A house fire kills a beloved teacher. A student dies of illness or in a violent incident. An educator experiences a workplace assault or robbery. These and other traumatic events take place regularly in the life of a school system that comprises more than 1.1 million students and the adults who serve them.
Did you know there’s a place to turn for support — both at and away from your work site — when tragedy strikes?
It’s the Victim Support Program, co-sponsored by the UFT’s Safety and Health Department and the New York City Department of Education. The program is housed at union headquarters in Manhattan, but there is also a program liaison at each UFT borough office. All assistance is free and strictly confidential.
The liaison’s function is to help members with forms and procedures, provide assistance in dealing with the New York Police Department and other criminal justice agencies and conduct violence-prevention workshops. Other UFT program staff will accompany members who need medical assistance if they have been assaulted on the job.
The Victim Support Program’s trained mental health professionals, meanwhile, offer confidential counseling and crisis intervention, and they work in conjunction with the UFT Member Assistance Program to provide appropriate counseling referrals.
Aftermath of workplace incidents
If you have suffered a workplace assault, robbery or harassment, you may find yourself experiencing:
- Feelings of vulnerability, anxiety, fear, anger or depression
- Confusion about procedures and forms to be filled out
- Frustration due to the amount of paperwork involved in securing your medical benefits, claiming line-of-duty injury or dealing with law enforcement or other agencies
- Apprehension about returning to work
In all these cases, don’t hesitate to call the Victim Support Program. Victim Support staffers can help you cope with the aftermath of a workplace incident and will support you as you strive for recovery from what is often a professionally and personally traumatic event.
- Counseling by mental health professionals who are specially trained and experienced in working with people suffering from trauma.
- Visits to schools following a sudden loss or violent incident that affects the larger school community.
- Help with forms and procedures.
- Assistance in dealing with the Police Department and other criminal justice agencies.
- Accompaniment to court or the Department of Education’s medical bureau.
Learning to spot the warning signs
Do you have the tools to avoid and defuse violent situations in school?
Through violence-prevention training, educators learn ways to stay safe. They acquire psychological strategies and techniques for effectively handling school situations that have the potential for violence.
Trained facilitators conduct workshops in schools and UFT borough offices. They help participants:
- Understand the dynamics of violence, aggression, hostility and acting-out behaviors.
- Develop safe strategies for interactions with violence-prone individuals.
- Learn practical techniques for defusing potential violence and aggression.
If your school has suffered from a traumatic event or you are interested in receiving training in violence prevention, contact your borough’s Victim Support Program coordinator.