Long Beach, California Police have arrested 50-year-old Steven Brown for murdering 53-year-old Kelleye Taylor who was a teacher at Huntington Academy during a field trip to a park near the school. According to police reports, Brown stabbed the teacher in the neck during a field day activity at the park. Police said they were still investigating the reason for the attack but there may have been custody issues involving Taylor’s grandchildren.
This type of incident highlights the need for proper security and emergency preparedness for field trips as mentioned previously in this blog. School violence experts often urge schools to consider these types of situations in their school violence prevention efforts. The tragedy also demonstrates the types of challenges schools face with domestic and child custody issues. Gerald Summers and Sue Ann Hartig from Evansville Indiana specialize in helping K12 schools address child custody issues. Summers is a veteran lawman and a retired school security director and Hartig is a retired attorney. We have heard superb feedback on their seminars for school officials on this critical specialty topic area. I have not met anyone who knows as much about these sometimes complex situations that have been a trigger for so many school-associated homicides.
While school safety assessments are an important means to improve school security and school safety, making efforts to develop prevention procedures as well as crisis plans that address off-campus events is also important. This incident demonstrates why behavioral approaches such as pattern matching and recognition are so important to the prevention of school violence. The incident also illustrates why emergency communications can be an important consideration for field trips, after school events and other activities.