Gallatin High School, Bozeman, MT

Start Date: 2021-12-06

Description: Monday, Dec. 6th – 7:45 – 1:00. We started with Gail and Lamar greeting the staff coming into the Auditorium for the morning update and official message alerting students to the recent death of a junior (due to congenital health issues). This loss was so unexpected as the student was fine last Friday in school. After the meeting, we were asked to follow the student’s morning class schedule, check into the counseling area for possible student support needs, and visit with students in the hallways during passing time. That covered four class periods as well as lunch. We utilized two Canine Teams: Gail with Lamar from 8-11:00 and Carol with Maggie from 10:30-1:00. Total contacts for the day ~ 200 +…Emotions were HIGH with both students and teachers! Tuesday, Dec. 7th – 8:30 – Noon. Again, we followed the morning class schedule of the student who died, checked in with the counseling area and were a presence in the hallways between classes. Today, both students and staff seemed more focused, emotions were more contained, and routines seemed more normal. There were fewer students self-reporting to the counseling area for additional support. Counselors were conducting follow-up meetings with students most impacted. Many students within the general population were very excited to see the dogs again today. Lamar was recognized and called by name and Katherine’s Layla was greeted eagerly as the “new” dog on campus! Both dogs had some important one on one time with 1-2 students just needing to sit and pet the dog for a while! Approximately 100+ contacts today. This is a unique school…having just opened in 2020-21 (new second high school in Bozeman). So, on top of trying to establish a sense of "community" within the building, they are dealing with on-going pandemic issues, and several stressful student/staff related deaths and/or injuries across the school district…STRESS LEVELS REMAIN HIGH!

Agency: Bozeman School District's Crisis Response Team
Teams: Gail Richardson with Lamar, Carol Baumann with Maggie, and Katherine Howe with Layla