The Paradox of “The Sky is Falling”
In light of recent cyber threats to school districts in New York and Los Angeles one really must empathize with the paradox of “The Sky is Falling” situations school superintendents find themselves in. Their decisions to respond to threats by shutting down schools is a decision guaranteed to bring criticism no matter the direction taken.
We live in a hyper sensitive time and one could argue the media’s coverage of threats may exacerbate this cultural attitude. The potential outcome is a desensitized public that grows to expect these types of threats and becomes complacent as to finding appropriate ways to respond to school threats and media releases.
The superintendent is in a precarious position. What should be rooted in their decision to close schools in response to threats must be processes of collecting data, analyzing, collaborating and then taking action for the safety of students and staff period. What does creep in is a process that weighs the pros and cons of making the decision to close schools and the inevitable backlash either decision will bring. The superintended shifts to being an “insurance adjuster” looking at percentages of loss of public perception. At the end of the day they also hope and pray for the best because most of what the circumstances unveil is out of their hands.
We should all trust our school leaders in that they have the best interest of the district as a whole in mind with every decision they make. Neither the superintendent in New York or Los Angeles were wrong. The decision was made with the context of the local community and the immediate threat which should not be compared on a normative level.
The paradox of “The Sky is Falling” culture we live in is real but it does not have to be business as usual.