In our current post 9/11 era and the constant threat of terrorism as well as the public awareness of those threats, the public and private sector workplace has established a crisis management or communication plan. Dating back to April of 1999 and the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado, schools have been implementing and upgrading their crisis management plan along with crisis prevention. The potentiating violent acts get the most attention to prevention and management if one is to occur. Furthermore, for a crises to occur, a violent act does not have to happen but it can be a health scare, a faculty member committing a crime, school building structure failures, or severe weather affecting the school (Moore, 2012). Therefore, each school district should have a crisis management and communication plan in place for any possible event that would put the school in the parental or media spotlight (Estep, 2013).
Basics of a Crisis Management Plan
When a crisis occurs in a school, the parents and local community look to the leadership of the school district to be properly informed of the incident that has occurred (Gainey, 2010). For schools, a crisis management and communication plan basics will be the same but may vary slightly due to the nature and culture of the local community (Moore, 2012). Each district should create their own plan as this ensures ownership and knowledge of the plan (Moore, 2012). As a result, each plan should have foundational items that are consistent with emergency service protocol. The items that should be included are: Why have a plan, potential types of situations or crisis that could occur, proper protocol to response, key phone numbers, detailed maps of each school buildi...
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...ndbook, and practiced. Each stakeholder must know their role once a crisis response plan is engaged (Gainey, 2010). While developing a crisis management process, the superintendent, board of education, key faculty members and local emergency agencies should be involved in the planning (Moore, 2012). Each team member should know their role and rehearse the plan of action so when a crisis arises, the protocol that is in place may mitigate any potentiating failure within the system. Furthermore, crisis management protocol should be part of every school district as it is not a question if an emergency happens, but when one does, is the school and its stakeholders prepared to handle it? Therefore, developing and evolving a crisis management plan is essential for the safety and well-being of our school aged children and young adults should be a priority (Moore, 2012).
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