Don Shomette

People are the Prize

What Do You See Wednesday (Review & Discussion) 5 Feb 2014

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Let’s review and discuss the last, “What Do You See Wednesday from 5 Feb 2014.

First, here’s the picture:


Here is what others had to say:

Corporal Rob Sarnoski: Classroom windows do not appear to have blinds or other covering in the event of a lockdown. There is also a crock pot plugged into the wall in an area that could easily be reached and/or disturbed by the students.

Claire P: crock pot plugged in and sitting on top of the bookcase?

Here are my comments:

Thanks Claire and Rob for the comments and great job spotting the crock pot.

Sometimes we are so focused on stopping the ‘big’ stuff that we miss the lesser safety concerns that can still cause a lot of harm.  At the time this picture was taken, one student is standing near the crock pot and one student is bending over beneath it to get a book.  It wouldn’t take much for the crock pot to spill and someone to get hurt.

I also want to bring up another point.  This is more of a mindset, something to be encouraged and talked about during staff meetings and trainings.  Any space that a teacher can see falls under the teacher’s area of protective responsibility.  That means if a teacher can see the parking lot, main entrance, hallway, stairwell, bus loop, or any other area from their classroom they are responsible to help keep it under observation during the school day.  That doesn’t mean they have to stare at it, but just every now and then glance towards it.  If every teacher did this simple little thing it would greatly increase the safety filters and layers and make our schools much safer.

Some might say that this is too much to ask of our teachers.  It’s not.  In fact, I guarantee that it will not impede the teacher in any way.  How do I know?  Because I do it when I present and in the last sixteen years it has never ever once impeded a presentation.  In truth, I never even think about it anymore.  I just do it because it has become a mindset and this is where we want our teachers to get to—a mindset of active access control.

Now back to the picture.

The teacher can see into the adjacent classroom as well as the picnic table which is located beside an exit/entrance.  This is a good thing.  If encouraged and trained in what to do, this teacher could be a great help in watching and reporting potential threats trying to gain entrance into the building.  They could also help alert the administration if her fellow teacher across the way is ever in distress and needs immediate assistance—and vice a versa.

For a little bit of extra work we will make our schools safer, encourage a team attitude, develop a proactive mindset to preventing violence, and enhance our school climates.

Who wouldn’t want to do that?

Author: Don Shomette

Don Shomette is a trainer, speaker, consultant, and owner of People are the Prize, a violence prevention company that helps people to prevent and survive a school attack. He has spent a lifetime working with police officers and principals and is consistently evaluated by those who attend his trainings as one of the best instructors ever. Don challenges, entertains, and helps school personnel to think of preventing violence in a new and positive way.

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