Friday, December 27, 2013

Parents, Guardians, & Counselors Asking Kids About Inappropriate Conduct By Adults

 The Jerry Sandusky / Penn State Child Abuse Cover Up, Steubenville Ohio House Party Rape of a Minor, a former Danbury Gymnastics Coach found guilty of sexual assault against minors in his charge...these are reminders of why anyone (parent, guardian, teacher, etc.) responsible for the safety and security of a minor needs to remind kids of all ages of what is appropriate and what is not. Too often the safety and security of minors is assumed to be taken care of, but it may not be so. Having that discussion with children and especially adolescents (who assume they are grown up) is an important part of prevention. Letting teenagers know what the age of consent means is also important or they maybe convinced or groomed to believe otherwise. 

In the case of Child Predators, these individuals are driven, experienced in gaining access and trust, target kids lacking strong supervision, and often have multiple victims before they are discovered. Guardians of children and teenagers need to trust their instincts to err on the side of caution and make sure NO ONE is performing any inappropriate conduct (touching, speech, nudity). Child Predator Jerry Sandusky took a benign event (have a teenager take a shower after an athletic event) and used that as an opportunity to abuse children.  

PA Grand Jury Transcript Against Jerry Sandusky


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Furniture Tip Over On Accidents & Kids

For all of the new Moms & Dads and Aunts & Uncles Out There, Educate Yourself About the Danger of Furniture Tip Over Accidents. 

Seven Ways to Prevent Furniture Tip-Over Accidents in Your Home

Furniture and TV tip-over incidents are one of the top hidden hazards in the home. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) encourages you to inspect and anchor furniture and TVs in order to protect young children from a preventable tragedy.
Between 2000 and 2010, the CPSC received reports of 245 tip-over-related deaths, and more than 90 percent involved children 5 and younger. The majority of these children suffered fatal injuries to the head.
You can prevent tip-over accidents by following these safety tips in any home where children live or visit:
  • Anchor furniture to the wall or the floor.
  • Place TVs on sturdy, low bases.
  • Push the TV as far back on the furniture as possible.
  • Keep remote controls, toys, and other items that might attract children off TV stands or furniture.
  • Keep cable cords out of reach of children.
  • Make sure freestanding kitchen ranges and stoves are installed with anti-tip brackets.
  • Supervise children in rooms where these safety tips have not been followed.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

School Attack In Nigeria: 29 Boarding School Students Shot & Burned Alive

Points for Consideration Up Front: I am exposing the reader to this horrific story of an international school attack by terrorists because as educators it is important to be globally aware. What is the likelihood of terrorists attacking your school? Not probable, and certainly the threat is extremely low, but possible.  

POTISKUM, Nigeria – On July 6, 2013, Islamic militants (allegedly from the Boko Haram sect) attacked a boarding school (1,200 students) in Northeast Nigeria before dawn Saturday, killing 29 students and one teacher. The gunmen are believed to be from the Boko Haram sect whose name means "Western education is sacrilege."  Scores of schools have been burned down in the past year in Northeast Nigeria.  Some of the pupils were burned alive in the latest school attack blamed on a radical terror group, survivors said. Parents screamed in anguish as they tried to identify the charred and gunshot victims.

By Adamu Adamu and Michelle Faul, The Associated Press

     Farmer Malam Abdullahi found the bodies of two of his sons, a 10-year-old shot in the back as he apparently tried to run away, and a 12-year-old shot in the chest. "That's it, I'm taking my other boys out of school," he told The Associated Press as he wept over the two corpses. He said he had three younger children in a nearby school. "It's not safe," he said. "The gunmen are attacking schools and there is no protection for students despite all the soldiers." Survivors at the Potiskum General Hospital and its mortuary said gunmen attacked Government Secondary School in Mamudo village, 3 miles from Potiskum town at about 3 a.m. Saturday.

     They killed 29 students and an English teacher Mohammed Musa, who was shot in the chest, according to another teacher, Ibrahim Abdu. "We were sleeping when we heard gunshots. When I woke up, someone was pointing a gun at me," said 15-year-old Musa Hassan. He put his arm up in defense, and suffered a gunshot that blew off all four fingers on his right hand, the one he uses to write with. He said the gunmen came armed with jerry cans of fuel that they used to torch the school's administrative block and one of the hostels. "They burned the children alive," he said, the horror showing in his wide eyes.

     He and teachers at the morgue said dozens of children from the 1,200-student school escaped into the bush but have not been seen since. Some bodies are so charred they could not be identified, so many parents do not know if their children survived or died. Islamic militants from Boko Haram and breakaway groups have killed more than 1,600 civilians in suicide bombings and other attacks since 2010, according to an Associated Press count. President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency May 14, and deployed thousands of troops to halt the insurgency, acknowledging that militants had taken control of some towns and villages.

     Military attacks against the Muslim extremists appear to have driven the extremists into the mountains with caves, from which they emerge to attack schools and markets. The militants have increasingly targeted civilians, including health workers on vaccination campaigns, teachers and government workers. 
© 2013 The Associated Press.  

Final Comment: The techniques, tactics, and procedures of Islamic Extremists (VEO: Violent Extremist Organizations) terrorists used abroad can and have been visited upon our shores. 

Atlanta Elementary School Shooting Disaster Averted (Aug 20, 2013)

School Gunmen, Michael Hill Booking, 20
Bottom Line Up Front: This appears to have been a barricaded hostage situation at a school where the mentally deranged gunman was trying to commit "Suicide- By- Cop" by getting police to kill him. It WAS NOT an Active Shooter Situation (Newtown, Va. Tech, etc.) where a gunman comes in and starts shooting everyone. The gunman can be suicidal in either type situation and often are. 

Source of the Weapon: Authorities are looking to locate the owner of the AK-47, who they believe is an acquaintance of Hill's. Davis said officials believe Hill got the weapon from an acquaintance's house, although he wouldn't say whether the weapon was stolen or not. There was a photo of Hill holding a rifle, found on his cell phone. Hill told investigators he was on medication. "He indicated that he was on medication and had stopped taking it."  

Previous Violent Behaviours:   Tim Hill, the brother of Michael Brandon Hill, said his brother previously threatened to shoot him and suffers from mental disorders and "was bipolar and suffered from ADD," and that the two have not spoken recently. 

  • A Henry County sheriff's official said Hill was also charged in March with making terroristic threats for an incident between Dec. 30 and 31 of 2012. He "unlawfully threatened to commit the crime of murder, a crime of violence, for the purpose of terrorizing another."  Tim Hill told the media the charge stemmed from Hill threatening to shoot him. 
  • Michael Hill was issued a no-contact order afterwards. Court records show that Hill pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years' probation and anger counselling.

Present Violent Incident Charges: For this August 20th act of violence, Hill is charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, making terroristic threats and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was questioned for hours by police, but they have no clear idea of what may be a motive or whether Hill has ties to the school. Police chief Alexander said Hill "may have had prior contact" with someone at the school, but the investigation was still pending. No other individuals are expected to be charged.

Recovery Phase Initiated: Buses transported elementary school students from their school to nearby McNair High School on Wednesday to resume classes, a day after a potential massacre was averted. Students were greeted by counsellors and a sign that read, "Welcome McNair Elementary School. Our prayers are with you".  Excerpts taken from Internet article By Elizabeth Chuck, Staff Writer, NBC News

Discussion Points: Being mindful that the incident is new and the investigation is incomplete, here are some things to consider:

  • Hostage Situation vice Active Shooter Situation: The gunman talked instead of just shooting everyone.  He was not (thank God) just trying to kill everyone he saw as fast as he could, or he was convinced otherwise.
  • Typical Suicide By Cop scenario, a mentally deranged individual with violent intent who is suicidal attempts "suicide-by-cop" by creating a situation where police end your life because of the imminent threat you pose. His request to a hostage to call the media & his statement to TV editor about "start filming as cops die".    
  • Response in a Hostage Situation is different than in an Active Shooter Situation. 
    • Hostage situation: if there is no safe escape and you are detained by a gunman, build rapport and empathy with hostage taker so they see you as a person. School Secretary did this and it saved lives. 
    • Active Shooter: A Run - Hide - Fight (similar to ALICE) response is more appropriate if immediate mass shooting occurs. 
  • School Access Control: Having single access point entrance (critical), a locked entrance (good), and a buzzer access control system (good) still requires a trained human being to make a deliberate decision EVERY TIME they buzz anyone in or not. Once a person is buzzed in there needs to be person-to-person (P2P) screening contact as a seemingly innocent person may now (once in the school) demonstrate threatening behaviour (take out a hidden weapon, display aggression, etc.) once inside the school. A nefarious individual may "tailgate" someone buzzed in so be careful. 
    • The P2P screening contact allows the opportunity to alert others (activate 911, announce "lockdown") to trigger an immediate response and possibly mitigate the threat (using your judgement) to regain the initiative against someone planning to do harm. The secretary did this as well by talking to the gunman. 
  • Societal Mechanism to Maintain Visibility of a Threatening Member of a Community. "See Something, Hear Something, Say Something" can help identify a threatening individual and in this instance his brother reported him in March (charges filed, arrest, three years probation  and anger counselling, and medication). However who was tracking this and how could this have been prevented. What is the local areas threat assessment and threat tracking process, if any. How could this mentally deranged individual have been prevented from coming to the school to harm himself or others. This area is the critical vulnerability in preventing mass rampage shooters in our society.

Knowledge is Power and School Preparedness 

is about Preparation, not Paranoia.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Anniversary of July 22, 2011 Norwegian Massacre

Young Survivors of 2011 Norwegian Shooting Massacre
(Click on the Above Link) to see some of the survivors...

On July 22, 2011, a car bomb killed eight people at the executive government building in Oslo, Norway. Shortly thereafter, Anders Behring Breivik, responsible for the bombing in Oslo, opened fire at a summer youth camp for members of the Labor Party on the isolated island of Ut√łya, Norway killing 69 (mostly young) people and wounding (209) many more; 500 people survived.

15 Year Old Norwegian Survivor
Comment: This was a psychopathic act of violence from a madman who was captured and is in jail. The survivors of these violence acts against these youth will result in recovery for many years, and more than likely the rest of their lives. Not to mention, the impact these incidents have had on their families, friends, and loved ones will need to recover as well. 

Our focus always has to be on PREVENTION of these tragedies, if you SEE SOMETHING, HEAR SOMETHING, YOU NEED TO SAY SOMETHING. If only someone in Anders Behring Breivik's life was concerned about his extremist beliefs and purchases of weapons & bomb making materials; or if someone had stumbled upon his violent cyber postings this perhaps could have been prevented...? 

From a Response standpoint, in the most extreme cases of rampage shootings knowing how to RUN, HIDE, and as a last resort FIGHT (Protect Yourself and Others). Unfortunately in today's world this is a LIFE SKILL that can make us all more resilient.

It is about PREPARATION, not PARANOIA....

Thursday, March 7, 2013

HVAC Noxious Gas Leak Hospitalizes 28 Students in Tenn.

Nashville, Tenn:  More than two dozen students have spent the night in a hospital after carbon monoxide leaked at their Nashville private school. A hole in the school's heating unit is the reported cause of the leak. Drexel Preparatory Academy principal Cheryl Bowman told WTVF-TV students began coming to the office Monday morning complaining of flu-like symptoms. Officials decided to cancel classes. After students were sent home, the school got a call from Vanderbilt University Children's Hospital, saying several students had been brought in and showed high levels of carbon monoxide. Workers found a hole in a heating unit that serves the central part of the school, where the kindergarten and first-grade classes are located. Twenty-eight students were admitted to the hospital and put on oxygen overnight. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas produced by combustion.

Discussion Point:  

  • BE AWARE. If more than one student or school member complains of a headache or seems uncharacteristically drowsy there may be a gas leak. REMEMBER Carbon Monoxide can KILL. Always Err on the side of caution. 
    • This may also be triggered by the school healthcare personnel if they have a number of student's complaining of headache, drowsiness, or lethargy.
  • LEAVE & VENTILATE. Have the students and faculty members leave the room and take them as a group to the school nurse. Let adjacent teachers be aware as you depart. Ventilate the room by opening the window (s). Don't necessarily open the door because you may spread the gas throughout the school if it is localized to your room.
  • REPORT ASAP. Contact the school leadership and the School Nurse to let them know what is going on, which room you are in, and where you are taking the students. School Leaders will quickly assess and contact the Fire Department and their facilities personnel. The Fire Department will check the air quality and the Facilities (Maintenance) folks can assist in determining if there is a leak and where it may be coming from. Leave this to the professionals. 
  • May REQUIRE a LOCALIZED OR FULL EVACUATION? If Fire Department Incident Commander deems the air quality to be dangerous, they may direct the school leadership to evacuate a part (ie., 2d floor) of the building, relocate personnel (to the gym or cafeteria), or direct an evacuation of the entire building to mitigate the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning or noxious fumes. 
    • This situation may be further complicated by the time of year or season. If it is winter and you need to have a full evacuation you now have another issue: cold injuries if you have to stay outside for an extended period of time and if the weather is severe. 
  • NEED TO IDENTIFY THE SOURCE OF THE LEAK OR THE FACILITY REMAINS UNSAFE. Identifying the source of the leak is critical to preventing further injury to people and of secondary importance to determine when you can continue school operations. When does the school get cleared to re-open if it needed to be closed. The collaboration between the school and district leadership, Fire Dept., School District Facilities representatives, and District Public Affairs are vital to keeping the school community informed of what happened, what has been done to fix the problem, and the impact on the safety of students and teachers, and impact on school operations .  
    • Does your school have Carbon Monoxide Detectors? If not why not?
    • How often is the HVAC system inspected to determine if their are leaks, damage to ducts, intake or exhaust valves block? 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Feb 28, 2013 All Hazard School Related Incidents in US

Feb 28, 2013 All Hazard School Related Incidents:  

1. Roof fire at a School: February 27, Associated Press – (Pennsylvania) Rural W. Pa. school reopens after $250,000 fire. Students reported back to a western Pennsylvania elementary school February 27 after a roof fire caused extensive damage and cancelled classes for all Portage-area schools. 

2. Shooting at a School (University): February 27, Reuters – (South Carolina) One student dead after South Carolina 
university shooting. A shooting in a dormitory at Coastal Carolina University left one student dead February 26. Authorities placed the university on lockdown as they searched for the gunman, who they believe fled the campus. 

3. Group of People Sick in Cafeteria (University) February 26, Baltimore Sun – (Maryland) Johns Hopkins at Keswick building evacuated after people fall ill. Johns Hopkins’ Keswick building evacuated 600 people and closed down after 18 individuals became ill in the cafeteria area for 
unknown causes. Officials are still investigating and have ruled out a carbon monoxide, explosives, and several other hazards as the agents. Source:

4. School Bus Accident: February 26, Sioux City Journal – (Iowa) Sioux-city bus collision injures 21 students. A city transit bus and West High School bus collided and left 21 students with minor injuries after students threw snowballs at the school bus. School officials said the students would be punished accordingly. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Cyber Safety Videos for Kids (K through 8th Grade)

Michigan's Cyber Safety Initiative

Click on the Above Link to Access the Cyber Safety Videos for Kids.

The state of Michigan has a strong cyber-security program and put together age appropriate videos designed for kids from:

  • Kindergarten to 1st Grade
  • 2nd and 3rd Grade 
  • 4th and 5th Grade
  • 6th through 8th Grade
Discussion: Unfortunately, technology has outpaced most parent's ability to understand it, use it, and safely monitor and supervise their children's use of the Internet and information technology (iPhone, iPads, etc.). Most children spend long hours unsupervised on the Internet...? It has become a virtual "pacifier"and some parent's allow their children to have computer access in their rooms under the guise of privacy. I strongly recommend kids have computer access in an open area where parents can freely move through and view what is going on. Parent's don't need to be defensive in supervising what their kid's are doing on the Internet. Searching the computer's history and putting age appropriate parental controls is important, and the child use needs to be transparent. You should have access to their accounts, passwords, and sites - if not then do not let them use it. (It is a privilege, not a right) One parent said, "if any electronic information comes into my home or leaves out of my home, I have every right to know what it is, and if my child doesn't like it they don't get to use the Internet!" Many parent's act as if it is a child's right to have Internet privacy. The next step is teaching them digital citizenship and cyber safety. This will translate to making them adults who are more aware of Identity Theft and other Cyber threats.

Final Comment: What we teach our student's and kid's about the Internet is what they will take into adulthood. This is how we keep our schools and society safer and more secure.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Preventing School Mass Shooters & Katherine S. Newman

While it is understood there is no psychological profile for a school shooter, there are behavioral indicators. Katherine S. Newman (scholar and author of the book Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings) came up with Five Criteria to help identify a potential school shooter in her book. This work has exhaustive research and data which I am shocked has not been incorporated into the state and federal discussions on school safety in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. 

The Five Criteria are
1. Marginality: individual feels socially ostracized (real or perceived) and feels marginal (loner, bullied, harassed).
2. Individual Vulnerabilities: mental illness, family problems, depressed, suicidal, or a combination.
3. Cultural Scripts: change roles, manly exit, notoriety better than being ignored, send a message, fame, advertise threats but then committed to follow through or face more negative attention, escalating commitment, designs (plans) the rampage script.
4. Under The Radar: unrecognized change in academic or disciplinary history, downward changes in behavior, violent writings in school or social media, criminal history, threats, lack of parental awareness.
5. Access To Weapons: at home or relatives, purchase or borrow weapons, steal weapons, and some weapon experience.

In 2008, she was a keynote speaker at a Campus Safety Conference and her talk was filmed. This video is 52 minutes long where she touches the five criteria and upon three main questions:

1. What motivates these school rampage shooters?
2. Why didn't the school identify the behaviors of the shooter beforehand?
3. Why didn't the community identify the behaviors of the shooter beforehand? 

This video is worth your time if you are an educator, law enforcement, or involved in school preparedness (safety & security). Especially interesting is how she talks about the societal aspects of school and community cultures that negate (by not reporting concerns) the prevention of many of these school shootings. 

This reinforces my strong belief that promoting a "See Something, Hear Something, Read Something, Report Something" in our schools and communities is critical to prevention of school shootings.  

Monday, February 4, 2013

5 Simple Steps To Make Your School Safer and More Secure

5 Simple Steps to Take To Make Your School Safer and More Secure

Click on the link above to view the document. 

STEP 1: Instill, and Maintain, a School Preparedness Mindset.  
·         “See Something, Hear Something, Say Something”  campaign that is all inclusive

STEP 2: Form a School Preparedness Committee

STEP 3: Learn About School Preparedness (Free FEMA EMI Online Courses)

STEP 4Find, Review, and Refine your School Preparedness Plan

STEP 5: Conduct School Preparedness Drills and grow capability