The crisis is a critical organizational breakdown. It can be defined as a situation where your company’s reputation is at stake and there are negative consequences to it, if not handled properly. Managing a school is already a difficult task, and to top that, crisis circumstances make it even more challenging for them to maintain strong protection around the circulation of information. It’s harder to handle the situation as it doesn’t take time for the news to be widespread with the technological advancement we have been seeing. Crisis in school doesn’t only adversely affect the management but also the students, teachers, staff and parents related to it.
Crisis management is basically a part of Public Relations. PR professionals are experts in crafting and maintaining a reputation and image for their clients. PR works as a support system in disaster management for schools. It assesses, strategies, and demonstrates its plan for crisis relief under all conditions. No matter who is engaged, a school crisis directly threatens the safety of all the children and employees. PR experts analyze the crisis and make plans on how to respond at the right moment with the appropriate strategy. School crisis involves various disastrous forms, such as natural calamities, fire breakage, contagious diseases, safety concerns, management dispute and so on.
Now on how PR plans for the crisis management for schools:
Dissemination of Information:
The very first thing a PR professional will do is to inform the people who are directly related to the incident, such as students, teachers, staff and parents. PR experts make sure that they are well aware of the situation and the intensity of it. Dealing with them and making sure no wrong information has been widespread as it also involves their safety. PR makes sure to address these people, all while evaluating the situation and coming up with further planning.
Addressing the Media:
It doesn’t take the media and publications to reach out towards the crisis and publish it out for the general audiences. PR professionals, whose general tasks are to engage with these journalists and reporters, make sure that no such information is spread, which could harm the reputation of the school. PR, after closely evaluating the situation decides on addressing the media and providing timely response all while overseeing what data will be shared with the publications.
Making arrangements to handle the crisis:
The role of PR experts doesn’t only involve keeping the situation of a crisis under control, but to also makes sure that the crisis is being acknowledged and is being properly addressed with correct information. PR makes sure to appropriately coordinate with the spokesperson of the school or their response team to make sure they are on the same line. Conducting interviews, drafting press releases, creating statements and making sure they will be disseminated to the right media, is what PR does during these circumstances.
Handling the Aftermath:
Even after dealing with the whole crisis situation, there still will be pieces of information and talks going around, which hampers the growth of the school and its reputation. PR helps in showcasing the school side of the story and clears the doubts of audiences. It helps in balancing out the negativity by adding a positive perspective about the school. Leveraging the technology through online sites, news portals, social media and collaboration to create a plan for the healing of the damage. Even coordinating with the parents and updating them on the situation to maintain and assure loyalty and trust is what a PR expert deals with. PR also helps in diverting attention from the said crisis by emitting a positive side of the school.
Lastly, crisis is inevitable in any industry. Sometimes or the other a brand has to face it. But a school, a place where millions of children learn and grow should not be in a situation where it hampers the safety of those involved. Public relations for crisis management in school protects it from the bad impacts of these occurrences, allowing it to move on and focus on the future.