Crisis Management in Schools Introduction: Schools today are increasingly being exposed to critical man made incidents including shooting, stabbings, suicide, homicide and /or terrorist activities as well as natural and other disasters such as fire, traffic accidents, etc…
The implementation of such crisis management programs in schools however require extensive knowledge and access to crucial information about local contexts and surroundings, as well as detailed long term follow up plan. Following the rise in shooting incidents in schools across the United States various local and district authorities have insisted on development and implementation of appropriate crisis management frameworks. School is the single most social structure next to family, in the life of a child. It is hence imperative and obligatory for schools to ensure safety of all its students as well as its staff against unforeseen incidents. The role of schools in recent times has widened from merely providing educational support to offering safety and ensuring physical and emotional security to children in times of chaos and turmoil. This essay on crisis management in schools attempts to assess, explore and analyze the crisis management programs implemented in schools and suggests recommendations for implementing an effective crisis management programs which effectively addresses the needs and requirements of contemporary social environment. School policies for crisis management: It is imperative for schools to implement an appropriate and effective crisis management program at the district, school and classroom levels which includes the following critical elements (Lunenberg, and Irby, 2005): A clear definition of the term ‘crisis’ A clearly defined crisis communication policy A range of other policies aimed at prevention of violence within the school premises (i.e., violence prevention policies which prohibits any sort of violence) A zero tolerance policy with regard to drug abuse or possession of weapons and A strict intruder policy. Prepare an Emergency Operations Plan with detailed instructions about the scope of duties of each and every staff member when faced with a crisis situation. Furthermore it is advisable for the school administration to categorize the crisis management programs based on type of crisis likely to be encountered by them i.e. people oriented policies to address crisis situations arising out of medical emergencies, sudden intrusion of outside elements; shootings; abductions or terrorist threats etc., or based on natural and other disasters. The emergence and rising role of media entails an the implementation of an additional media response strategy which helps the staff to respond and deal with the media who tend to arrive immediately after hearing about the incident. Media relations have increasingly become crucial for schools today and must be implemented within the crisis management policies (Dunlap, 2012). Crisis Management Program: Key steps It is imperative for schools to implement basic policies and introduce key provisions with regard to preparation and planning, assess the vulnerability and develop mitigation responses; plan threat management guidelines; develop robust incident response procedures and plan and implement recovery activities. Each of these key activities are discussed in detail as follows: 1. Planning and preparation: Planning and preparation are critical elements in the process of developing a crisis management plan. The planning process must be flexible enough to enable the management to adapt to the dynamic external environment. Preparation on the other hand refers to the process of ...
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