School administrators of the past often feared that by publicly acknowledging and addressing security and crisis preparedness issues, their school would be perceived by parents, the community, and the media as unsafe and, in turn, that they would be viewed as ineffective managers. Today, however, progressive administrators recognize that working on improving security and crisis preparedness is not only the right thing to do, but it is also a positive public relations tool. Our experience at National School Safety and Security Services, along with numerous national surveys, shows that parents and the community want to know that school officials are taking proactive steps to ensure the safety of students, staff, and school facilities.
We work closely with our clients to help them not only professionally assess their security needs and to educate their school community, but also to use their efforts and our services as a positive public relations tool. What better headlines could a district receive than this story on our work with a school district in Indiana? It sends a clear message of the district’s commitment to safe and secure schools!
Our success is due to our working knowledge and experience in dealing with local, regional, and national media. We take an extensive amount of time to provide reporters with a working understanding of the complex issues associated with school safety and security, crisis preparedness, and related issues. We encourage our clients to invite the media to our training programs and to host interviews, as appropriate.
Our success can also be attributed to the front-line experience of our president, Ken Trump, who worked closely with the media as supervisor of the Cleveland Public Schools Gang Unit and as a suburban school security director. Ken learned how to honestly and effectively communicate with the public about school crisis and serious incidents. By combining an understanding of public concerns, the perspective of school officials, and the nature of media operations, Ken was able to present balanced, rational information which consistently reflected the schools’ appropriate safety initiatives (i.e., “doing the right thing”) and, in turn, a positive image of the district in the eyes of the community.
This practical, front-line experience has been translated into a very positive “bonus” for clients who use our training programs, security assessments, and other consultation services. Professional associations and industry service providers, along with community organizations and others who sponsor our programs, benefit from our ability to help them promote their efforts to the broader community via publicity of our work with them.
While we will never compromise the integrity of our services for the sake of public relations, we do go beyond most consultants by taking the time to help school administrators and other youth-service professionals understand how to effectively communicate school safety and crisis issues, and most importantly how to communicate their efforts to address these issues, to their constituents and the broader community.