Safety and teamwork focus of STAIR training

Published 9:08 am Thursday, June 29, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

What is the best course of action if a student or classroom intruder becomes violent?

This was one of the topics of the Soft Tactical Aggressive Individual Restraint techniques program offered this week at Chilton County High School.

Teachers from Clanton and Jemison schools, the Department of Human Services, Clanton Police, Canton Fire, The Wellness Group, District Judge Chris Speaks and 19th District Chief Deputy District Attorney C.J Robinson participated in the four-day training session.

David Hicks of the Clanton Police Department said this was the first time all of these agencies had come together for hands-on training on safely “responding to mental and behavioral crisis situations.”

The seminar kicked off with an exercise demonstrating the importance of communications to reach a common goal. Later, Speaks gave an overview of the court system as it relates to those who have mental medical conditions.

CCHS assistant principal Rosalyn Dixon the most important part of the classes were the preventative de-escalation techniques.

Hicks said this addressed “how to use your voice, your body language to try and calm or de-escalate someone.”

“We want to prevent having to go hands on with somebody, hands on is the last option,” Hicks said.

Restraint and calming holds were also demonstrated.

“The physical side shows us how to take someone down without hurting them,” Ron Giles of the Clanton Police Department said. “We can get them off balance and get them under control without having to hurt someone.”

Learning the specific holds allow teachers to have a safe way to address the situation.

“I think it is really important for teachers to know how to protect themselves as well as the students,” Dixon said.

The training gave each group a chance to share what has worked well for them.

“What it basically is doing is building a working relationship between all of these agencies because at some point in time we all deal with someone that is having a mental or behavioral crisis,” Hicks said.

Hicks said such situations can be the result of a medical condition, drugs, alcohol or simply someone having a bad day.

“The difference between dealing with someone with a mental situation and a typical bad guy that just wants to hurt somebody is they may not realize what they are doing, so it needs to be about not really hurting them,” Hicks explained.

How to restrain someone until law enforcement arrived and effective ways to release a restraint while a police officer puts them in handcuffs or soft restraints was discussed. Soft restraints are used in situations when traditional handcuffs could cause injury, such as someone excessively struggling to get free or someone who will be restrained for a long period of time.

“This training prepares you to work alongside law enforcement,” Dixon said.

She said it was also important to her know the legal implications of a situation and things that local law enforcement have faced.

Robinson explained legal limitations and “court cases that affect teachers what they can and can’t do in a classroom,” Hicks said.

Advanced first aid on what to do if someone is having difficulty breathing was also discussed.