Provide the most appropriate solutions
One benefit of monitoring social media is that people tend to convey their true emotions on a subject. This can give school leaders insight on the human aspect of a crisis situation. Administrators get a real-time snapshot about the emotions people are experiencing right now, and they can craft the best support solutions to address those specific concerns.

Evaluate the impact of your response
Establish baselines regarding the number of conversations that typically occur about the school or a situation. Note how many people talk about it, how often, and for how long. This will help leaders quickly gauge the impact of a crisis—through a swift uptick in chatter—as well as the impact of their response. Schools also can track how the tone of conversation changes, be it positively or negatively, throughout a crisis situation, which might influence response tactics.

What if a crisis does occur?

After enacting the school’s crisis plan, it’s important to implement post-incident assistance programs that provide support and counseling for those affected. Remember, crisis events occur within communities—and the long-term effects, like ripples in a pond, might continue to emerge for weeks or months. Ongoing stress counseling for students and staff can be one of most essential aspects of a comprehensive crisis management plan.

Educational leaders have a duty to craft the best possible solutions to protect students’ safety and well-being. Luckily, they have a number of options at their fingertips. Through a thoughtful, integrated approach, schools can foster a safer, healthier learning environment in light of potential crises.

Terri Howard is the senior director at FEI Behavioral Health, and Ralph Metzner is the organization’s director of product management. FEI’s staff are workforce resilience experts, offering EAP, crisis management, and work-life services. FEI established the first national employee assistance program and is an industry leader in crisis management. Visit www.feinet.com for additional information.