Good Analyzing A School’s Crisis Plan Essay Example
In August every year, teachers, parents, students, and administrators ready themselves for a new school year. With this New Year, there are great expectations as well as anticipation. The administrators hope for a successful year, full of major achievement. The possibility of a crisis occurring on campus is far from most students’ minds. However, the reality is that the possibility of such events taking place is real. This is more so when we consider the uncertain times that we live in today. Various issues, such as gang violence and terrorism, as well as unemployment all present sources of concern. Thus, it is imperative that schools have well-crafted crisis plans to deal with these occurrences. This paper reviews the Yutan Public Schools crisis plan and looks at the well-designed components as well as possible areas of concern, with a bias towards communication related aspects.
In public schools, the primary responsibility is to provide students, staff, and the public with a safe and secure environment. This duty of care falls on the school through the “in loco parentis” doctrine. Thus, the Nebraska Department of Education requires Yutan Public Schools to establish clear policies on crises response. A crisis refers to any event likely to threaten students and staff safety and security. These events are also likely to escalate in intensity and disrupt normal school functions. These events may also involve the media, disrupt learning, and jeopardize the image of the school.
In Yutan Public Schools, a crisis management plan is in place. This plan takes into consideration Red Cross recommendations on crises management stages. The first of these stages is mitigation and prevention. This is followed by preparedness, response, and finally by recovery. In as far as, crisis planning is concerned; communication is among the primary and integral aspects.
In matters of communication, one area that this plan scores highly in is on the provision of avenues of communication. The plan ensures that it is easy for people to reach the relevant parties in case of the occurrence of an emergency. This plan does this by making the numbers of all the Safety and Crisis committee members public. All the cell phone numbers of the committee members appear in the plan. This ensures that it is easy to contact the relevant parties directly, which gives them ample time to prepare a response.
Apart from the numbers of the committee members, the response numbers of the law enforcement and fire services are also included. These include the police, Sheriff’s Office, and State Patrol. The inclusion of these numbers is crucial since it allows for a speedy response during emergencies.
The other aspect of communication that the Yutan Public Schools plan excels in is the relationship with the media. Since crises often attract massive media attention, lack of proper planning can cause the exaggeration of the issue. This is because the media’s role is to give news, and if they lack an appropriate source for this information, they will tend to spread any rumors that come their way. The Yutan Schools Plan recognizes that the best way to give information to the public is via the mass media.
Hence, in line with this, the plan strives to put in place structures that ensure that the media receives accurate information promptly. The plan discourages isolated quotes by individuals since these may be misleading. Communication is as a critical aspect of any crisis, and thus, the dissemination of truthful information is vital.
During times of crisis, the Yutan Public Schools news media policy is explicit that professional media ethics must apply. This insistence is in line with the school’s responsibility to protect the students.
The school recognizes that young people have a particular vulnerability during periods of stress. Thus, an overly intrusive media presence would only serve to disrupt them more. Thus, the restriction of media to their designated areas and the denial of unauthorized student interviews are important. This is because it ensures that the students are not subjected to any extra pressure. Such pressure could prove detrimental to their welfare.
The Yutan Public Schools crisis response plan generally excels in many areas. Another area in which the plan excels is in the post event communication to parents. The plan gives a specific layout of the steps to follow when notifying parents about incidents involving their children. It is imperative that parents get awareness about the occurrence of an incident as soon as possible. This is important since it helps the school to absolve itself of allegations of attempting to cover up incidents.
Good communication is the key to avoidance of panic. However, the plan also recognizes that there is a need to establish the facts before passing any information onwards. This plan advises parents to keep TV’s and radios on during crises periods so that they can stay constantly informed. In case a student’s life is lost, the plan gives a compassionate way of relaying this news to the parents.
The Yutan Public Schools plan is generally excellent all round and particularly in the communication aspect. However, it has a few areas of concern. One of these areas is the lack of focus on prevention. A good crisis management plan must emphasize on prevention of the occurrence of the incident as opposed to response. However, this plan lacks sufficient information on how students can prevent these occurrences.
For instance, the threat of suicide bombers or such terrorist attacks is a great one. Fellow students who have been radicalized often carry out some of these attacks. Hence, the plan should have communications on where students can report radicalization issues. The plan should also provide for a way in which students can give information on suspicious occurrences or people that they have noticed. This would ensure that the relevant law enforcement officers are able to react before the incident actually occurs. This would prevent the death and losses that would otherwise have resulted.
As a teacher, I have often had to deal with crises where the crisis response plan came in handy. The procedure laid out in the crisis plan proved to be an efficient way of dealing with the issue. One of these situations relates to when I was a young, freshly recruited teacher. During this period, I was teaching in a school, which was located in a poor neighborhood where drug use and crime were high. The issue of gang-related drug violence also posed a big problem.
Several of the students in the school were involved with these gangs, and one such student occasioned this incident. Some young men from rival gangs had clashed in a quarrel over turf wars on a particular Thursday evening. The incident had culminated in one gang member suffering serious knife injuries. His fellow gang members had noticed the young man who was responsible for the knifing, and had pledged to avenge it.
After tracing him to our school, these gang members decided to follow him to school and attack him. Thus, on the Friday afternoon following the knife attack, just as school was about to break, the gang attacked. These assailants bore crude weapons such as baseball bats and knives. On noticing the young man leaving a literature class, the gang started chasing after him. This caused pandemonium in the school, with students fleeing all over to escape the gang. Since I happened to be in the vicinity, I immediately dialed the campus security as well as the school administration.
This procedure was in line with standard procedure in the crisis plan. The school administration then immediately announced over the intercom that there were intruders in the compound. Students were advised to lock their classrooms and remain inside until informed otherwise. Soon, the hallway was clear as students responded. In the meantime, campus security arrived and immediately swung into action.
They were able to apprehend the culprits before they could pounce on the students. Upon arresting them, they notified the school administration. A member of the school administration then went round the classes opening them, and notifying students that it was safe to leave. Hence, in this case, the school crisis plan, of which the students were aware, helped to save the day. Implementation of the plan’s provisions ensured a speedy response and no harm resulted.
Kennedy, M. (2004). On alert [School security supplement]. American School & University, 76(6), SS4-SS7.
Kindred, L. W., Bagin, D., & Gallagher, D. R. (2012). The school and community relations (10th ed.). Boston: Pearson.
The masters of disaster. (n.d.). Retrieved April 16, 2015, from American Red Cross: www.redcross.org/disasters/intro.html
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