Back-to-school means it is time for curriculum and scheduling tweaks, faculty meetings, parent communications and many other academic preparations. It also is time to review school security, emergency preparedness, supervision and other school safety fundamentals that should be included in your district and/or building safety to-do lists at the start of each year. A few […]
Students choking at school: A different type of school safety concern
Recently I received a telephone call from an attorney representing a family who had lost a child due to a choking incident at school. These calls always break my heart. And I say “calls” because this is the third such death of a child in which I have been asked to serve as an expert […]
School emergency plans for after-hour weather, natural disasters
Several states and communities have recently been victimized by tornadoes and other severe weather. Many of these types of storms and other weather events occur after normal school dismissal time. How well prepared are your schools to manage an event of this nature when regular school operations are not in session? In our assessments we […]
School safety assessments: A career-saving action for new and experienced superintendents
Recently I was speaking with a superintendent who is a client and a good friend. She mentioned that one of the best things she did in her first year as superintendent was have a safety and security assessment performed. Placing school safety at the top of the superintendent’s priority list The assessment was not on […]
Are schools wasting limited money on questionable security vendor products?
Since the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School, far too many schools have been looking for the one practice or device that will guarantee school safety. Not surprisingly, many service and product vendors have tried to meet that desire. While few vendors have been successful in meeting that need, a large amount of school safety […]
Push for laminate window film raises questions on school security priorities, “expert” credibility
Recently I read a news report where a well know national presenter was interviewed as a “school safety expert.” This law enforcement trainer was quoted as saying there are two steps all schools should take for school security: Training and “laminate” film to cover classroom windows. The training recommendation is certainly on-target, although we are […]
“Non-profit” school safety consultants: DO pay attention to the man behind the curtain
In the legendary Wizard of Oz movie, Dorothy’s dog Toto unmasks the truth behind the smoke-and-mirrors of the Wizard by pulling back the curtain where this small man was controlling the imagery of his being something more than what he truly was in real life. This lesson from Oz is one that school superintendents and […]
Franklin Regional High School stabbing: Was pulling the fire alarm the best practice?
One student stabbed and/or injured twenty-two students and staff on April 9th in the hallways of a Pennsylvania high school. Once again, a tragedy played out in the hallways of our schools. What is troubling to me is the continued media reports of what a “good” thing it was for an injured student to pull […]
School bus driver evaluations should include ride-alongs and safety assessments
A Florida jury recently rendered a decision on a case in which I served as an expert witness. The incident involved one student attacking another student on a school bus. I found it surprising during my case review that the school district did not require annual ride-alongs as part of bus drivers’ annual evaluations. It […]
Can your principals and security staff access surveillance camera systems?
Can your principals access the surveillance camera systems they are supposed to be able to access from their desktop computers, laptops, or other monitoring consoles? This may seem like an odd question. After all, who would install camera systems with the capability for principals, security staff, and School Resource Officers (SROs) to access and retrieve […]