Tuesday, November 22, 2011

School Security Depends on Effective Access Control

Princeton High School Near Miss -

Take a look at the follow-up access control measures that Princeton High School is implementing in the wake of the near-miss gun incident last week - http://www.newstrib.com/articles/news/nci/default.asp?article=30888&aname=Princeton+High+increases+security+after+shotgun+incident.

Those new access control measures (i.e. closed campus, visitor management, IDs on lanyards) should be SOPs for all schools!

Don't wait for an incident to occur! Be proactive and address your access control issues now!

Please share your experiences and ideas here or on out facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Paul-Timm-PSP/122272757334.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Recently I presented a School Security Seminar in Kansas, near the border of Missouri. In attendance was a safety coordinator from the Joplin Schools - Jim Hounschell. As a reminder, Joplin, MO was devasted by a tornado this year on Sunday, 05/22.
When asked to relate an important "lesson learned," this was Jim's response.
"We, for literally decades, have pulled students out of classrooms and placed them in the hallways during severe weather warnings or drills. We lined students up against the hallway walls and put them in the kneel and duck position. May 22nd changed all that. With video cameras in Joplin High School and East Middle School, we were able to go back and see what would have happened in those designated shelter areas had students been there. Large debris from street signs to car bumpers were effortlessly tossed down the halls. In some areas, classroom walls fell into the hallway. Each hallway became a wind tunnel. It was obvious to us that many lives would have been lost in our schools had the storm come through during school hours. With that knowledge, we no longer use hallways - period. FEMA has placed shelters at schools that were damaged in the tornado, but we still have many other schools that do not have FEMA shelters. In those buildings, we have cleaned out the old, musty basements that were being used for storage so that we can put as many kids in them as possible. In schools that need more room, or do not have basements, we are using "interior rooms" - rooms that do not have any walls that are exterior walls. As a last resort, we will use rooms that may have an exterior wall, but no windows or exterior doors. In looking at the damaged schools, these areas fared much better than the hallways."
Now is the time to use this vital "lesson learned" to make necessary adjustments to your shelter-in-place procedures.
Please post your thoughts and comments.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

National Safe Schools Week

"Your Attention, Please." 

We are right in the middle of National Safe Schools Week (10/16-22) - http://www.safeschoolsweek.org/index.html. Don't wait for a security incident on your campus to be the motivation for improving your security program! Utilize initiatives and awareness campaigns like this one to move forward.

This annual campaign offers student violence prevention design contests, compelling security statistics, and a reminder to make use of an anonymous tip line - 866-Speak-Up.

How are your educating and involving your stakeholders? Share your ideas!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Piling On School Security

It's not often you find a story that contains all the drama of electronic name-calling, a political hot button issue, and accusations of bullying!

This brief  story, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, has it all. Tak a look: http://news.yahoo.com/okla-school-official-tweets-educators-dirtbags-233417629.html.

Do the math!  Technology (Twitter) Risks + School Voucher Lawsuit + Bullying Accusation = School Security Issue(s).

Issue Raising Questions (props to Paul Baltz) -
How are you handling/addressing technology use and indiscretions? To whom do your policies/practices apply? Students? Staff?
What are your policies regarding media coordination? How often are those policies disseminated?
Do you have a documented bullying policy? How 'bout a full-fledged bullying prevention program? To whom does is apply? Students and staff?  Others?

Share your thoughts!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Teacher-Student Facebook Ban Overturned

Here is the latest salvo in the facebook ban wars that are raging in the state of Missouri - http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/missouri-facebook-law-injunction-granted-law-ban-teachers/story?id=14388569.
While I have not read all of the language in the original law or details of the teachers' union protest to the ban, let me be clear about one thing - I AGREE WITH THE BAN, IN PRINCIPLE!!!
I think there are ways (i.e. departmental facebook fanpages) for teachers/coaches to communicate with students without wading into the murky waters of "private" correspondence. Classrooms are public places because windows in classrooms doors are mandated. Let's add windows to social networking, as well.
Your thoughts?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Banning Teacher-Student Electronic Correspondence

Check out this story detailing a potential statewide ban on student-teacher electronic correspondence (texting, social networking, etc.) in Virginia - http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/virginia_poised_to_ban_teacher-student_texting_fac.php.
We think these restrictions have merit. What are your thoughts? Where do you stand?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Guns on Campus

Where do you stand on the issue of whether or not individuals should be permitted to carry guns on campus? Recently, I was given the opportunity to share my opinion! Here is a brand new article from Security Management magazine that addresses the issue - http://www.securitymanagement.com/article/carry-or-not-carry-008824.
Do you agree with me? Why or why not?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sunday Vandalism - Summer Vandalism?

This story about a 13-year-old caught vandalizing the local Middle School in Seattle, Washington on a Sunday afternoon (http://www.kirotv.com/news/28139921/detail.html) should cause us to consider our summer operations.
How does a weekend vandalism incident relate to summer operations? In both instances, we face difficulties with access control and supervision.
How are you addressing those difficulties? What practices and measures do you have in place to make this a safe summer?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Enjoying Those Graduation Ceremonies?

Check out this story where 14 people were FINED for interrupting the reading of names during a graduation ceremony in South Carolina - http://www.azcentral.com/offbeat/articles/2011/05/26/20110526loud-cheering-graduation-ticketed-disorderly-conduct.html?source=nletter-entertainment.
I have attended numerous graduation ceremonies where yelling, excessive cheering, and air horns have not only kept the following graduate's name from being heard, but flat-out annoyed other attendees.
At first blush, this story might make it seem as though the concept of fining for bad behavior is too heavy-handed, but... When the announcements (both written and verbal) clearly call for courtesy during an event that is already too lengthy, I applaud the use of appropriate consequences.
Please note, however, that my applause is figurative only!
What are your thoughts?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Terrorism Threat Level Colors Change

What color terrorism threat level are we currently operating under:

A) Yellow
B) Orange
C) Red
D) None of the Above

If you answered "A," you are mostly right. If you answered "B," you are right only for the Transportation Sector (i.e. flying). If you answered "C," you are wrong! If you answered "D," you will be right effective 04/26.

Read this article and post your thoughts - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704570704576274982202887072.html?KEYWORDS=security.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Another School Shooting

Here is the link to the Middle School shooting in Indiana last Friday morning: http://www.news-leader.com/article/20110326/NEWS07/103260326/-1/RSS. Once again, the student who committed this act of violence had been expelled and should NOT have been on campus. This is now the third school shooting in 2011 that involved a perpetrator that had been expelled or relieved of work duties. Let's learn lessons from these incidents! What are your separation procedures? How are local responders notified and involved? Under what conditions are separated persons permitted to return? Please add your thoughts and suggestions.

Monday, March 7, 2011

School Shooting Game

Look out for a new video game called "School Shooter: North American Tour 2012." More information can be found at: http://www.myfoxhouston.com/dpp/entertainment/games/110301-school-shooting-spree-game-making-waves and http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/108065-Inside-the-Sick-Mind-of-a-School-Shooter-Mod.
Not yet released, this "game" by Checkerboard Studios will enable players to indiscriminately kill students on a school campus.

What effect do these kind of violent games have on kids?
How should school stakeholders respond?

School Security Investigation

After a three-month investigation, police released a rather anticlimactic final report last Friday regarding the hostage/suicide incident that occurred in northern Wisconsin high school last November - http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110304/ap_on_re_us/us_wisconsin_classroom_hostages_3.

While this may be one of those instances that was not "foreseeable" or even "preventable," I would like to know your suggestions for improving the following two critical areas.
  • Access Control
  • Emergency Preparedness

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Avoidable School Shooting?

Here's the link to another school shooting where the perpetrator is allowed access to an administrator's office AFTER an earlier separation meeting: http://www.rgj.com/article/20110203/NEWS13/110203006/1321/NEWS/California-sheriff--Placerville-principal-had-just-fired-janitor-before-the-shooting.
Less than 30 days ago, a very similar incident occurred in Omaha after a student was suspended and permitted to come back a couple of hours later to meet (one-on-one) with the administrator who had suspended him.
We must have better "separation" procedures. What are your thoughts?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Omaha School Shooting Timeline

This information was posted in the Lincoln Journal Star last week:

"Omaha police released a timeline of the Wednesday (01/05) shooting at Millard South High School in Omaha.

8:10 a.m. Student called out of class to speak with Vice Principal.

9:23 a.m. Student escorted out of building by security; he was cited at 12:20 p.m. Jan. 1 for criminal trespass for driving his car on the school's football field and track.

12:45 p.m. Student walks into main school entrance and signs in to talk with Vice Principal, then spends about four minutes in her office with the door closed.

12:45-12:50 p.m. Student shoots Vice Principal in her office, then shoots Principal; in hallway, he fires at a school custodian and misses; debris from shot hits school nurse.

Unarmed security officer looks through office window, sees student walk out; student points gun at guard, who takes cover.

School resource officer, in his office at time of shooting, determines after second volley that the sound heard is gunfire and puts out "help an officer" call, then checks office area for suspects and heads for exit after seeing security guard out front. Security guard relays suspect's name and vehicle description to school resource officer, who puts information on police radio.

12:50 p.m. Officers respond to 911 call; Principal, 45, is taken to Creighton University Medical Center by ambulance, Vice Principal, 58, by Life Flight. All Millard schools are placed on lockdown.

1:35 p.m. 911 gets call about suspicious vehicle matching student's car at 3909 S. 147th St. Officers and ambulance arrive to find student, shot, in his 2000 Honda Accord, which is running.

2:45 p.m. Millard South begins to release students to parents waiting at Divine Shepherd Church, 15005 Q St."

Please let me know your thoughts.