One thing we routinely see when we conduct school safety, security, climate, culture, and emergency preparedness assessments is school crisis plan content that has been copied unlawfully. Unfortunately, it is rather common for people to copy school crisis plan content without verifying that they can do so. In a typical situation, a staff member from one school or district asks permission to copy part of the crisis plan from another school organization and is given permission. However, it is not uncommon for the content being passed on to be licensed or copyright protected intellectual property from a vendor. An experienced school safety expert can often quickly track down the original source of plagiarized school crisis plan content. In some cases, people knowingly and intentionally claim to have created the content in the school crisis plan. In either case, copying and utilizing someone else’s intellectual property without permission from the owner of the rights to that property can be a serious legal violation. Individuals and their organization can be litigated and a complaint of plagiarism to a professional regulatory agency could result in sanctions up to and including revocation of teaching certifications etc.
The fact that intellectual property has been used unlawfully in school crisis plans can also garner some pretty negative media coverage and could become a significant issue during litigation in the wake of a school crisis event.
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