Blog Archives

“Dancing with the Devil”: How some education associations and school safety conference organizers are selling their souls and conference agendas to security vendors — and potentially increasing school safety and liability risks for superintendents and school boards

Posted by on February 18, 2024

“Unfortunately, we increasingly have to dance with the devil.” More than a decade ago, these words were said to me by a now long-retired head of a national association for school leaders. He was explaining to me why he had to fill a few annual convention speaking slots with vendor-affiliated speakers rather than more experienced […]

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 https://portal.cops.usdoj.gov/resourcecenter/content.ashx/cops-r1141-pub.pdf ) The template approach to school safety is failing school leaders and school security officials. Filling in the blanks […]

School security vendors say educators are not tapping into their training for products and tech they sell to schools, but principals say they are not getting enough training. Where is the disconnect?

Posted by on December 5, 2023

School principals tell us they are not receiving adequate training for using the security products and technology purchased by their districts. One principal told us he spent nearly three hours trying to track down the movement of one specific identified student using new cameras installed in his district. Building principals have noted from time to […]

Focus forward with a tactical pause: Recognize limitations of “single incident expert” school shooting and other school safety recommendations

Posted by on September 5, 2023

We glean lessons from each school shooting, but the next may follow a different fact pattern. School leaders should exercise caution and restraint in making abrupt changes to safety policies and practices based upon the fact pattern of one (or even several) low-probability/high-impact incidents. A school central office administrator responsible for district school safety recently […]

Communicating school safety to parents: Superintendents and principals need strategic support on what to say, how to say it, and when to say it

Posted by on August 29, 2023

If we don’t better support superintendents and principals in becoming strategic school safety leaders and communicators, they will lose the trust and confidence of parents, students, staff, and their school communities. They might also lose their jobs. Yesteryear’s school safety communications spin no longer works During the first couple of decades of my school security […]

Children with Special Needs and the School Resource Officer (SRO)

Posted by on November 14, 2019

Numerous incidents of questionable interactions between School Resource Officers (SROs) or local police officers and children with special needs have shocked the public conscience in recent years.  These unsuccessful events, often recorded by students and posted on social media, have understandably drawn the attention of the national news media and education leaders.  We are often […]

School safety preparation tips for back-to-school

Posted by on July 27, 2016

Back-to-school means it is time for curriculum and scheduling tweaks, faculty meetings, parent communications and many other academic preparations.  It also is time to review school security, emergency preparedness, supervision and other school safety fundamentals that should be included in your district and/or building safety to-do lists at the start of each year. A few […]

Tabletop exercises strengthen school security and emergency preparedness for a crisis

Posted by on July 13, 2016

Security and emergency preparedness has been at the forefront as our hometown Cleveland prepares to host next week’s Republican National Convention, just on the heels of an impromptu 1.3 million fan downtown celebration of our NBA Champion Cavaliers basketball victory. The tragic attacks on Dallas police officers last week only heightened our local conversations about […]

Can your principals and security staff access surveillance camera systems?

Posted by on March 11, 2014

Can your principals access the surveillance camera systems they are supposed to be able to access from their desktop computers, laptops, or other monitoring consoles? This may seem like an odd  question. After all, who would install camera systems with the capability for principals, security staff, and School Resource Officers (SROs) to access and retrieve […]

Training office staff critical to school entrance access control

Posted by on February 27, 2014

Many schools are using various door entry systems to aid in visitor screening. Strong access control and visitor management is one important component of a comprehensive school safety strategy. One weakness we consistently see in our security assessment consultations nationwide is in the training of main office and other staff who use the security technology […]