While there are a number of high caliber school security experts, there are also an astounding array of subject matter experts from other fields who can help make our schools safer, more effective, and more comfortable places of learning. I have been blessed to have had the privilege to interact with a number of people that I can only describe as brilliant during my career. LT. Col. Dave Grossman is one such person I mention with regularity.
I have also learned a great deal about school security from people I have never had the privilege to meet such as Gavin deBecker and Dr. Gary Klein. I devour books by people like Klein, Debecker and Amanda Ripley and have learned a great deal from them. I have learned a great deal from a university professor named Michael Roberto even though I am sure he would not describe himself as a school safety expert. Dr. Roberto has done a superb job of synthesizing the works of a number of other very smart folks. Our analysts have been able to make schools safer across the nation as well as in places like Mexico, Bolivia, South Africa, and Vietnam by drawing upon the work of these talented men and women.
People sometimes ask me why I am so impressed with other experts when I sometimes strongly disagree with some beliefs they have. This is a logical question. Like school security experts, any subject matter expert who has presented and/or published extensively will cover a wide range of concepts, professional opinions and beliefs. This frequently creates situations where experts lack total agreement. This is particularly true among the nation’s top school security experts. For example, just I sometimes disagree with Gregory Thomas, one of the nation’s most respected school security experts, I sometimes have differing views from those of Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, who I cite regularly in my presentations, blogs, articles, and books.
As a practitioner in the field for more than three decades, I have learned that while school security experts may not always agree, we can often learn from others who hold some significantly differing viewpoints. I have also learned that there is much that I or any school security expert can learn from brilliant subject matter experts. At the end of the day, the safety of our schools demands such intellectual interaction and collaboration.