Don Shomette

People are the Prize


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Review & Discussion (What Do You See Wednesday Dec 11, 2014)

Let’s review and discuss the last, ‘What Do You See Wednesday’

First, here’s the picture.

12nov2014

 

Here’s what Officer Diana Back had to say…

It is SUPER clean which shows that it is taken care of and staff care about their school. It is also well lit, nice line of vision, no real hiding spots…..door is open so people can hear/see anything unusual from inside the classroom and there seems to be a color-code scheme thing going on.

Here’s what I have to add.

First of all, outstanding job to Diana. Absolutely, the school is well taken care of and super clean. That tells us a lot about the leadership, staff, and students. It looks like they care and having spent the day in the school—I can say unequivocally that they do!

I want to add to the color-code scheme that Diana mentioned, which was really the purpose of this picture. The color coding is a CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) technique. It’s made to influence behavior. Along with the lights directly over the colored squares, it helps to create a ‘desire’ in the person walking down the hall to follow a particular path. After all, ask yourself if you were walking down the hall where would you choose to walk. Would it be on the colored squares and under the lights or along the sides?

I’m guessing down the middle of the hall which is good and bad.

Good, because we want to influence behaviors and guide people to walk where we want them to. This helps to control access, enhance surveillance, and give order to the space.

Bad, because it’s in the middle of the hall. When students are changing class, we don’t want 100 students walking in the center of the hall. It is better to keep people separated by space and distance which reduces conflict and the possibility of random violence.

How would we fix this?

When you build new schools or renovate existing buildings in your district, really think about each space and add in every control feature that you possibly can. In this hall, we would put the colored squares on the outside, near the walls and put a string of wall lights directly over them. That way, when the students walk down the hall they will be close to the walls and separated in two columns instead of one directly down the middle.

This will give us greater control and allow for one adult to stand in the middle and better supervise the passing students.

It may seem like a little thing, but creating safer schools is a process and everything that helps, even if only a little, will add up to make a big difference.


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What Do You See Wednesday? (12 November 2014)

Check out the comments to read what others have seen!

Being able to spot what is safe and unsafe takes practice. And experience is invaluable. We’re going to post a new picture each Wednesday and after everyone has had a chance to comment, we’ll review and discuss the findings.

Today’s picture has several crime prevention techniques (which is really influencing behaviors) as well as something larger that I want to discuss.  Take a look and what do you see?

 

12nov2014


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Review & Discussion (What Do You See Wednesday? 19 March 2014)

Let’s review and discuss the picture from What Do You See Wednesday? (19 March 2014)

Here’s the background:

Today’s picture is from another high school with severe security concerns. Every student that enters the school must walk through one of the two metal detectors and then have their backpack run through the X-ray machine. When you comment on this picture, do so as if you are a security officer and you are working this spot during student arrival.  What do you see from the eyes of the security officer?

Here’s the picture:

metal2
Here are my thoughts:

We talk a lot about the safety of the students and the staff members, but today I want to talk about the safety of our security personnel. The current setup is unsafe for the security officers. They have no space and distance between them and a potential threat and therefore no time to react first. Remember, this school feels the risk is high enough to have every student pass through a metal detector and to have their book bags x-rayed. That alone, should have the security officers take additional precautions.

What do I mean?

Increase The Space:
While it is good that only one door is being used, the officers have given themselves no time to react first. Imagine you’re a security officer and you’re standing there watching students stream in and suddenly the alarm goes off. How long have you been able to observe the student who set off the alarm? Maybe five seconds at the most? That is not long enough. We want to increase the time we are able to observe and assess those before they enter our area. The best way to do that is to…

Increase The Distance:
If I couldn’t move the metal detectors backwards and gain distance that way, I’d post an officer in the hall but place him in a spot where he was still visible from the doorway (typically there are at least three security officers manning an area like this and if I was an officer standing inside, I’d want to be able to see the officer outside in the hall).

Next, I’d create a lane in the hall and make all the students form in a line out there, before they get near the metal detector. The officer in the hall would have the job of observing and assessing. Does anyone look nervous? Anyone carrying something bulky? Anyone showing other signs of potential danger?

The officer in the hall would also have the job of spacing out the students. That is, not letting them bunch up around the metal detector but instead ensuring that they enter one at a time—nice and slow and at our pace. If the alarm goes off we want as few students in the immediate area as possible and we want a clear path to immediately address the situation.

We see it again and again that we can solve or lessen so many problems just by tweaking the environment to make it work for us. In everything we do, we want to increase the space and distance between ourselves and a potential threat. It is always in our benefit to be the one to act first.

When we do, we stand a better chance of influencing the outcome.

 


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What Do You See Wednesday? (26 March 2014)

Check out the comments to read what others have seen!

Being able to spot what is safe and unsafe takes practice. And experience is invaluable. We’re going to post a new picture each Wednesday and after everyone has had a chance to comment, we’ll review and discuss the findings.

Today’s pictures are from a real live issue happening at a local school. Those using the Park & Ride are entering the school to use the bathrooms and to charge cell phones while waiting for rides to pick them up or after they have been dropped off.  Recently, there was even a ‘take down’ at the Park & Ride by federal agents which was witnessed by the school.

For a more detailed explanation, read the following story.  http://www.wdbj7.com/news/local/residents-say-park-and-ride-lot-is-a-threat-to-nearby-school/25166184

From the three pictures below, you can see that the school is very close to the Park & Ride.  What do you see and what would you do to address this issue?

Standing inside the Park & Ride and in the distance the school is visible.
fallingbranch3

Sign posted at the exit of the Park & Ride
fallingbranch5

Sign posted on school property and in the path of those walking from the Park & Ride towards the school.
fallingbranch4

 


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What Do You See Wednesday? (19 March 2014)

Check out the comments to read what others have seen!

Being able to spot what is safe and unsafe takes practice. And experience is invaluable. We’re going to post a new picture each Wednesday and after everyone has had a chance to comment, we’ll review and discuss the findings.

Today’s picture is from another high school with severe security concerns.  Every student that enters the school must walk through one of the two metal detectors and then have their backpack run through the X-ray machine. When you comment on this picture, do so as if you are a security officer and you are working this spot during student arrival.

What do you see–from the eyes of a security officer?

metal2


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What Do You See Wednesday (Review & Discussion) 12 March 2014

Let’s review and discuss the last, ‘What Do You See Wednesday’ from 12 March 2014.

Here’s the picture

stairs

I posted this picture because I wanted to talk about the stairs and give some tips for making them a little bit safer.

Designated directions.
This school has designated an ‘up’ and ‘down’ side for the students. Besides the arrows indicating which way the student is supposed to travel, there is also a metal rail that physically divides the two sides. This is a great way to reduce space conflict. Meaning, students that are using the space to walk down the stairs will not be in conflict with students using the stairs to walk up or…one gaggle of students cannot run into another gaggle.

For the schools that do not have a dividing rail to physically separate the two sides some have painted arrows on the walls and even stripes on the floor to help control movement.

Remember, this school had serious safety concerns and needed a dozen security officers to maintain control. Separating the students and making them all move in one direction helped a great deal to reduce fighting in the stairwells.

Shut it down.
Another technique is to shut down a specific stairwell to student movement. Don’t lock the doors, but just close the stairwell down so students cannot use them unless it’s an emergency. This is a great technique for limiting student access to spots that are difficult to observe, high risk areas where trouble seems to always occur, or if manpower is low and you’re spread too thin to cover everywhere.

Teachers should still use the stairwell to ensure that it is not being used as a spot for students to hide or to do bad things.

Own it.
Stairwells are often ignored because no one really owns them. Identify the adults that are near the stairwells and ask, plead, and or assign them to help own the stairwell. I would assign several adults to one stairwell and have them take turns supervising the space. Someone must watch them during class change and occasionally search them for indicators of violence or other unwanted behaviors.

Most schools only have a few stairwells and they don’t have severe safety issues.  With a good plan and a coordinated response you can enjoy an immediate improvement with a little bit of effort.  For schools that ignore their stairwells, they can and will cause a terrible amount of heartache for such a little space.


Leave a comment

What Do You See Wednesday? (12 March 2014)

Check out the comments to read what others have seen!

Being able to spot what is safe and unsafe takes practice. And experience is invaluable. We’re going to post a new picture each Wednesday and after everyone has had a chance to comment, we’ll review and discuss the findings.

Today’s picture is from a high school in a district with severe security concerns.  This particular school had at least ten security officers.  Keep that in mind when looking at this picture…

What do you see?

stairs