Blog Archives

Why voluminous school emergency/crisis templates are setting up school leaders for disaster – and why the absence of engaged school emergency/crisis teams is inexcusable

Posted by on January 20, 2024

The U.S. Department of Justice review of the Uvalde school shooting observed that, “UCISD’s campus safety teams met infrequently, and annual safety plans were based largely on templated information that was, at times, inaccurate.” (See ) The template approach to school safety is failing school leaders and school security officials. Filling in the blanks […]

School safety post-Sandy Hook: Proven, tested strategies prevail

Posted by on September 29, 2013

For the past nine months, our team of school security and communications consultants have maintained a steady approach and methodical voice of reason while serving as an anchor to superintendents, boards and principals who are facing a tidal wave of school-community emotion on safety issues. We have focused on proven prevention, preparedness, response and communications […]

School safety post-Sandy Hook: Context and focus from up close

Posted by on September 28, 2013

Even the most seasoned of school safety professionals have struggled to make sense out of the senseless — the loss of 20 children and six school staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. While I do not believe most of us will ever make sense out of it, I have found some […]

School safety post-Sandy Hook: Focus on “How?,” not on “Wow!”

Posted by on September 28, 2013

More than nine months have passed since the December 14, 2012, school shooting attack upon Sandy Hook Elementary School in the Newtown, Connecticut, school district where 20 children and 6 school staff members were left dead. The horrific nature of the attack upon our youngest and most vulnerable children — elementary students — served as […]

Michigan schools cut corners, break laws on safety drills: A failure to focus on fundamentals

Posted by on March 12, 2013

Many Michigan schools are cutting corner and violating both the spirit and letter of state laws on school crisis drills, according to an investigative report by MLive news reporters. A multi-month extensive review of thousands of public records found fire, lockdown, and other drills not being done, not done enough times, and done too late […]

Chardon High School shooting analysis reveals safety challenges, what works

Posted by on March 30, 2012

Social media, reporting threats, drills, how schools can find out in advance about threats, and where we fall short in school safety were topics I discussed during an in-studio interview at the Cleveland ABC-affiliate on the evening of the nearby Chardon High School shooting. Are your schools prepared to prevent and manage a school shooting? Ken Trump Visit School Security […]

How Principals Can Conduct Integrity Checks on Safety Plans

Posted by on September 14, 2011

Principals need leadership, not just money, to make their schools safer and better prepared for emergencies. While presenting a Monday regional workshop in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, on “Focusing on Fundamentals” of security and emergency preparedness, an assistant principal reminded me how easy and cost-effective it can be to stay on top of their school crisis […]

Jay Mathews’ “Overdoing School Security” Partially Hits Target

Posted by on January 30, 2011

Locking down eight schools in the vicinity of a Los Angeles high school where a school police officer reported being shot was not overdoing school security.  How the lockdowns were implemented probably was over-the-top, however. Jay Mathews, a respected education columnist for The Washington Post, partially hit his target in challenging the way lockdowns were put […]

Is Your Child’s School a Soft Target for Terrorism?

Posted by on April 28, 2010

The 1999 Columbine High School attack has been referred to by many as an act of terrorism.  Domestic terrorism, obviously, but still terrorism. Did the act fit the definition of terrorism?  If not the formal definition, it certainly fits the concept. In my first book (Practical School Security), written back in 1998, I identified terrorism as one […]

Emergency Management Agencies: Hidden Treasures for School Preparedness – Part 2

Posted by on March 12, 2010

Part 1 of my interview with Joe Wainscott, Executive Director of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS), addressed school preparedness and emergency management agency relationships.  Today, the conversation continues with a look at potential school transportation needs during a community disaster. We also discuss partnering benefits including pre-planning and pre-training activities. During tough financial times, a good […]