One incident is all it takes.
A gun found in a locker. A lunchroom fight that spins wildly out of control. A shooting.
It only takes one serious safety incident at a school anywhere in the country to put parents on edge.
After Columbine, parents across the country kept their kids home from school and questioned just how safe their schools really were. The same thing happened after Sandy Hook and Virginia Tech. But there have been many other serious safety breaches to in recent years–and they have all sent shutters through regions and created public relations problems for nearby school districts.
That’s why it’s so incredibly important to know with precision what parents are saying about school safety issues.
Newspapers, television and radio stations, and online news outlets provide a steady stream of headache-inducing headlines about school safety, and school administrators need to be aware of them. Because if administrators, principals and communications professionals aren’t aware of the stories, they won’t be able to adequately address and assuage parents’ concerns.
Mentions in the media can drive public opinion.Look at how many times the media ran stories about school safety between April 11 and April 17, 2016:
- School safety was mentioned 1,682 times on the television.
- School safety was mentioned 768 times on the radio.
- School safety was mentioned 10,042 times on online news outlets.
And those are only the mentions. And there weren’t any major incidents that drew national attention to the issue.
Having a tool that effectively and efficiently allows school leaders to track media coverage of key issues–local, regional or national–is helpful. But a tool that also tracks the sentiment of the coverage–positive, negative or neutral–is even more beneficial.
It allows school leaders to stay ahead of communication concerns–especially when the origins of those concerns are in one of their own schools.