During times of crisis, it’s important to be aware of your school district’s policy regarding media inquiries. If your administration/staff are not authorized to respond to media inquiries, make sure they know to direct callers to your district’s official spokesperson.

If there is someone at your school who is authorized to talk to media, make sure that person has talking points that have been agreed upon by leadership before they speak publicly on behalf of the school. In addition, share these tips:

  • Stick to the facts. Don’t speculate. If you don’t know the answer to a question, admit it, offer to get back to the reporter—and then do so.
  • Stop talking when you have finished answering a question. Reporters often wait in silence for more information—don’t feel compelled to keep talking.
  • Realize that reporters are looking for a clear, quotable statement. If you are asked a question that is off the point, redirect the interview by answering the question you wish you had been asked. Say something like, “What’s important here is that ... ,” to get everyone back on track.

 

Defuse angry parents

Sometimes parents get angry—especially in times of crisis. It’s critical that school staff handle it effectively. Here are some tips for dealing with parents who are angry, frustrated or stressed out:

  • Listen. Parents need to be heard. Simply paying attention and restating what you hear can put parents at ease.
  • Empathize. Don’t take the anger personally. Instead, focus on the goal you share: their student’s well-being.
  • Remain calm. Model behavior you want to see—a composed, respectful demeanor.
  • Set clear ground rules. If a parent swears at you, you don’t have to take it. Say as quietly as you can that you don’t respond to foul language, and that if it continues, you’ll have to meet at another time.

 

Quote of the Day

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“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.”

Bryant H. McGill

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