I can remember the first time I met Gregory Thomas. Greg and I were both speaking at a school safety summit in Atlanta in the late 1990’s and I was fortunate to be able to hear his presentation. At that time, he was in charge of safety and security for the New York City School District. Greg emphasized how important it was for school officials to maintain a clean building to help create a safer school environment. Greg observed that when he was working with a school in his massive district that was having safety and security problems, he often noted that the school was not as clean as schools in his district with lower incident rates.
Greg’s findings and assertions are not just his personal opinion, they are backed up by his extensive experience in the field and by the research of others. While school officials must do more than simply maintain a clean and eye appealing school to have a safer environment, any school that has noticeable trash on the grounds and floors has an opportunity to improve school safety, security, discipline, climate and culture.