School Safety Fidelity: April 2017 Issue of School Safety Monthly Now Available

School Safety Fidelity

This month’s issue of school safety monthly is an interesting topic that spans all that we do in keeping our schools safe. While the concept is as fundamental as the all-hazards approach to emergency management, it is sometimes easy to forget the basics. School safety fidelity is as simple as making sure we do what we say we are going to do. This can manifest itself in different ways, from a failure to follow proscribed student supervision policies to the use of active shooter programs that breed inconsistency by design. Having practices, policies and training that are mismatched is one of the easiest ways to create liability and increase actual risk.

Room for improvement in school safety practices and procedures to enhance fidelity can be found in many areas. From basics like student supervision to more complex issues like active shooter response and mandatory reporting for child sexual abuse, mismatched policies and practices can cause injury and death when not addressed. In actuality, we should be taking a closer look at everything we do during the periodic review and updating of our plans.

The good news is that like most obstacles, this one can be overcome. There are a number of ways to identify gaps in school safety fidelity. There are also several ways to close these gaps and enhance school safety with sometimes very little actual effort. In many cases the answer is a simple adjustment of practice or training update. Read this month’s issue of School Safety Monthly: School Safety Fidelity to find out how.

Click the image below to download the April 2017 issue of School Safety Monthly:

School Safety Fidelity: April 2017

For past issues of School Safety Monthly as well as archived issues of our electronic journal The Safety Net, visit our newsletter archives page here:

The Safety Net Volume 3 Issue 2

Newsletter & eJournal Archives Page

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?

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

Campus Safety East Conference 2016

CampusSafety EAST 2016

Campus Safety East Conference

My son Chris and I used to present together frequently. Now that Chris lives in Oregon and both of our schedules have gotten even busier, we rarely have the opportunity to co-present.   We are very excited that we will have the opportunity to present together for a full day at a special pre-conference school emergency preparedness workshop at the Campus Safety East conference being held in National Harbor Maryland on July 25th 2016.

Over the years, I have found the Campus Safety conference events to be great events with a diverse array of topics, presenters, vendors and networking opportunities. Chris and his video crew have been working on a series of new school weapons incident scenario videos and they will be developing a series of custom school crisis audio scenarios for this event.   Campus Safety plans to make these audio scenarios available for attendees and we will be providing each participant with a copy of our latest book Staying Alive – How to Act Fast and Survive Deadly Encounters.

This information-packed and dynamic session will cover a variety of hot school safety topics including:

  • Weapons Concealment and Detection
  • When Young Lives are at Stake – Practical and Proven Approaches to School Emergency Preparedness
  • Look Who’s Talking – Critical School Safety Communications Before, During and After a Crisis
  • Innocent Targets – When Terrorism Comes to School
  • Know the Drill – Improving Survivability for School Crisis Situations Using Enhanced School Emergency Drills

The workshop is a K12 education track while higher education has its own pre-conference session on the Clery Act. For those in higher education interested in emergency preparedness, you will still find our workshop engaging and most of the concepts we will be discussing apply to the college environment as well.

Chris and I hope to see you at the Campus Safety Conference East this July!

For more information and to register, please visit the Campus Safety East homepage:

http://campussafetyconference.com/east

For more information on the pre-conference workshop by Michael Dorn and Chris Dorn:

http://www.campussafetyconference.com/east/program/d1