"I notice that when people are very upset, the more limits you put on them, the more they want to act out. So I let them act out...I would rather you verbally act out and release all that ugliness." - Maria Navone
Listen to Unrestrained, Episode 12! Maria Navone, Safety Assistant and Lead Instructor of Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® for the Milwaukee Public School District, talks about de-escalating the aggressive behaviors of acting-out students who have significant challenges outside of school.
Check out the entire Unrestrained podcast series: http://bit.ly/1ygLSGr
-- On convincing administrators to commit to crisis prevention training (11:35) --
"(Administrators recognize the training is effective) especially when they attend themselves, because I have a lot of principals that, unfortunately, sometimes are reluctant to send staff because it is a two-day training, and I do understand that it requires some commitment on their part having staff out of the building. But what I try to tell them is the more staff you have trained, the more comfortable and confident they’re going to be in handling situations and the less administrative work that you have to do, really.
"Because if they’re handling their situations in the classroom, maintaining that classroom management control aspect of it, there are less referrals that are being written, the less disciplinary problems that you’re dealing with. And so now that they’re starting to attend the classes themselves, they’re starting to see more about what it is we’ve been trying to tell them for quite some time."
-- On setting limits with students (37:04) --
"I notice that when people are very upset at (a) particular time, the more limits you put on them, the more they want to act out. So I let them act out. I would rather you verbally act out and release all that ugliness than me have to put my hands on you because you’re trying to physically attack me. I’ve got all day as far as I’m concerned. When it comes to intervention, I can talk my way out of any situation because I’ve got all day. But when you make the decision to put your hands on someone, you take it to a whole other level that you have no control over. Literally, sometimes you really don’t have control because accidents can happen in the blink of an eye."
-- An example of a student Maria is called to work with (38:48) --
"Here’s a young man who is 10 years old. He just moved from Chicago. He has a very young mother. Unfortunately, when he was seven years old, he witnessed someone being shot in the face point-blank. He was involved in the commission of a crime. He was in the car as a crime took place. He was also sexually molested by two of his mother’s boyfriends. Not only was he sexually molested, he was given two sexually transmitted diseases.
"That’s just the tip of that little iceberg. And he was so angry because first of all let me just describe for you a tiny little, cute little boy whose clothes—he looks like he’s literally waiting for the next flood. His pants are so high; his shoes are so small; his toes literally look like they’re coming out of his shoes. His sleeves on his shirt, which was supposed to be a long-sleeve shirt, were now three-quarter length. He’s telling us that when he was selling weed, when he was selling drugs, everybody wanted to be involved with him and everybody wanted to do things for him and take him places.
"He said, “And that social worker—” What did he call her? I want to say, “The counselor keeps telling me I’m a little boy. I need to act like I’m a little boy. So I decided that I’m going to stop selling weed.” This is this child talking. “Now that I’m not selling weed no more, nobody wants anything to do with me. Nobody cares about me. Nobody takes me anywhere. My only mom, I haven’t heard from her. You see these clothes I have on my back? I bought these clothes. You know what my mama has done for me? Nothing. Nothing.” This is him talking to us."