In the last three videos, I outlined what I consider to be the first three steps to take when communicating during a crisis situation. These steps are:

Step 1: Get as many facts as you can, as quickly as you can.

Step 2: Determine your communication responsibilities.

Step 3: Line up your team.

Now, before moving on, I want to ask a rhetorical question: Who owns the news?

The fact is that, when a crisis situation occurs in your school or district, and the event involves police, a sheriff’s department, or other similar authorities, the answer is often: not you.

There can be situations in which something happens in the school or district but the sheriff or police release information about it. This is especially problematic because those authorities have different guidelines, or discretion, for releasing the names of students.

Here is a tip: Build relationships now. Sometimes being a school leader means being an advocate for students, especially if they are victims. What is in the police report is often the basis of what makes the news. It is reasonable to ask for details to be redacted, especially if this action would protect students.

Remember, Wisconsin AWSA and WASDA members can receive free crisis communications assistance from the Donovan Group. You can reach the Donovan Group at any time by calling 414-409-7225.