Social Media and PR

Haley J. Higgs

PR Crisis Communications April 20, 2010

Filed under: PR Connections — hhiggs87 @ 5:14 pm

The Columbine Massacre occurred on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO. Two gunmen, who were students, walked into Columbine High School and opened fire in students, faculty and staff. They had explosives in place and had every intention of blowing up the school. The massacre lasted less than an hour but left 15 people dead including the two gunmen who committed suicide and another 24 injured.

The following is a slide show that a friend and I created that looks at this crisis from a PR perspective.

At the time of the crisis, officials and administrators handled it the best way they could but looking back in it, there were positives and negatives. Before this massacre ever occurred, the school district had put crisis plans into place. Some schools even ran mock crisis drills to prepare themselves for a crisis, although a drill was never performed at Columbine. The school also had a crisis plan but in the haste of the crisis the plan was never followed through. Administrators did designate specific areas for parents and media as a way to keep order. They did what they knew to do but failed to do what had been planned.

After the Columbine Massacre, the school district implemented several programs to help prevent something like this from ever happening again. They also made changes to their “emergency box” as well as updated their crisis plans. The school also focused in on rebuilding, not only their school but also their image. They worked to restore a positive image to parents, friends and the nation. There concern now was to present an image to the public of a school that band together during hard times and rose to meet those challenges head on.

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One Response to “PR Crisis Communications”

  1. Jessica Cameron Says:

    This happened on my birthday. I remember opening presents in the living room with the coverage of Columbine on the news behind me. Ironic, my mom bought me the Columbine book for my birthday this year. I can’t wait to read it. This is such a sad tragedy that happened on that Spring day. I guess when tragedies like this occur, you never really think about the crisis management that has to be done in order to keep a school’s image in the public eye. I mean what stops every parent from removing their child from that school and going to another school in the district or another district altogether.


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