Beyond the “Victim”

Secondary Traumatic Stress
  • Charles R. Figley
  • Rolf J. Kleber
Part of the The Plenum Series on Stress and Coping book series (SSSO)


A local elementary-school janitor walked into a cafeteria in Florida in the United States, filled with chattering schoolchildren, and shot his supervisor in the chest with a shotgun. As a children and teachers watched in horror, the murderer left the room, fired the remaining shot over the playground, and left the campus. The county sheriff’s office caught the man within an hour. The elementary school implemented its “code blue” system, which kept all children safely in their classrooms, while school counselors from throughout the county converged to provide crisis counseling. School officials informed parents of the events and provided suggestions for helping their children overcome the extreme event. Indeed, the plans for protecting children and promoting their emotional recovery were state-of-the-art, and the school system carried them out effectively. All the “victims” were cared for. All, except the parents of the children. However, they, too, were confronted with the frightening experience. They listened to the stories of the children and the officials. They identified with the reactions of their children. And they felt angry and frightened.


Traumatic Event Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Traumatic Stress Compassion Fatigue Vietnam Veteran 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles R. Figley
    • 1
  • Rolf J. Kleber
    • 2
  1. 1.Psychosocial Stress Research ProgramFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Clinical and Health PsychologyUtrecht University, and Institute for PsychotherapyUtrechtThe Netherlands

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