Free School Safety, Security and Terrorism Conference in Indiana

Next week I am presenting at a one-day school safety and school terrorism conference that is free of charge for public safety officials and educators. The Indiana Public Safety Summit will be held at the Indiana Historical Society in Indianapolis, Indiana on Thursday, August 12th, 2016.   Lt. Col. Dave Grossman will also be presenting at the same conference. Dave is a powerful presenter and it will be good to have the opportunity to hear him present again. I always learn some new things when I get to hear Dave Grossman present. Please forward this to anyone who you think might benefit from this opportunity to attend a school safety conference at no charge. Attendees seeking law enforcement credit hours can pay a fee of $100.00 per department for 8 hours of accredited training. This fee is per agency, with no limit on the number of attendees from each agency, and there is no charge unless you are seeking credit hours.

To register, visit


Our Kids Deserve It school safety conference image

Our Kids Deserve It school safety Conference – August 12, 2016

The Matter of School Bus Traffic Safety

School Bus Traffic Safety

A 4th-grade South Carolina student was struck by a school bus while riding his bicycle on school property.  The bus was pulling out of the bus loop by the school when it struck the young man.  The student was wearing a helmet, and was responsive as of the date of the story.  This story is an example of the dangers faced by schools every school day, especially with school bus traffic safety.

School Bus Traffic Safety

School Transportation-Related Incidents are the leading cause of deaths in K12 schools.

The #1 Cause of Death in K12 Schools

Active Shooter Incidents get a tremendous amount of press, with comments on them even being made by the President of the United States.  Yet, according to a 2014 observational study on the various causes of fatalities in U.S. K12 schools, Active Shooter Incidents ranked fourth.  The number one cause of fatalities?  School Transportation related incidents.

The study Relative Risks of Death in US K12 Schools reviewed various causes of fatalities in schools from 1998 to 2012, a 15 year period.  The top five known causes were, in order, School transportation-related incidents, school homicides, school suicides, Active Shooter Incidents, and interpersonal disputes.  During that 15-year period, there were 525 school transportation-related fatalities, 489 school homicides, 129 school suicides, 62 fatalities in Active Shooter Incidents, and 49 deaths from interpersonal disputes.

Are Schools Focusing on the Right Things?

Based on these numbers, a student is just under nine times more likely to be hurt in a school transportation-related incident than an Active Shooter Incident.  Keeping that in perspective, school transportation-related incidents account for less than one percent of all traffic accidents.

All this data begs the question, what are schools doing to address school bus traffic safety?  Student drop off and student pick up times are the most dangerous times a school faces, everyday.  Has school administration developed a way to keep buses and parents separated, and those two separated from walkers and bike riders?  Older schools often do not have these considerations in their designs, so it is up to the administration to develop suitable plans.  Newer schools often have these areas separated, but it will still take human supervision for proper school bus traffic safety.

The good news is that such planning usually only costs the time to create the plan, and train the staff in proper supervision.  However, once the plan is made, it should be frequently assessed to make sure it is addressing the often changing needs of the students and parents.  School bus traffic safety is not a one-and-done affair

Let’s spend some time preventing those things that are more likely to happen.


School Violence in Trinidad

Trinidad school Violence

News headlines portray an epidemic of school violence in Trinidad. As with American media, alarmist and frightening reporting can make it difficult to determine the real extent of the problem of school violence. Safe Havens has been asked to help develop practical solutions to address school violence in Trinidad.

BUntitled CUntitled DUntitledI have the honor to present at a national conference on school violence in Trinidad this March.  The conference is being held in response to incidents of school violence in the small Caribbean nation.  In newspaper covers and television news stories provided by my client for background on the topic, I noted repeated references to an “epidemic” of school violence and headlines regarding gang activity in schools.  While the news stories detail recent school homicides, the focus of the reporting appears to center on a large number of very serious fights among groups of students as well as increasing gang activity in schools.  A number of these incidents involve groups of students who gang up and beat individual students severely.  There has been at least one similar type of attack on a school teacher.  Viral videos of these types of attacks have become increasingly more graphic, popular and apparently more frequent.

High Homicide Rate affects School Violence

With a per capita murder rate of 28.3 per hundred residents, Trinidad has been experiencing a stout
homicide rate in recent years.   Criminal gangs have often had no difficulty in obtaining semi-automatic
and even fully automatic weapons.  Special police units equipped with heavy body armor and
sub-machine guns patrol high crime areas and have had numerous gunfights with gang members.  It
should not be surprising that school violence would be an issue in schools serving these communities.
For contrast, the U.S. homicide rate typically runs between three and four victims  per hundred

Contrast with schools in the U.S.

Most of the topics of interest to attendees parallel issues with school violence in the United States.  I will be addressing areas such as preventing school weapons assaults, effective school resource officer programs, student threat evaluation, techniques to prevent fights in schools, bullying prevention, student supervision practices, and effective emergency preparedness measures for school violence.  I have found past engagements in other countries to be an excellent learning opportunity.  Our analysts have learned valuable lessons working in Canada, Mexico, Honduras, Rwanda, Bolivia, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, France, Switzerland, Vietnam, the U.K. and other countries.  I am sure this experience will be no exception.

Travel, learn and share

I look forward to my visit to Trinidad and will post another blog to share what I learn during the trip.   When I was originally invited to present for the conference, I had to decline due to a previously scheduled trip to Argentina the same week.  I was very disappointed that I would not be able to present because my schedule was in conflict.  The conference organizers were willing to move the conference date so I could present.  I am grateful for their efforts to accommodate my schedule and will do my best to make their efforts worthwhile.  I also look forward to the challenges of trying to come up with success strategies to help make schools in Trinidad safer.  Every time we have the opportunity to work in another region of the world, we learn and gain a new perspective.  I feel truly blessed to have this opportunity to learn and to share a different perspective on school violence.