkest day.

This is how it takes generations to recover.

Michael Bupp, The Sentinel  

Cumberland County dispatch center's emergency operations room, which is used during a major disaster.

Cumberland County
Secure Schools: University adapts teacher training to meet post-Parkland concerns

The stories and images repeated from places well-known, like Parkland, and lesser-known, like Forest High School in Ocala, Florida, where one student was injured by a gunshot on April 20, have created new challenges for those teaching the students who want to be teachers.

Because school shootings have changed the canvas, those teaching future educators have to paint the picture a little differently when it comes to making sure those future teachers are more equipped in terms of school safety, said Andrea Malmont, assistant professor of education at Shippensburg University.

Like other colleges, Shippensburg University can’t train its students to a specific protocol as each school district will have its own set of policies and procedures. It does, however, train them to ask appropriate questions to be able to see the overall safety picture at a school as early as during the interview for a teaching position.

“What does it mean when we have an active shooter or some type of trauma in a school? What does that look like? And where am I going to go to feel safe or my parents are going to come and find me and have that point of contact?” Malmont said, citing examples.

Teachers must also learn how to talk about the nuances of reacting in a particular situation in ways that are appropriate to the children’s stage of development, said Nicole Hill, dean of the College of Education and Human Services at Shippensburg University.

“How do you answer all the questions that emerge from a child who’s hearing, ‘We’re doing an active shooter training today?’” Hill said.

Responding to students

After Parkland, Shippensburg faculty recognized the questions with which their students were wrestling, and adjusted their teaching to address those issues.

“Right after Parkland, they wanted to know, ‘What do we do? How are we supposed to be prepared for this?’” Malmont said.

Teacher training needs to not only prepare teachers with the basics of what to do in an active shooter situation, but also with the skills to be able to have discussions with children following an event at any school.

Malmont dedicated a class to talking about these issues using a mix of ALICE and FEMA training. A training program created by law enforcement, ALICE is an acronym for alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate. In this training, the lockdown and evacuate portions are just that while alert refers to overcoming denial and becoming alert to the danger. Inform means communicating as it is safe to do so. Rather than fighting, counter means using a variety of actions that would distract the shooter to reduce the ability to shoot straight. Countering is always the last resort.

FEMA training contains the familiar elements of run, hide and fight, with fighting again coming as the last resort.

Neither one matches up perfectly to the school setting, but components do, and these became the basis for class discussions. Malmont and her students talked about the challenges of hiding with children with disabilities or running with a child who is afraid to move, among other scenarios.

Many of the future teachers fear they will say something wrong and scare the children, or they have concerns about children being children — like how do you keep squirming first-graders quiet? Malmont said the key is to use language that is appropriate as they continue to do the drills. Think about the example of a fire alarm. Children know what to do and are not afraid when the alarm goes off.

“If they didn’t ever practice it, they would be very afraid,” Malmont said.

The districts, however, have to walk a fine line between offering enough repetition to reduce fear and desensitizing children to the dangers.

It’s also vital to recognize the additional responsibility being placed on the teachers.

“Teachers have so many responsibilities already. They are really forging and shaping our next generation, so they have so many expectations that they are already carrying,” Hill said. “This is just one other component that I think adds a significant burden of expectation, and really can prevent teachers from really enjoying the role and embracing the role the way that we want them to be.”

Avoiding classroom

In the wake of Parkland, Hill has seen some students reconsider their intention to enter the profession.

“Some of this is so fearful that we’re seeing some of our teacher candidates not wanting to actually go and teach and be in the classroom. One of the reasons identified is the fear about things like this. It’s having a profound impact emotionally,” Hill said.

Wythe Keever, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania State Education Association, said the state has experienced a significant decline in the number of people enrolling in education programs as well as a similar decline in the number of teaching certificates issued.

It’s impossible, however, to trace the reason for teachers leaving the profession to school safety concerns because there is no organization or agency at the local, state or federal level that tracks why teachers leave.

“It’s reasonable to assume that some individual teachers leave the profession due to safety concerns, but the lack of data makes it impossible to quantify how many,” he said.

Citing a report from the nonprofit Center on Education Policy, Keever said issues like low pay, lack of administrative support, feeling ignored in education policy discussions and frustration with increasing demands are cited as factors influencing teacher morale.

“It’s important to note that this survey was conducted before the recent Parkland, Florida, school shootings, which undoubtedly has affected many people’s concerns about safety,” he said.

Mental health

Lynn Baynum, associate professor of education at Shippensburg, knows what it’s like to be the teacher in a class moving through trauma. When she was a teacher, a kindergarten student died. Grief counselors were called in, but it was apparent that a week of counseling would not be enough. The support was needed for months following the child’s death.

For Columbine, Parkland and Sandy Hook, the recovery may take longer, as it is coupled with the momentum to make schools safer.

“For those communities, this might not ever go away, but it shouldn’t go away for the rest of our communities either because it’s part of making us a stronger society as a whole,” Baynum said.

Research following the school shootings at Columbine and Sandy Hook showed that support systems helped people move toward recovery. Because of this, support systems can serve both a preventive role as well as a post-incident supportive role to mediate symptoms of trauma, Hill said.

“It’s not enough to have a crisis plan. You need more social workers and school counselors present every day in that building to help see … the triggers that students might be struggling with, to give support before there becomes these problems,” Baynum said.

However, this area of Pennsylvania is not well resourced in that it is not as connected to professionals who are well-trained in relation to trauma and can provide services to communities. It’s an area for which Hill said counselors, social workers, teachers and the community in its entirely need to advocate.

“We have to continue to look at ways that we support youth, we support our schools and we support our teachers to ensure that those learning environments are able to happen the way they are created to happen, which is to prepare our youth to be the future of our nation” she said.

Shippensburg is one of 13 institutions around the state that have partnered to create training in youth mental health first aid. As a certified youth mental health first aid instructor, Malmont will be able to offer eight-hour workshops prior to the student teaching experience. The partnership was created through a grant of the McDowell Institute that is associated with Bloomsburg University.

Youth mental health first aid identifies mental health signs and symptoms and teaches people appropriate ways to communicate using the resources that are present, Hill said.

“It’s one way that we are trying to be proactive in addressing some of these concerns with our teacher education students,” Hill said.

Students who graduate from Shippensburg go into their first teaching positions with a knowledge of what they should see and knowing what they should ask so they can be champions in the process of making schools safer themselves, Malmont said.

That includes asking questions about the options that are available for continual professional development as well as support across the district, especially in regard to mental health issues, Hill said.

According to the American School Counselor Association, the ratio of students to school counselors during the 2014-15 school year nationwide was 482 to 1. Pennsylvania fared slightly better at 395 to 1.

The association recommends a ration of 250 to 1.

Even without such a shortage, teachers need to be able to deal with the different types of trauma students face at home and in the community. They need to learn to recognize the impact of traumatic situations like the loss of a parent, the death of a teacher, natural disasters or suicide, among other issues, and know how to respond.

“How well are we preparing our teachers to address the mental health needs and to be responsive to students struggling with things?” Hill asked.

Schools need to be funded to a level that will provide mental health support including counselors, social workers and school psychologists.

“I don’t think that we are anywhere near where we could be in terms of preparing anyone in the school environment to talk with kids about their grief, to talk to about and explore, examine and support them through fear and anxiety,” Hill said.

She said she knows of a situation in a high school in which a student was murdered by two of her peers. The staff had to advocate for services to help students through the trauma in the face of an administration that didn’t want to talk about the event due to the ongoing investigation and its belief that school was not an appropriate place for counseling.

“From a counseling point of view, that’s the absolute worst thing you can do,” Hill said.

From classroom management to mental health issues to disaster training, Hill wants the collegiate educational experience for her students to prepare them for whatever challenges they may face.

“What I want for our students is that they graduate from our programs and pursue their careers and feel confident and competent that they have the knowledge and the problem-solving skills to be able … to navigate some of these challenges and crises and incidents that we can’t ever really, truly prepare for,” Hill said.

5 Questions
5 Questions: Dickinson College employee wins national honor

Dickinson College’s Dottie Warner recently received the highest honor bestowed by a professional organization for collegiate conference and event directors.

Warner was given the Jack Thornton Distinguished Service Award by the Association of Collegiate Conference and Event Directors—International for “distinguished service, devotion and dedication to the collegiate conference and events profession and to ACCED-I.”

According to the Dickinson College website, Warner has been a member of the association since 1988. She has served as the association’s regional director-elect, regional director, board member, treasurer, awards committee chair and more.

Warner is also active in the Carlisle community as a member of the Summerfair board and has served in various capacities with the United Way of Carlisle and Cumberland County.

Q. Would you first describe your role at Dickinson College?

A. I am the director of event planning and the Holland Union Building. My department is responsible for reserving all space on campus (for college-sponsored events and for community use of our facilities [including our large summer conference groups]), set-ups for campus events, audio visual support for campus events, and staffing the Holland Union Building. On July 6, I will have been at Dickinson for 42 years. I’ve been in this position since 1988.

Q. In what ways do you interact with the community as part of your work?

A. I am heavily involved with the United Way, having served as president of their board, a campaign co-chair, committee chair, etc. I’ve also been Dickinson’s representative on the Summerfair board since 1988.

Q. Could you tell us about a strange or unusual incident that you’ve had to deal with?

A. These aren’t strange or unusual incidents, but one of my favorite parts of my job is the people I’ve met, which include Academy Award-winner Sir Richard Attenborough, Nobel Peace Prize-winner Desmond Tutu, actor Antonio Banderas and former President Bill Clinton, to name a few.

Q. Tell us about the award you recently received. Did you know you were going to receive it before going to the conference?

A. I knew I had been nominated for the award by eight of my colleagues from eight different colleges and universities across the United States. Other people were also nominated so we didn’t know who the winner was until it was announced at the awards banquet at the annual conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, so it was a surprise. It is the highest award my association gives, and to be nominated by my peers for this award made just the nomination very special, and then to win was humbling.

Q. What makes Dickinson College, and Carlisle, special to you?

A. I was born and raised in the area, living in Plainfield before moving to Carlisle in 2007, so Carlisle and the surrounding area is special to me because it is truly my home and where the majority of my relatives live. Dickinson is special because it has afforded me so many opportunities over the years and has allowed me to grow professionally and personally.