Clinton County School

Michael Dorn meets with advocates for the children when presenting for the Clinton County, Kentucky School District.

I had the opportunity to meet some outstanding advocates for the children when I presented for the Clinton County, Kentucky School District. These amazing people were able to teach a number of new school safety tricks to an old dog. With the school year about to start, Albany Elementary School Principal Tim Armstrong and Officer Rick Marcum took time during a busy time of year to show me an array of outstanding safety, security and emergency preparedness measures that have been implemented.

I had the great privilege of presenting for the Clinton County, Kentucky School System just before the school year started. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to present at the district’s back to school event. The district has implemented a wide array of excellent practices relating to school safety, security, emergency preparedness, climate, and culture. The enthusiasm of the staff, excellent working relationships between support staff and educators and the competence of the building and district leadership personnel made working with them a true joy.

I arrived early so I could do a brief parent presentation at Albany Elementary School. After the presentation, I spent a couple of hours touring the school with Principal Tim Armstrong and the dedicated Custodial Supervisor Michael Hood. As with every building tour I have participated in, I was able to point out some options for consideration to enhance safety, security and emergency preparedness. However, I found far more things being done extremely well than I did things that could be done better. Without question, the school’s approach to a safe, orderly and efficient flow of traffic in the mornings and in the afternoons is remarkable. Mr. Armstrong has worked with a software programmer who has extensive experience developing identification systems to develop a QR code reading system that allows school staff to rapidly scan parent identification tags as they enter the parking lot. This pulls up the parent’s photo and shows that they are on the authorized list to pick up their child. At the same time, the system cues staff in the school’s gym to bring the child to the door so they can get into their vehicle. The system combined with a loop driveway and awnings has taken a situation that used to be slow, disorganized and unsafe, and turned it into a system that is far above leading practice. As data shows that student arrival and afternoon dismissal offer the most potential for death of students and staff of any school activity, this effort is among the most practical and effective efforts to reduce the dangers associated with vehicles strikes, abduction of students by noncustodial persons and vulnerability for mass casualty acts of violence during these vulnerable times.

The next morning’s activities were absolutely awesome and I had a blast delivering my thirty-minute message set in between two extremely thoughtful and impactful audio-visual presentations (www.clinton.kyschools.us). The final audio-visual segment was an extremely well-done video depicting school district personnel as superheroes. These presentations, opening remarks by the superintendent and key staff combined with my keynote were designed to help drive home an effective and important message to all categories of employee that they all have the opportunity to be super heroes for the students they all serve. At the end of the 90-minute session, staff appeared to be fully energized and pumped up to start the new school year on the following Monday. I also had the distinct honor to meet an amazing school resource officer. Officer Rick Marcum is a dedicated veteran law enforcement and highly educated officer who has worked closely with the district to help them develop a number of the impressive practices I saw during my visit. Officer Marcum is working on his doctoral degree in education. Though I have never pursued a doctorate, I know how hard it is to attend college and work as a law enforcement officer.

From the interaction between staff, students and parents the afternoon before my presentation it is clear that the dedicated and highly-motivated men and women who make up the Clinton County School System achieve superhero status for school children on a daily basis. I feel so blessed to have been afforded the opportunity to meet and interact with the remarkable people who have built what I wish every school system could be – a place where superheroes help protect, nurture, educate and inspire those who hold the keys to our future.

 

Navigate Prepared Sponsors Free School Safety Summits

Navigate Prepared Sponsors Free School Safety Summits

I am honored to have been selected to keynote eight free school safety summits in Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania this September and October. These summits were sponsored by Navigate Prepared to better serve their many school district clients in these states and to provide a free resource to school districts who are not clients. I keynoted a series of similar school safety summits in Ohio and Pennsylvania last year and we had excellent feedback. Navigate Prepared received a number of requests from attendees for Navigate Prepared to host summits in their communities as well as requests to bring the summits to New York. The summits are focused on ways to improve emergency preparedness for schools. This year’s seminars will include updated information on emerging threats such as acid “dosing” attacks and new school emergency preparedness technology tools.

 

One feature of the summits that has been extremely well-received involves splitting the attendees into groups and conducting school safety, security and emergency preparedness walk through tours at the schools hosting the events after lunch. These school safety seminars have attracted diverse audiences including a variety of types of school and public safety officials. I have been particularly impressed to see a number of school superintendents take the time from their busy schedules to attend. I have also been impressed that attendees have traveled from other states to attend the summits.

 

I look forward to these exciting events.

 

http://www.navigateprepared.com/safety-blog/safety-summit-workshops-michael-dorn-coming-school-near/

 

Does Your Options-Based Active Shooter Training Meet the Standard of Care?

Active shooter training programs

Options-based active shooter training programs.

This article was recently published in College Planning and Management Magazine. Though written for a higher education audience, most if not all of the principals I described would be relevant for options-based active shooter training programs for K12 schools as well. Non-public schools should take extra care in implementing options-based active shooter training programs as they lack qualified immunity and are subject to OSHA regulations that prohibit exposing trainees to danger from injury. Safe Havens International analysts have received many complaints from school and police officials regarding injury during options-based active shooter training programs, with at least one school employee who reported being permanently disabled when his arm was crushed during a training session. The individual I spoke to stated that he still has no use of one arm though he has been through a series of five surgical procedures. He also told me that three people in his training session had to be hospitalized for injuries received during the training session.

While options-based active shooter training programs have become fairly popular, they have also been highly controversial. Currently, there are no options-based active shooter training programs that have been validated as effective. Of considerable concern, these programs are often marketed as being “best practice” which could create a significant burden should an organization have to prove that the training program meets this definition during litigation..

Our next book Preventing and Preparing for Active Shooter, Active Killer, Hate Crimes and Terrorist Attacks contains a detailed chapter on the development of effective and court-defensible training concepts for active shooter incidents.

The complete article Training for the Unthinkable – Does Your Options-Based Active Shooter Training Approach Meet Standards of Care? at: https://webcpm.com/Articles/2017/06/01/Active-Shooter-Training.aspx

 

Preventing Grooming, Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct in Schools

School Planning and Management Magazine recently published a feature article I submitted several months back. The article – Preventing Grooming, Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct in Schools is focused on concepts that school officials can use to reduce the chances that these tragic situations will occur. While the field of K12 education has made tremendous progress in this area, there are still opportunities for improvement in the way schools are designed and operated. This article focuses on design concepts, security technologies, and increased awareness that can help prevent these types of incidents.

The article can be accessed on the School Planning and Management website at: https://webspm.com/Articles/2017/06/01/Sexual-Assault.aspx

Free School Safety Fidelity Webinar

Mike Dorn presents a webinar.

I had the opportunity to present a webinar for my editor at School Planning and Management Magazine this week. The one-hour presentation titled How Much Fidelity Does Your School Safety Approach Have? is available at no cost until October 11 on the School Planning and Management website: https://webspm.com/Home.aspx

I have enjoyed the opportunity to write a column on school security for School Planning and Management for more than eighteen years now and have had the pleasure of keynoting conferences and presenting webinars for the magazine as well. The magazine has had a regular focus on school safety issues with a wide array of topical areas and authors over the years. I have been blessed to work with Jerry Enderle for most of the eighteen years. Though I can honestly state that I have never had a bad editor with any of the magazines and book publishers I have written for, Jerry is one of the most pleasant people I have ever worked with. I greatly appreciated the chance to work with Jerry again and the time so many participants took to learn more about this important and timely topic.

Emergency Evacuation Kits

                Emergency Evacuation Kit

I am pretty sure that one of the first magazine columns I wrote more than twenty years ago described the importance of emergency evacuation kits. I find these kits to be just as important today as they were then. I still find schools today that do not have these valuable emergency preparedness assets. Known by a variety of names, emergency evacuation kits contain the bare essential items and information school officials need to manage a crisis event when it is not possible to go back into their school or when structural damage occurs after occupants are sheltered.

 
Though I have seen a variety of commercial variants, the best quality emergency evacuation kits I have seen have all been assembled by school and public safety officials. I have also seen a variety of containers used including soft bags, plastic file boxes and even rolling trash cans. I have found that rolling backpacks with collapsible handles are perhaps the most practical option as they can easily be carried down a flight of stairs, over snow-covered ground or rolled on pavement for extended evacuations.

 
I have always suggested that clients consider having two duplicate kits stored in separate locations in the building with one kit being located away from the main office. This can be important during a hostage situation or tornado strike which affects the main office. As with other critical emergency preparedness measures, it is a good idea for backup personnel to be designated to get each kit out in an emergency. I also recommend that kits be taken outside during evacuation drills and taken to shelter areas when sheltering for severe weather or hazardous materials incidents.

 
Emergency evacuation kits by any name usually offer a good return on the investment of time and fiscal resources required to develop and maintain them.