Navigate Prepared School Safety Seminars a Success

Navigate Prepare School Safety Seminar

We have had a busy couple of weeks presenting four high-impact scenario-based school safety seminars sponsored by Navigate Prepared. Last week, we presented at two seminars in Cincinnati and Chicago followed by seminars in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The seminars consisted of a dynamic three – hour interactive session using more than thirty audio and video school crisis scenarios. After a lunch provided by Navigate Prepared, each group was split into two groups with one group participating in a walk-through of the facility to discuss ways to enhance safety, security, school climate and emergency preparedness while the second group participated in an interactive discussion and demonstration of the Navigate Prepared system. After one hour, the two groups switched places and the process repeated. We had excellent feedback on this approach at a Navigate Prepared event in Ohio last year and the feedback was very positive for all four of this year’s seminars.

More Seminars to Come

We had excellent participation from school, law enforcement and fire service personnel with an impressive number of school superintendents making time to attend the events. I had the opportunity to see participants from previous projects and to make new acquaintances. I also had the opportunity to spend a good bit of time visiting with Navigate Prepared personnel riding with them between events. Due to the positive feedback, Navigate Prepared is planning a series of similar seminars for the fall and I am looking forward to these events.

Navigate Prepared School Crisis Scenarios

As we appreciate the opportunity to spread our messages of school safety to so many people through these seminars, the Safe Havens International team is scripting, recording and editing a dozen new school audio crisis scenarios for use by Navigate Prepared and their clients as a free value-added service. These should be finished in the next week or so and we are excited to see Navigate Prepared make them available to school and public safety officials. In 35 years working in the field, I have never seen a tool that is more effective in helping school officials train, practice and evaluate their plans, procedures and technology solutions as the scenarios we have been developing over the past decade.

I feel honored to be able to work with the Navigate Prepared team and the many impressive people I had the opportunity to meet in this four-city tour. I am looking forward to the next multi-state tour in the fall.

To stay informed about audio scenarios and upcoming fall Safety Summit locations visit: http://www.navigateprepared.com/safety-summits/

Free School Safety Conference Series, Presented by Navigate-Prepared

Great opportunity to attend a free school safety conference

Today I am honored to be able to keynote a free school safety conference being presented by NaviGate Prepared in Cincinnati, Ohio. What’s really exciting is that this is the first in a series of free school safety conferences in three states over the next two weeks.  I have had the privilege of presenting for them before and we are currently planning additional conferences for New York and Pennsylvania in September.  For each free school safety conference, I will present for three hours in the morning followed by interactive school safety building tours with participants. This is a great chance to learn hands-on with me and see a school through my perspective.

While we do not provide product endorsements or sell advertising space, we do appreciate NaviGate Prepared for their commitment to safer schools. This conference series is a great example, with a full day of solid content and concepts – not filler designed to focus on a particular product.

For more information on these events, please visit: http://www.navigateprepared.com/home-featured/school-safety-michael-dorn/

 

Free School Safety Conference information from the NaviGate Prepared website:

School safety is the focus as we team up with Michael Dorn, executive director, Safe Havens International to bring day-long Safety Summit Workshops to the following locations:

  • Princeton City Schools – Viking Village Auditorium, Cincinnati, OH – March 21 – Register here
  • Grayslake Community School District 127 – High School Auditorium, Grayslake, IL – March 22 – Register here
  • Allegheny Intermediate Unit 3 – Auditorium, Homestead, PA – March 27 – Register here
  • Colonial Intermediate Unit 20 – Auditorium, Easton, PA – March 28 – Register here

The Safety Summits are free to registered guests, including district administrators, building administrators, and first responders.

During the workshops, Michael will share actionable insights guests can implement immediately. Guests will participate in a relevant series of exercises and discover how tools like NaviGate Prepared can support school safety goals. The agenda includes a school safety audit where Michael will identify safety gaps, effective solutions and best practices throughout the building.

NaviGate Prepared is sponsoring the Safety Summit Workshops to give administrators and first responders access to critical safety information. According to Thom Jones, general manager, NaviGate Prepared, “I love seeing how audiences react during Michael’s presentations. He is a tremendously dynamic speaker. The depth of his knowledge and experience is unparalleled.” Jones states, “I am thrilled we are able to bring this level of school safety knowledge to so many administrators and first responders.”

“We are honored to be hosting the Safety Summit Workshop at Grayslake Central High School,” says Catherine Finger, Ed.D, superintendent, Grayslake Community High School District 127. She adds, “School safety is always a top priority for us so we appreciate this opportunity to learn new ways to mitigate risks, prepare our staff and students to respond appropriately in an emergency and implement proven safety methods throughout our buildings. We look forward to many Illinois school districts taking advantage of this important event and appreciate the generosity of NaviGate Prepared sponsoring this workshop and for bringing renowned safety expert, Michael Dorn.”

Would you know a sex offender if you saw one?

As if you didn’t already have enough things to worry about, take a look at this chilling video from the state of Indiana. This is a sex offender training overview featuring interviews with investigators and a former teacher who was convicted of child sex abuse. Warning: This video is graphic in content and goes into detail about how this predator disguised himself so that he could abuse children. While there is no detailed sexual content the video can be disturbing for sensitive viewers.

Would you know a school sex offender? The Answer is “probably not”.

What should be the most alarming piece is the number of missed instances that the sexual predator describes. Each time someone would become suspicious, he would evade detection by being a diligent worker and respected colleague.  At one point he states – “It felt like a lot of stuff was ignored. A lot of stuff was ignored.”

Chuck Cohen of the Indiana State Police adds that in many cases, those who reported abuse were not sure if they should. He reported comments like “I almost didn’t call you – but I thought I should” in cases of real abuse that was prosecuted. And of course, we know that sex offenders come in all ages and can be male or female.

Here are some tips for educators from the video:

  • Educators who try to do their own investigation, determine victims or scope of abuse can quickly result in destroyed evidence.
  • Talking to the alleged victim or other students to determine “what actually happened” before reporting the incident can violate privacy and destroy evidence.
  • Confronting the alleged offender yourself can hinder the investigation later.
  • Talking to the alleged victim in front of the offender or interviewing the offender in front of the victim should NEVER be done.
  • Do not wait until you have absolute certainty – that will probably be too late.

Remember – if you are reading this, you are probably a Mandatory Reporter because of your job or state law. This means you are required to IMMEDIATELY report any suspicion to law enforcement or your states child protective agency. While this is often loosely defined, realize that even a short delay can allow further victimization to take place and evidence to be destroyed.

“Legally, if you do not report something you are required to report, you are committing a crime.”

The video also describes how most law enforcement investigations of suspected child abuse are low-key and designed to avoid disrupting the school environment. The best way to protect the victim’s privacy and to avoid violating the privacy of alleged offenders is to immediately notify law enforcement and let them handle the investigation.

Indiana Department of Education: Sexual Predator Awareness video

Warning: This video contains graphic information and detailed descriptions of sexual predator assaults:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hxuISh6HIc

South Carolina Advanced Emergency Management Training for School Districts Train the Trainer Program

It has been a true privilege to be able to work with five really outstanding groups of participants in a train the trainer program for the South Carolina Department of Education this month. We feel honored to have been selected by a competitive bid process to develop and present the five modules for this initiative across the state of South Carolina. We have been impressed to see school superintendents, business officers, operations and facilities directors, risk managers, student services, mental health, security directors, and law enforcement officers dedicate two days of their time for these information rich discussions.

Safe Havens developed customized presentations for five topical areas for the program:

  • Permission to Live – Engaging and Empowering School Personnel to Perform Life-Saving Actions and Communications
  • The Window of Life – How to Empower Staff to Act Fast and Survive Deadly Encounters
  • Getting Back Together – Off-Site Family Reunification for School Crisis Events
  • When the Dust Clears – How to Test the Effectiveness of a Continuity of Operations Plan
  • Road to Recovery – Putting Your Mental Health Recovery Plan to the Test

We researched and updated each of these topics and customized them to fit the needs of the South Carolina Department of Education and the school districts they serve. The Department has completed two prior projects to provide training for school staff and their community partners in school emergency planning. The – train the trainer programs were designed to help participants train personnel, conduct scenario-based building and district level drills and exercises to test the fidelity of their prevention, preparedness, response and recovery plans. The program was also designed to help districts improve their approaches to documentation of safety efforts to reduce civil liability exposure, risk of reputation damage and most importantly, to help prevent injury and loss of life.

The participants have each been provided with multimedia presentations for each of the five topics, planning and evaluation tools, and more than 30 school crisis video and audio scenarios. The focus of this program has been on providing tools to help the instructors not only provide high-quality scenario-based training, but also with ways to help obtain buy-in from school employees. This last point has been one of the biggest challenges school safety personnel face. The use of scenarios in each of the five modules are designed to help school officials and their community partners understand their risks, identify gaps and identify appropriate and realistic opportunities for improvement.

We are thankful to have had the opportunity to participate in a variety of statewide school safety initiatives in South Carolina, North Carolina, South Dakota, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. These programs afford excellent opportunities for Safe Havens to have a much broader and meaningful impact on school safety, and we feel truly blessed to work with state agencies on these exciting projects.

Mackenzie Needs a Kidney

Safe Topics actress needs a kidney

Several years ago, Safe Havens International released the SafeTopics training video series as a teaching tool for school staff across the country. One of those videos – Special Needs Emergency Preparedness – featured a short video about one of our actors who has a special need. Mackenzie Milani and her mother Lindsey were interviewed about their experiences and the types of bullying that Mackenzie endures. This is just one facet of the issues affecting students with special needs and the difficulties staff may have in observing and addressing these kinds of situations. Furthermore, it demonstrates that ‘special needs’ are not always those we expect or even notice on the surface.

 

Most of our babies arrive with little to no problem and yet we still find ourselves counting their little fingers and toes for reassurance. This is a testament to the fact that even with the healthiest of children parents still worry and put themselves through undue stress. Some parents however, like Lindsey Milani, find that their gifted beautiful children also come with special complications – in her case, ailments that follow them throughout their young lives. For Mackenzie this is because she was born without a bladder. Throughout her life, she has been riddled with medical appointments, hospital visits (thousands), surgeries (six so far), infections and much more. Though these situations have often removed Mackenzie from the classroom, she has never fallen behind in her studies. An avid reader, her nose can often be found deep inside books too heavy for her small stature. Through all of this Mackenzie has had the power to remain at the top of her class year after year, smiling and sharp. Nothing has had the capacity to hold her down. She has brought a much-needed light into a world we so often take for granted.

 

Over the years Lindsey has done everything in her power to keep her child healthy and happy. Her goal has been to give her daughter as much of a “normal” childhood as possible. This sort of hardship day after day wares on even the strongest of us and at 13 years old Mackenzie longs to fit in with her peers. Lindsey has spent over a decade handling the stresses of appointments followed by cumbersome medical bills, traveling to Washington State, Ohio, and New York to see specialists, and ultimately moving her family to where the best doctors and medical facilities for Mackenzie’s condition are. She has devotedly delivered a message to every teacher, friend and person along her path to raise awareness not only of her daughter’s special needs but of the cause as a whole.

 

For some time now Mackenzie has been doing very well. The Milanis thought their most trying times were behind them after her surgery to build a functioning bladder. Many things seemed to get easier and the infections seemed to show themselves less often. Mackenzie has even been enjoying her time on the color guard of which although she is still in middle school she participates at a high school level. Recently, however, the Milanis were notified that Mackenzies kidneys are presently in late stage four renal failure and she is in need of a kidney transplant. The family is trying very hard to find a match for Mackenzie in order to avoid dialysis.

 

If you are interested in assisting Mackenzie’s hardships please follow her on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Mackenziescurefan/

 

Visit her GoFundMe at: https://www.gofundme.com/kidneyforkenzie

 

Watch Safe Havens Videos featuring Mackenzie here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBZ86T25u0s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vidIFPECNvE#t=93.00117472

 

If you are interested in learning more about kidney disease visit kidney.org

 

 

School Safety Support

School Safety Support

Most school security directors, police chiefs, risk managers, and other professionals tasked with creating and maintaining school safety will tell you that one of the biggest challenges they face is obtaining buy-in for school safety measures. This is one reason many school safety leaders push to get their organizations to incorporate passive design features like crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) while also attempting to get security cameras and other technology solutions. With the many success stories of CPTED in the school setting and the truly amazing improvements in school security technology, these can be wise investments. Smart camera technologies with remarkable video and audio analytical capabilities and proven design features can go a long way to create safer schools. However, these assets are much more reliable when they are combined with a well-informed and highly motivated team of administrators, teachers and support staff.

Obtaining School Safety buy-in

Safe Havens has been working closely with the South Carolina Department of Education on a series of five school safety train the trainer programs with a focus on providing tools for South Carolina school districts designed to help address the critical human aspect of school safety. Using a system of more than 50 carefully scripted video and audio school crisis scenarios; this project has been extremely well-received thus far. The training series provides staff with a variety of options for interactive staff development activities combined with a modern approach to school drills and district-level implementation of a comprehensive drill program. The result is that South Carolina school officials can now more easily build interest and support for their written policies, plans, and procedures by providing staff with scenario-based activities that provide a strong impact on trainees. Our experience has always been that a few minutes of scenario-based training can accomplish more than a year of staff development sessions that fail to grab your attention and result in no buy-in from staff. As the cost of the entire statewide program is less than a school security camera system for a single elementary school, the return on the time, energy, and effort will be significant. As schools can, and when possible, they should continue to implement these highly robust school security technology and building design concepts. They should also be sure to keep up efforts to develop school employees that are just as high-tech – using human factors.

The winning combination for supporting School Safety

The combination of great physical safety and security measures and an increasingly competent workforce can improve on the impressive advancements in school safety we have witnessed over the past three decades. While there are significant on continually evolving school safety challenges, we have never before had the quality of human skill sets and physical safety options to get the job done. To me, the progress is remarkable, meaningful and timely.

School Safety Strategies: Strategy 19: Share Success Stories

One great resource for building school safety support internally is Safe Havens’ report “20 Simple Strategies for Safer Schools” produced for the Maine Department of Education.