I reviewed a few different emergency scenarios this week and talked with a group of educators about what we should do in different situations. One of the scenarios dealt with a shooting and the other with a student leaving campus during the school day and dying in a car accident. These are horrific situations.
Here’s what I’m realizing though: there is an infinite number of situations that you may face as administrator and it would, of course, be impossible to talk through them all. However, there are a limited number of effective responses to these situations and we should know these responses well. The responses we discussed for these specific situations included communicating clearly, focusing on student safety, developing a plan, and remaining calm.
The leader of this group of educators is a local principal and he’s always quite insightful in these conversations. As we chatted, I started to take note of several of his helpful observations and advice. Here’s a quick list of nuggets of wisdom from John Becker:
- After preparation, comes practice.
- Most important is calm by the principal.
- People will react to body language
- Just know that its not a matter of if this will happen, it’s when…It will happen
- All of the resources are there, it’s just a matter of key staff knowing their role when it all goes down.
- Prep and practice
- When things go emotional, rational thinking is limited
- Staff look to admin to lead, guide, and inform
- Just don’t ever take safety or crisis response for granted.
- All you can do is learn.
- Just remember this to guide you… When it all goes down, were you prepared? Did you act competently? That’s what the media will ask you
- Ignorance won’t fly
- Seek training, create a safety team, have a plan, talk about it, review it, practice it, repeat
- Thanks John for the great advice. I think I’ll print these out and keep them close.