Kelseyville Unified School District – Crisis Communication

On a crisp autumn morning after school busses were already en route to pick up students and transport them to school, the Kelseyville Unified School District (KVUSD) Office received news of a potential school-shooter threat at its middle school. District staff immediately called the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, rerouted buses to a safe location, and locked down all schools. Shortly thereafter, the Sheriff’s Department called to inform District personnel that the person of interest had been detained and the threat was nullified.

Superintendent Dave McQueen said, “Once we knew the person who made the threat was in custody, we reopened schools and resumed bus service. In this day and age, we take every threat seriously. I’d rather overreact and keep everyone safe than assume a threat is idle talk from a student looking for attention. I appreciate the Sheriff’s deputies’ swift response and the KVUSD staff’s professionalism in handling the situation.”

Founded in 1921, Kelseyville Unified is the second largest of seven districts located in Lake County, California. The District serves the town of Kelseyville, which includes the Big Valley area, Soda Bay, the Buckingham peninsula, the Riviera and up to the crest of Cobb Mountain. The District is made up of six active school sites, a seventh additional alternative day school which was established in the spring of 2002, and a historical site affectionately referred to as Hells Bend.


By working with Jendi, I can keep parents informed while I focus on running the school district, especially when we’re dealing with a crisis. This helps parents remain calm, knowing that their children are safe and in good hands.

– Dave McQueen, Superintendent



A student's angry social media post led readers to believe the student was considering gun violence. School buses were already en route that morning, so the most important communication was with local law enforcement to assure that the person of interest was apprehended, and therefore not a threat to anyone.


In the case of the threatening social media post, we received the threat early in the morning before school, so we re-routed buses and used our emergency communication system to alert staff and parents not to bring students to school with calls, emails, and texts. We also used social media and the district website to post information. Plus, we sent a press release to local media outlets. One of the biggest challenges we faced was combating misinformation shared via social media. Concerned parents identified the student online and demonized the teen. The district reminded students and parents alike not to share unverified information.


We worked hand-in-hand with public safety throughout the situation. In the end, the teen had no plans to commit violence but had used poor judgment when posting on social media. After local law enforcement gave us the all-clear, we informed staff, parents, and the public that it was safe for students to return to school. After the crisis was contained, we thought more about the role of misinformation and the double-edged nature of social media. Facebook is a highly effective tool to share both information and, unfortunately, misinformation. The school district is able to control its own account, but it cannot control what is said elsewhere. We monitor social media and use strategies to balance proactive posts with responsive posts. Generally, we advise all of our clients to provide more rather than less information, because we see that transparency is often rewarded with loyal fans who will defend the client's position.