It can be difficult to unwind when working long days seven days a week as our analyst often have to do right now. Our dedicated school security experts are working on more than 20 school security assessment projects covering hundreds of schools while also keynoting more than a dozen statewide school security conferences in the next 90 days.
One thing that helps me to relax after a long day of assessment work is to read. I particularly like to read history books and most especially enjoy reading military history works. I like to read these to be reminded of the incredible efforts of military personnel from around the world and throughout history to protect their nations. I also learn a great deal about crisis preparedness and response from these books. This weekend, I began reading The Last Battle – The Mayaguez Incident and the End of the Vietnam War. Though I have read dozens of books on the Vietnam War, I did not know much about this incident.
So far, the author has been focusing a great deal on the speed and quality of decision-making at different levels ranging from the troops on the ground all the way to the White House. By this point, President Gerald Ford could talk directly to a combat pilot across the globe. But as the author points out, such amazing communications capabilities do not always ensure good communications and decision-making.
In one chapter, the author uses what I think is an excellent quote from Lee Iacocca to put these types of decisions as well as those in school crisis situations in perspective “Even the right decision is wrong if it is made too late”.
Practitioners who work to improve school security should consider this sage advice. Whether the decision must be made by a teacher faced with a child who stops breathing due to an allergic reaction, a principal who receives a report of an intruder or a school superintendent who must make the decision to implement off-site family reunification before concerned parents block all access roads to a school, the quality and speed of decision-making is an area of focus worthy of our attention.