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Information retrieved from the Crisis Prevention Institute

Top 10 De-escalation Tips for Educators @ SWMS 21st CenturyPresented by: Dr. Nikki Jackson, Site CoordinatorWhen: March 15, 2024Time: 3:00 p.m.Location: Cafeteria (in-person)

  • Allow silence for reflection
  • Avoid overreacting
  • Focus on feelings
  • Use nonthreatning noverbals
  • Respect personal space


  • Choose what you insist upon wisely
  • Ignore challenging questions
  • Set Limits

Allow time for decisions

  • Be Empathetic



Every day and every situation will not be identical as the day and the situation before, but let's make tomorrow better. Together, we can "Change the Narrative."Dr. J.

and supportive statements

Quick tips for De-escalation

Avoid Descrediting Feelings

When a scholar says or does something you perceive as weird or unusual, they are in fact REAL feelings to that scholar. Pay attention to them. To them, in that moment, those feelings are justified.

Feelings are Feelings: Nonjudgemental

Restating and paraphrasing what they said: use their words and ask questions to clarify.

Use positive nonverbal messages, such as eye contact and head nodding.

Listen carefully to their feelings & the facts they're providing.

Give the scholar your "undivided attention

1. Be empathetic & Nonjudgmental

Distance brings us together

Personal space

Personal space decreases anxiety and reduces the chance of the scholar to lash out. If necessary, talk through your movements to reduce confusion.

If the space allows, stand between 1-3 feet away from the person who's exhibiting escalated behaviors.

#2 Respect Personal Space

When a scholar is angry or upset, they may not be able to think clearly.1. Give them "think-time" to process the moment.2. Avoid rushing student to respond to their actions.3. Avoid words or actions that increase anxiety for you and the scholar.

3. Allow time for Decisions

With Smiles, Dr. J

Breathe...You can do this

Be mindful of:

  • gestures
  • facial expressions
  • movements
  • tone of voice
The more a scholar escalates into distress, the less they can process choice of words. This requires patience and attention to our reactions.

When behavior begins to escalate, nonverbals become critical factors for communications to diffuse the situation.

4. Use Nonthreatning Nonverbals

When a scholar is defensive, disruptive, or belligerent, they need limits that are clear, simple, and enforceable.1. Let's take a walk2. Breathe in slowly3. Let's lower our voice.4. Allow me to help you with this.Talk out or state what is expected. These limits should be enforceable-not punishable.

5. Set Limits

For Better or Worse

Foster/Ward of the State




The data we HAVE ACCESS to provides a narrative to the story we see revealed in our students' behavior. What about the UNKNOWN? How do we maintain the framework of this HOUSE if we do not know, truly, what is holding it up?**McKinney Vento (homeless)

Experienced trauma

Low SES$ & Mindset



Who's in our House?

#6 Focus on Feelings

When managing escalating behaviors, how a scholar feels is often the catalyst of the moment. Offer supportive responses to help them filter their thoughts such as:1. That must be scary.2. I know how hard that must have been for you.3. How did that make you feel?


The scholar is loud. The scholar is disruptive...but...


Let the silence do the heavy lifting. This gives both teacher & student a chance to reflect on what's happening, & how to proceed.

Choose what you insist upon wisely

Aviod Overreacting

Your reaction (calm, rational, and professional) has a direct impact on the situation at hand.(It's simple math)*Do Not ENGAGE.

Ignore Challenging Questions

When a scholar challenges your authority, redirect their attention to the issue at hand. Avoid power struggles in the moment.S.T.O.P (Stop. Think. Observe. Process)




Don't Take the Bait

10. Allow Silence for Reflection

This silence permits an opportunity for the staff and student to reflect on the matter at hand and how best to move forward.


That'sall folks!