The Fear of Online Posts for School Leaders

Recently, I was in a meeting with several school administrators and they were concerned about allowing comments from parents on a school blog.

“What if someone says something bad?”

They feared what a parent might post.

The Web has created a new opportunity for the reader to express themselves which allows everyone else to see what they wrote and to join in the conversation.

Facebook, YouTube, Blogs and other online sites allow the reader to post comments. The goal is to provide a way for people to become part of the conversation.

Ironically, this conversation was going on all around us before the Web popularized it so that everyone else could read it. When I was head of school, the parking lot was the place where parents talked and gave their opinions and perspectives about the school. It was through these casual interactions that parents passed on their experiences about the school.

Now, parents can share their thoughts online and, when posted, these comments remain unless we delete them out of fear.

However, we shouldn’t be afraid of what people may say (after all, they are saying it already).

What should be our perspective on allowing parents and readers to post on Facebook, a blog or some other site?

I think we should allow it. We shouldn’t live in fear of criticism or a negative post. This is part of the Web and the authenticity that everyone desires.

Allowing comments and posts online doesn’t cause negative feedback.

A negative comment is an opportunity for your school’s leadership team to provide proactive customer service and to address the concern openly for everyone else to see. It also allows other parents and supporters to come to your rescue, especially when they see an “off-the-wall” post from a renegade parent.

So go ahead and allow posts. When you allow online posts, you encourage authenticity and conversation. You will then be able to monitor and interact with your parents and supporters.