Is social media a help or hindrance on school management?

How does social media impact school crises?

Recent emergencies at school districts around the country have highlighted the importance of social media in dealing with a school crisis.

It’s not solely a parent’s job anymore, the responsibility of managing social media has spread to school officials.

Part of Robert Hunt’s job as superintendent in Chagrin Falls is to connect through the outlets students use, but it’s not always an easy job.

“Sometimes information can be put out there, inaccurate information and it's quickly spread like wildfire,” Hunt said.

A bomb threat at Chagrin Falls High School in early May proved that theory when rumors spread online. It was up to the school to manage the panic.

“We're doing a lot of conversations now, as I'm sure all school districts are about how do you get in front of this,” Hunt said.

Howard Fencl, communication specialist at Hennes Communication, said schools must learn to be proactive, not just reactive.

"Troublemakers would pull fire alarms and then run and cause panic, now they do the same thing but they do it on social media,” Fencl said.

"School leadership needs to make it clear to students that there needs to be consequences, there are serious consequences for inducing panic on social media."

As situations unfold, Hunt said they will face challenges but they will adapt.

"The way we communicate is changing,” Hunt said. “We're looking at systems that can communicate with our students and send texts and information out so you can quickly get to their space."

District officials said they take a “pause before you post” stance with students, but they encourage parents to take an active role in what their kids post.

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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