Crisis team prepared to help

September 22, 1997


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - In the aftermath of a tragedy such as the apparent slaying of Jessica Lynn Newell, schools in Berkeley County can look to a group of professionals to help with the emotional trauma that can result.

The Berkeley County Crisis Intervention Team was created a decade ago to come into the schools and assist when a tragedy strikes. Community Relations Director Mary Jo Brown said the school system began the process Friday, the day after Newell disappeared from Pikeside Bowl.

"We asked all the principals before the end of the school day to put on a safety announcement reminding all the students not to visit or stop and talk with strangers and go immediately home," Brown said Sunday night.


She said notifying the crisis intervention team is standard procedure.

Mary Ellen Clark, a school health nurse and co-chairperson of the team, said Sunday she had conferred with Berkeley Heights Elementary Principal Stephen Crowell and about 10 members of the team would be going there this morning.

School health nurse Jan Adams is a member of the team, which also includes school counselors, psychologists, clergy, hospice workers and emergency services personnel.

Adams, who has a masters degree in counseling, said the team will work with the school two or three days and, if necessary, make follow up visits later.

The team can also make referrals for private counseling, she said. Members will attend funeral and other services, with the approval of the family.

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