School Security Assessment Tip – Require a Draft Report when Utilizing School Security Consultants for School Security Assessments

Safe Havens analysts have assisted with more school security assessments than any organization in the world.  The depth of experience gained in helping to perform school security assessments for more than 5,000 K12 schools across the nation, as well as in other countries, has revealed that a far more accurate written report can be produced when the client is afforded an opportunity to fact check a draft version of the document and to help the school security experts who prepare it ensure that the language used to describe opportunities for improvement are clear and understandable to the people who will read it.

Any firm with a solid reputation for integrity can provide an accurate and honest outside evaluation.  While school security experts who have questionable reputations may fear allegations of inappropriate influence by clients, reputable school security experts will not have any trouble handling these types of allegations.  As a case in point, many federal courts allow the hiring attorney to fact check a draft version of a written opinion rendered by a school security expert serving as an expert witness.  As this  approach is considered valid in a federal court of law where an expert witness faces intense scrutiny, we feel it is no less appropriate in a school security assessment where the need for accuracy is equally important and subject to later scrutiny. 

A school security expert with an established reputation for integrity will refuse to change findings that are accurate and properly phrased.  We have done so for a client that directly told us that we would lose several hundred thousand dollar’s worth of work on a future project if we did not eliminate an accurate finding from our report.  We politely informed the client that our integrity was worth far more than the fees for any project and the finding stayed in the report.

We have had many clients express to us that they have been stuck with an inaccurate report of findings because the report did not match what they were told in a brief exit interview by the consulting firm.  Inaccuracies and unclear writing can create significant practical hurdles and legal challenges in future safety-related litigation.  As a client, school officials should exert their right as customers to review and comment on a draft report before a final report is produced. 

About Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn serves as the Executive Director of Safe Havens International, a non-profit school safety center. The author of 27 books on school safety, Michael’s campus safety work has taken him to 11 countries over the past 34 years.