There will be times when crisis confronts your school district. Above all, don’t panic. It is imperative that boards have a communications plan in place so that should a crisis occur, there is a plan to guide their actions. The communications plan should identify the spokesperson (there may be two, and one of them is usually the superintendent or the board chair), and board members should refer all calls to the spokesperson. In cases that may require legal action, the chair should meet with the superintendent and the board attorney before making a statement to the media.
During a crisis, members of the public will be anxious for information and the chair should respect their need to know. Much of their anxiety can be diffused when you calmly let them know:
We are aware of the problem
We are looking into it
A solution is forthcoming
We’ll get back to you as soon as we have more information