Seattle Times posted an article yesterday regarding the investigation of Meredith Powell, 24, a math teacher at Lincoln High school in Tacoma. Powell was caught in January sending explicit texts to two male students as well as allegedly engaging in sexual activity while in her own classroom. She is scheduled to go to trial on April 24th for sexual contact with students.
From a PR perspective there is a lot of crisis management that will need to be done for Lincoln High. They have to now decide on how to address the situation that has occurred, and how to bounce back from the representation they are now known for. I have done some research; looking online the school’s main webpage and have found no signs of this alleged incident. They have also taken down all information of the math teacher, as if she never existed. I think that this is a wise move by the school because while the trial is under way, they should be trying to focus on the students, the school should continue going about their day. As a student I know that I use the schools website daily if not more, they shouldn’t post anything regarding this issue for other students to see and read about because in the end it will only create more publicity. However, they need to think very seriously about how they approach the parents of students currently enrolled. The best way I think would to e-mail or notify parents in a newsletter asking them to attend a meeting during after school hours. This will allow the school as well as parents to address the issue and their concerns. I think that the school should inform the parents of how they plan to address their children while the investigation is under way. The school should reassure the parents that their children are still in good hands with all of the well educated teachers and they will do everything in their power to insure their children are safe.
The school should also hold an assembly, during which they can inform the students on how to deal with a situation if they are in fact in contact in any way at school that makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe. They can have speakers attend the assembly and re-inform students about their counseling office where students can go.
The idea of a young woman fresh out of college inappropriately communicating with young teens is shameful. I would not feel comfortable as a parent allowing my child to even attend that school after an incident such as this. It is important that this school communicates and handles this crisis carefully.
To read more about this case view this Seattle Time’s article: http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2014/02/tacoma-high-school-teacher-charged-with-child-rape/