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School Tragedies A Perspective on Lessons Learned Rick J. Kaufman, APR Crisis Response Team Leader Columbine High School Tragedy.

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Presentation on theme: "School Tragedies A Perspective on Lessons Learned Rick J. Kaufman, APR Crisis Response Team Leader Columbine High School Tragedy."— Presentation transcript:

1 School Tragedies A Perspective on Lessons Learned Rick J. Kaufman, APR Crisis Response Team Leader Columbine High School Tragedy

2 A Perspective on Lessons Learned A Visual RemembranceA Visual Remembrance A Time to Remember, A Time to Hope Dispelling the Columbine MythsDispelling the Columbine Myths The Truth Behind What Happened What Did We Learn?What Did We Learn?

3 A Perspective on Lessons Learned A Leadership TestA Leadership Test Response defines the organization; be credible A Communication TestA Communication Test Foundation for planning, response & recovery A Professional TestA Professional Test Emerging as a leader & key adviser

4 A Perspective on Lessons Learned In preparation… If you start off behind, you will stay behind Being proactive only keeps you even Identify chain of command for decision-making, what to do if it breaks down Site, district plans must have contingencies Crisis plans must be specific, automatic, tested

5 A Perspective on Lessons Learned In preparation… Establish inter-agency protocols in advance Provide parents/students advance notice of crisis plan, their role in the process Know who to call; trust in the folks who have the expertise in dealing with crisis

6 A Perspective on Lessons Learned During the crisis… Mobilize response team to shield the site, students & staff from outside forces Make call for assistance before its too late Understand its not business as usual Act in short-term, think in long-term You need soldiers, generals on front lines Know key messages and stick to them!

7 A Perspective on Lessons Learned During the crisis… Dont let media dominate your time, attention Stay focused on target audiences Internal communication is more important View crisis from outside in to gauge public Anticipate external political, personal agendas Prepare for ripple effect and copycats

8 A Perspective on Lessons Learned During the crisis… Maintain active rumor control Balance privacy rights of individuals (FERPA) with publics right to know Understand law enforcement have other standards for releasing information that may be protected by FERPA, organizational policies Be firm on media access to facilities, people; no favorites

9 A Perspective on Lessons Learned In the aftermath… Crisis has long-term life Remember healing processes and triggering events Brace for blame Continuously update crisis plan; learn from other situations Train new staff immediately Retrain all staff annually; dont forget students

10 A Perspective on Lessons Learned In the aftermath… Crisis not only creates character, but reveals it Seek opportunities to return to normal Seek closure and commemorate Take care of yourself and your team Bring in reinforcements


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