Blog Archives

Communicating school safety to parents: Superintendents and principals need strategic support on what to say, how to say it, and when to say it

Posted by on August 29, 2023

If we don’t better support superintendents and principals in becoming strategic school safety leaders and communicators, they will lose the trust and confidence of parents, students, staff, and their school communities. They might also lose their jobs. Yesteryear’s school safety communications spin no longer works During the first couple of decades of my school security […]

Five lessons from the NFL for school superintendents, boards and principals

Posted by on September 18, 2014

Domestic violence and child abuse cases involving National Football League (NFL) players have dominated the headlines this week. How the NFL and individual teams have managed, or in some aspects mismanaged, the cases have been even a bigger focus of news coverage. The NFL experience provides five important teachable moments for superintendents, school boards and principals […]

“Stand Up for Public Education” Campaign must include school safety

Posted by on March 19, 2014

Public school superintendents must proactively strengthen school safety and boost their communications about safe schools if they want to convince the public, government policymakers, and the media that high-quality public education can continue to succeed. The “Stand Up for Public Education” Campaign is a multi-year campaign spearheaded by The American Association of School Administrators, the […]

Lockdown communications with parents during school emergencies

Posted by on November 4, 2013

Few things scare a mother more than a lockdown or safety crisis at her child’s school. Fear makes calm, sensible people frantic and fierce. This is a tough time for schools. Their first priority is protecting children. A lockdown is serious business. School staffers are tied up assessing the threat, talking to police, making sure […]

When social media turns into trouble: School threats, rumors, fights and more

Posted by on June 10, 2013

They’re talking about your school on social media:  gossip on Facebook, school fights on YouTube, threats on Twitter. Every child with a cell phone, every driver who sees a bus accident, every parent who disagrees with a teacher…they’re all texting and tweeting and posting pictures, videos and comments. Do you know what they’re saying? Information […]

You do have a school Crisis Communications plan – don’t you?

Posted by on May 20, 2013

If you ever face a major crisis at your school – and we hope you don’t – you’ll learn the real meaning of the phrase “misery loves company.”  Hundreds of reporters will descend upon you, and they’re not just the local reporters on the education beat. You will face reporters from major newspapers and online […]

Beware of school safety analysts’ double-talk, mixed messages

Posted by on April 7, 2012

  School shootings are down, they are nothing new and they are not that common. But please fund my research proposal on school shootings, pay me thousands of dollars to teach you my model for assessing threats of shootings and hire my fellow consultant for a few thousand bucks to show you how many dozen guns he can conceal […]

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 […]

More of What Parents Want to Know About School Safety

Posted by on July 24, 2010

Prevention and preparedness.  Parents want to know about both of these school safety components. Could you and your school leaders answer these two questions with specific examples if asked unexpectedly? What specific steps have you taken to prevent incidents of violence and crime in your school(s)? How well prepared are your school staff to respond to and […]

Timely Parent and Media Communications on School Safety

Posted by on January 20, 2010

Failing to communicate school safety and crisis incidents to parents and the media in an effective and timely manner can become its own separate story.  It can also put a dent in the credibility of a school district and its leaders from the superintendent to the building principal. One reporter working on a story which questioned a school […]