School Crisis Management
Top School Crisis Fears
In our experience at Media Manoeuvres, these are the top 6 school crisis fears that keep school leaders awake at night:
- Death or injury to students on excursion or camp
- Bullying and other bad behaviour, including sexting
- Criminal charges against staff
- Traditional and social media campaigns by disgruntled parents
- Financial mismanagement and inappropriate governance
- Adverse mental health of staff and students
In the smartphone age, everyone can film and publish on their smartphone – it will all be captured and can be distributed within seconds of the event. A school public relations crisis situation can occur in minutes! Just Google ‘school bus crash’ AND ‘YouTube’ for evidence.
However, each school has its own unique concerns from a public affairs perspective and needs to be equipped with the best strategies to deal with issues in a rather dynamic socio-political environment as and when issues arise.
Media Manoeuvres work with you to conduct a risk assessment and create a school crisis management plan. We quickly and effectively identify the issues and risks that can potentially impact your school’s reputation and attempt to minimise risk, increase compliance and improve your team’s capability to manage a crisis.
We involve all levels of staff in this plan - from the head of school to receptionists, first-year teachers (who love Facebook) and security staff. Issues Management is a process, and everyone has a vital role to play in protecting a school’s reputation in the long-term.
Media Manoeuvres has a well-established reputation as school crisis management experts. We provide strategic issues, crises planning, problem solving and organisational media skills coaching to many national and international educational institutions and schools. Before the media calls, schools call us to formulate key messages aimed at resolving the issue and avoiding potential problems.
Speak to the Expert: Sam Elam, Managing Director of Media Manoeuvres
Sam Elam is a media strategist, corporate communications expert and founder of Media Manoeuvres. She has been involved in the communications, publishing and media fields for the past 25 years.
Sam’s passion and appreciation of the power of all forms of media and the importance of issues and crisis management and issues resolution, led her to found Media Manoeuvres in 1998. Sam quickly established the company as one of the most respected, specialist companies in Australia.
Sam has assisted numerous school Principals in identifying and resolving risks and issues, to mitigate the significant risk posed to schools’ reputations when dealing with seemingly minor incidents and events and fully blown media crises.
The types of issues she has directly handled include:
- Serious accidents and injuries
- Inappropriate teacher behaviour
- Inappropriate student behaviour
- Sexual misconduct
- Child pornography
- Parent litigation and complaints run through media
- Negative viral social media commentary
- School-related court proceedings
- School under-performance
- School management and leadership
- Principal appointments
- Teacher terminations
- School fee increases
Sam regularly consults and presents to the following organisations regarding media engagement and planning in the event of a crisis, issues management and as part of their leadership team’s professional development:
- Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA) Chair and Councils Governance conference
- AHISA’s new members’ conference
- Victorian Ecumenical Systems of Schools (VESS)
- Educate Plus
Awards & Achievements
Sam has won numerous industry awards, is a member of the RMIT PR course advisory committee, a keynote speaker and in 2012 was honoured with the PR industry’s most prestigious award when she was invited to be a Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia.
- Communication with parents during a crisis
- Tragic death of a student on school camp
- Interview with the Principal of Melbourne Girls Grammar
- Prestigious Sydney girls’ school sets a new benchmark for how to respond to prejudice
- Historical sexual abuse in schools
- Drugs in schools – what would you do if the media comes knocking?