PHILLIPS School is an accredited private U.S.D.E. Blue Ribbon school in Laurel, Maryland for students with behavior problems too extreme to attend their local school district. Administrators at PHILLIPS were searching for a crisis management training program to assist them with managing recurrent behavioral outbursts and aggression in their population of 160 students. Additionally, they wished to provide comprehensive safety training to their 90 staff members to support their well-being and reduce costly injuries.

PHILLIPS School serves children with multiple disabilities, behavioral problems, emotional difficulties, learning disabilities, mental retardation and autism. Aggression is a common presenting problem for students entering PHILLIPS. Their administrators wanted an evidence-based and established model that could be implemented consistently across all their programs.

After comparing our program to other nationally-recognized companies, PHILLIPS School chose Service Alternatives for our comprehensive approach to proactive crisis prevention and physical safety management. They were drawn to RIGHT RESPONSE in large part because of its philosophical bias toward proactive, holistic approaches to safety, and its emphasis on positive behavioral support. “We also wanted a strong background in non-physical techniques,” said Behavior Counselor Dan Harpel when addressing their goals for crisis response. This felt like a match with PHILLIPS.

“We had an impressive and dramatic shift in the number of incidents and how they get resolved,” reported Executive Director of Programs Lisa Ott, LCSW-C. “Every indicator was positive after the training and follow-through reinforcement.” The statistics showed a decrease in the amount of time in de-escalation, in restraint and the number of restraints performed. She concludes, “We have mostly the same staff and students since last year so there is a strong correlation with use of the RIGHT RESPONSE Workshop.



PHILLIPS Schools achieved dramatic results in their first quarter alone and showed sustained results (as seen above) in their first school year of implementation. Note that one student alone was responsible for over 50% of the escorts during a two month period.

Injuries to staff have also been significantly reduced. “I was reviewing their injury claims when I noticed their accident rate had dropped noticeably,” reported Mary Smith, their IWIF loss control representative while requesting more information for the other schools she supports. “I asked at PHILLIPS what they had done to reduce their accident rate and they told me they implemented training from Service Alternatives.”

Appealing as well was the easy-to-use training curriculum. PHILLIPS Behavior Supervisor Bill Prestianni, LCPC, reported the program to be more teachable than others. He said, “The workbook is written for adult learners and easy to follow, both for trainers and for workshop participants.” He has had such a good experience and result that he wishes to help others benefit from RIGHT RESPONSE Workshops as well.

For more information on the PHILLIPS Programs, see their website at:

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