News reports about sexual misconduct in schools are no longer uncommon. Whether the allegations are about current student – student sexual assault or past teacher – student sexual abuse, no type of school is immune, including independent schools. A claim of sexual misconduct invariably triggers a crisis for the school. The stakes for a school responding to this type of crisis are high. Missteps can result in significant harm to a school’s most valuable asset, its reputation. Damage to a school’s reputation can adversely impact relationships with students, parents, alumni, donors and prospective applicants.
There are, in my opinion, two key organizational elements that are crucial for helping schools weather the storm in such a crisis. First, the board and the administration must have a collaborative working relationship. Second, the school must have established principles to guide board and the administration during the crisis. I will address each of these key elements. Read more ›