Situational Awareness and Safe Schools

February 23, 2018

With the tragic events in Florida last week, the safety and security of our school communities continue to be of the utmost importance for our member schools and universities. Yesterday, PAISBOA hosted a program on Situational Awareness with John Gooley from US Security Care, Inc. An authority on school safety, John offers specialized professional training based in part on his 28 years of experience with the Lower Merion Police Department. He is a proponent of trusting your intuition in the context of pattern recognition.

Situational Awareness is comprised of observation combined with orientation. An observation can be a stimulus you perceive with your senses, a “bad guy”, or an object out of place. Orientation puts what we observe into context so we know what to do next.

There were 3 important takeaways from the program:

  1. Every member of the school community should understand what Situational Awareness is and know what to do if they observe someone or something out of place.
  2. “If there is doubt, there is no doubt.” It is better to err on the side of caution and report observations.
  3. Know the early warning signs of violence from the National Association of School Psychologists, 1998
    • Excessive feelings of rejection
    • Low self esteem
    • History of violence at home
    • Lack of coping skills
    • Social withdrawal
    • Bullying
There are several state resources that are available to school leaders who would like more information about “safe schools” below:

The PAISBOA Business Insurance Group was formed in 1997 with the goal of leveraging the scale and expertise of like-minded schools to purchase property and casualty insurance at an extremely competitive price, obtain extraordinary service levels from our insurance providers and brokers, and to work together to proactively and effectively manage campus risk. If you are a member of the PAISBOA Business Insurance Group, you can access information from Safe Schools. If you would like more information, please contact Mark Murray.

All members of PAISBOA can access information on safe schools at Praesidium. If you would like more information, please contact Al Greenough.

In the meantime, PAISBOA plans to continue the conversation about safety and security in schools. If you are uncertain what your school’s next steps are, please contact us. We can help you connect with experts who can assist you.

Be safe and trust your instincts!

Take advantage of the power of the flock!!


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