Chardon High School shooting CNN interview shows media focus on school safety

Posted by on April 1, 2012

Media and parent questions about school safety following a school shooting make up what we often refer to as “the post-crisis crisis” for educators, law enforcement officials and their community partners.

School and safety leaders can expect to be asked tough, pointed questions about safety, security and emergency preparedness procedures in their schools. Gone are the days when educators can brush off questions after a school shooting with general or generic responses such as, “Schools are the safest place in the community.”

Parents and the media expect concrete, specific answers. And there are plenty of experts, consultants, books, web sites and other resources for the media and parents to find the questions to ask, and the best practices they should expect, related to school safety.

Almost immediately following a school shooting local and national media outlets are quick to pull data, video and reflections on past school shooting incidents. Today’s media conversation on school shootings often include discussions about the role of social media, the training and drills used to prepare school staff for shooting incidents, the response of educators and law enforcement to the incident, if and how these incidents can be prevented, and related topics.

Take a look at my interview with CNN’s Ashley Banfield conducted live from Chardon, Ohio, the day after the Chardon High School shooting:

School administrators and school safety / crisis teams often underestimate the impact the media will have on their immediate and long-term management of a school shooting or other high-profile incident. We will explore this subject in-depth in future blog posts.

Do your schools have crisis communications plans in addition to emergency / crisis response plans? Are school officials trained and prepared for managing parents and media communications in a school crisis?

Ken Trump

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