The inside of a washing machine. A bicycling class. A political campaign. These are places you’d expect to see a lot of spin.

By design, spin was nowhere to be seen after near-tragedy struck Carlsbad Unified School District’s Kelly Elementary School at 12:12 pm on October 8, 2010 when a lone gunman scaled a fence and wildly began shooting at children on the playground. Thanks to courageous citizens who tackled the gunman and to the rapid response of school staff and emergency personnel, only two students experienced superficial wounds and the situation was safely resolved.

Our crisis communications team instantaneously moved into emergency mode. As the District’s Communications Consultant, my nonstop job for days was to create and disseminate accurate, concise, consistent, up-to-the-minute messages to all stakeholders and media; from parents and staff to CNN and “The Today Show.” At times, I found myself simultaneously engaged in meetings, writing media releases and fielding calls from TV stations. We proactively stayed ahead of the story in a positive way; maintaining a steady flow of communications with all entities.

In search of an angle, one reporter was particularly demanding. After I answered his questions with alacrity and candor, he thanked me for our responsiveness and courtesy amid difficult circumstances.

The pace was dizzying, but the spin was non-existent.

In all communications, but especially in a crisis, honesty and transparency must rule. Integrity matters.