ERIC Number: EJ982359
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
The Post-Crisis Crisis: Managing Parent and Media Communications
Trump, Kenneth S.
School Administrator, v69 n4 p39-42 Apr 2012
Student and parent use of cell phones, text messaging and social networking through Facebook and Twitter can quickly become the enemies of a superintendent and principal. Rumors and misinformation about threats and other student safety issues that used to take hours and days to spread now goes viral in seconds. This rapid dissemination of information and misinformation expedites the flocking of parents to the school in the midst of a crisis. The media calls begin to accumulate, and reporters and camera crews may arrive at the scene as fast as district officials and police investigators. School administrators must move quickly to manage not only the emergency itself but also the parents and press that arrive at the school's doorstep, often while the incident is still unfolding. School leaders need to go beyond establishing prohibitions or limitations on the use of these communications tools and networks. Set rules and communicate them clearly to students, parents and staff. But instead of running away from the increasing use of digital communication, school leaders ought to embrace it and turn the technology into an asset for better managing safety and crisis messages. Tap into parent use of cell phones and texting by using mass parent notification systems with voice and text-messaging capabilities to share information quickly in a crisis. Many parents are using smartphones to communicate with their kids and to network with other parents. Be prepared to deliver urgent messages to them by the methods they prefer. Turn Twitter, Facebook and other social networks from high-risk enemies to tools to use in the district day by day and especially in a crisis. School leaders must work to change decades of a culture in K-12 education where parent and media communications on school safety, security and emergency preparedness have been reactive, not pro-active. Today's rapidly evolving world of digital communications, multimedia journalism and information-hungry members of the school community require a new approach to communication.
Descriptors: Social Networks, Handheld Devices, Information Dissemination, Parents, Communications, School Administration, Parent School Relationship, Instructional Leadership, Time, Technology Uses in Education, School Safety, Crisis Management, Emergency Programs, Elementary Secondary Education, Communication Skills, Journalism, News Media
American Association of School Administrators. 801 North Quincy Street Suite 700, Arlington, VA 22203-1730. Tel: 703-528-0700; Fax: 703-841-1543; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.aasa.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Colorado; Texas; United States