Need help now? Call 216.321.7774

Why Should a Local School System (K-12) Reach Out To a Crisis Communications Firm?

By Stephanie York, JD, Vice President, Hennes Communications

Q: Why should a local school system (K-12) reach out to a crisis communications firm?

A:  Quick – What’s the single highest priority for a public, private, independent or parochial school?  It’s not education.  It’s safety.  And just one part of that safety net is making sure the communications team has a crisis communications plan at their fingertips should the need arise.  Here are just a few reasons your school district may want to call us, or another reputable and vetted crisis communications firm:

  • When the you-know-what hits the fan, most school communication directors simply don’t have the skill set needed to handle a crisis (as we often tell CEO’s, the skill set that got you into the C-Suite doesn’t automatically mean you have the skill set to manage your way out of a bet-the-farm crisis situation). The practice of public relations and crisis communications are very different — and applying the tactics of one to the other is done at your peril.
  • When confronted with a serious issue, a school district must be able to seamlessly continue day-to-day operations while at the same time communicating proactively and transparently with its stakeholders, i.e., students, teachers, staff, parents, local government agencies and others. Unless you have a crisis communications plan that’s easy to use and has been road-tested, you may need to call in the experts to get those first communications out to your stakeholders fast, before the rumor mill and social media posts take over the narrative.
  • When you need a communications partner who can quickly assess a developing situation, build a strategy and help you execute that strategy to keep all of your stakeholders – including the media – fully informed of new developments.
  • When you want your school administrators to be properly prepared and positioned to both react well amid a crisis and come out of it stronger for the experience. It’s true that a school district’s reputation is as important to its residents and community as it is to those working at and attending the school.  A seasoned crisis communications firm can train your administrators and staff to be prepared, offering crisis communications seminars for your team and on-camera media training for your spokespersons.  Trust us, you don’t want your first TV interview to be when the reporter is standing at your office door barking questions at you with the camera running.  Connect with a crisis communications firm before the crisis and get trained.

In order to best prepare your school district to successfully communicate during a crisis, it’s always best to have an established relationship with a qualified crisis communications firm or consultant.  But first, you should conduct due diligence to make certain that consultant or firm truly has the deep experience necessary – and you should do it now before you are in the midst of a crisis.  Precious time is lost if you are scouting a crisis team at the onset of a crisis.

Hennes Communications has been vetted by the Ohio School Board Association and is their crisis communications team of choice.  Under an exclusive contract with us, all OSBA schools get ½ hour of advice from us for free—and quite often, that may be all you need.

We work in all 50 states, so if you need us, we’re open 24/7/365 at 216-321-7774.

Contact Us

Your name Organization name Describe your situation Your phone number Your email address
Leave this as it is