Archive for May 2019

As of May, 2019, only 43 of 50 states require schools to have safety plans and conduct safety drills (Education Commission of the States, 2019). When states mandate schools to have safety plans and conduct safety drills, it is the individual schools left to determine how they will design said plans and drills. In some states, the safety plan must be presented to a school board and submitted to the state Department of Justice. However, without templates and rubrics, there is littler inter-school reliability. What is a “good” safety plan or “effective” safety drill? Nobody knows. STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT WAS THE TIPPING POINT FOR PROTECTING HUMAN SUBJECTS. While the Stanford Prison Experiment was originally slated to last 14 days, it had to be stopped after just six due to what was happening to the student participants. The guards became abusive, and the prisoners began to show signs of extreme stress and anxiety. These were university students, assuming assigned roles, as part of an experiment that attempted to investigate the psychological effects of perceived power, focusing on the struggle between prisoners and prison officers. THE MELTDOWN. Similar to the infamous 1963 Milgram shock experiment, Stanford’s experiment flew off the rails as subjects in positions of power followed directives that seemingly brought pain or harm to recipients.  Were the subjects acting as prison guards cruel, despicable people? Probably not. But, they were in a university context and a professor was mingling among them. They probably assumed that some measures were in place to prevent harm to recipients - and simultaneously lacked awareness of the endorphin rush they received from exerting their will over others. IRB WAS FORMED. In 1974, universities collectively ratified the Institutional Review Board (IRB) process. The mandate of the IRB is to provide ethical and regulatory oversight of research that involves human subjects by: Protecting the rights, welfare and well-being of human research participants, recruited to participate in research conducted or supported by the university. Psychological and physical welfare are carefully considered and risks are identified and mitigated. WHAT IS COMMON RULE? In 1991, 16 federal agencies formally adopted the core of these regulations in a common Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects also known as the "Common Rule" (Grady, 2015). I propose that adopting the IRB in K-12 settings will increase safety for all drill participants and, through the scientific model, increase efficacy of school safety drills. Common Rule applies, for example, to the Food and Drug Administration and clinical trials for medications. Common Rule was updated in 2019 with greater emphasis placed upon simplifying subject consent forms and clearly explaining potential consequences of participating in studies. IRB or COMMON RULE WOULD ELEVATE SCHOOL SAFETY DRILLS. Schools can establish their own standards for school safety plans and safety drills as long as they are complying with state mandates. In other words, schools IRB or COMMON RULE for these reasons: (1) Corral theatrical intruder drills that might traumatize or physically harm participants. This happens - just do a search on Google for “Intruder Drill Lawsuit”. Also, hyper-realistic drills are not the gold standard. If they were, we would conduct fire drills and tornado drills with similar drama. So, a committee of administrators, teachers, students, parents and board members review each proposed safety drill. (2) Each drill would have at least one learning objective. For example, “If a lockdown is announced during passing time, students would go to a safe location.” You can define “safe” per your site. Another example of a learning objective is, “Emergency responders will learn 3 techniques to engage with students with disabilities.” FOLLOW DR. PERRODIN: Twitter @SafetyPhD and subscribe to The Safety Doc YouTube channel & Apple Podcasts. SAFETY DOC WEBSITE & BLOG: www.safetyphd.com The Safety Doc Podcast is hosted & produced by David Perrodin, PhD. ENDORSEMENTS. Opinions are those of the host & guests. The show adheres to nondiscrimination principles while seeking to bring forward productive discourse & debate on topics relevant to personal or institutional safety. Email David: thesafetydoc@gmail.com LOOKING FOR DR. TIMOTHY LUDWIG, PHD? Dr. Perrodin’s “Safety Doc Podcast” negotiates school and community safety. To be informed about industrial safety, please contact Appalachian State University Professor Dr. Timothy Ludwig, PhD, at www.safety-doc.com

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Purchase Dr. Perrodin’s Book: Schools of Errors – Rethinking School Safety in America

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In 1978, an engineering student discovered a fatal structural flaw in New York City’s just-completed Citicorp Tower. What happened next wasn’t made public for nearly 20 years! NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL FIRE LEAD CONTAMINATION. Dr. Perrodin juxtaposes the Citicorp Tower dilemma with the modern day unfolding crisis of massive lead contamination resultant of the April, 2019, Notre Dame Cathedral Fire. Per the Guardian (in an article by Angelique Chrisafis dated May 9th), “The Paris police statement on Thursday said that on the surface of pavements and gardens immediately adjoining the cathedral, lead levels were found to be very high: between 32 and 65 times the recommended limit by French health authorities. The areas closest to the cathedral are currently closed. Lead levels are also high within the cathedral itself.” Wow! Dr. Perrodin notes that similar “defiant” articles are surfacing that both bring awareness to the lead contamination and bluntly state the dire short and long term health risks associated with approximately 500,000 pounds of lead vaporized from the cathedral’s roof. Chrisafis’s article later notes, “But the French environmental campaign group Robin des Bois has warned that about 300 tonnes of lead from the cathedral’s roof and steeple had melted in the blaze. The cathedral has been reduced to the state of toxic waste,” the association said shortly after the fire, urging authorities to detoxify the tonnes of rubble, ash and wastewater produced in the disaster. WHAT’S REALLY HAPPENING IN PARIS? David states that Paris officials are aware of the breadth and depth of the lead contamination issue and that there’s likely a contingency plan being assembled to deal with thousands of people impacted by lead in their bodies secondary to the Notre Dame fallout. Dr. Perrodin wasn’t surprised that areas close to the cathedral weren’t registering high levels of lead contamination as he points out that the thick plume of lead-laden smoke probably carried the highest concentrations of lead 2-3 miles from the cathedral before cooling and the particles dusted over Paris. PARIS HAS A LOT TO LOSE. Yep, admission of widespread lead contamination would destroy tourism (the economic engine of Paris) and how do you tackle lead abatement in a population dense region? Chernobyl could be isolated - you can’t do the same with Paris. Also, imagine the litigation! What happens to the $billion in donations to rebuild NDC when thousands of people rack up medical bills due to complications from lead exposure? The public health crisis would be off the charts! THE CITICORP TOWER FLAW COULD HAVE KILLED 20,000 PEOPLE. Chief structural engineer, William LeMessurier, is largely credited as the person responsible for creating the wondrous Citicorp Tower in 1977. He was a thoughtful engineer and put the design of the tower through its paces with wind test scale simulations in the world’s best lab and worked the standard battery of industry calculations. The tower was built in an innovative way to accommodate an existing church. Hence, the pillars that supported the tower were moved from the corners to the middle of each wall. A strong central pillar, like a mushroom stem, also supported the structure. WHAT WAS WRONG. LeMessurier received a call from an engineering graduate student who was puzzled at how the structure could withstand perpendicular winds. LeMessurier listened and upon further study of the building and learning of some last-minute changes that included having tension braces bolted in place rather than welded in place, he was terrified to be informed that the tower would collapse with encountering a 70 MPH wind from a certain angle. The tower had a tuned dampening system that would offset such winds, but it was electrical - and if the power went out during a storm - well, lights out! WHAT CITICORP DID RIGHT. LeMessurier the Citicorp brass, insurance folks, NYC officials and the NYC welder’s union acted in unison to quickly fortify the tower. They also hired 3 weather agencies to rigorously track weather conditions and formulated a 10-block evacuation plan in case of high winds. WHAT CITICORP DID WRONG. The workers in the tower or in proximal structures were NOT made aware that the tower could collapse. The decision to withhold this information was done to prevent panic and massive economic disruption to the city. In addition, officials believed they could evacuate the zone in time. However, Lemessurier is most strongly criticized for not sharing the wind shear information with the greater engineering community for several years. How many buildings were constructed AFTER Citicorp Tower without calculating for the peculiar wind shear factors confirmed by Lemessurier? In a recorded 1997 presentation he gave at a university, Lemessurier implies that other tall buildings existed that were susceptible to failure due to similar wind dynamics. How many of those structures might have been built differently, or retrofitted, had Lemessurier’s knowledge immediately been shared with building engineers? IMPLICATIONS FOR SCHOOL SAFETY. Dr. Perrodin presents different scenarios that happen in schools. Each impacts the safety of the setting. How do the schools respond to each scenario if following what is unfolding in Paris or per the protocol established by the team that quietly mitigated the Citicorp flaw? FOLLOW DR. PERRODIN: Twitter @SafetyPhD and subscribe to The Safety Doc YouTube channel & Apple Podcasts. SAFETY DOC WEBSITE & BLOG: www.safetyphd.com The Safety Doc Podcast is hosted & produced by David Perrodin, PhD. ENDORSEMENTS. Opinions are those of the host & guests. The show adheres to nondiscrimination principles while seeking to bring forward productive discourse & debate on topics relevant to personal or institutional safety. Email David: thesafetydoc@gmail.com LOOKING FOR DR. TIMOTHY LUDWIG, PHD? Dr. Perrodin’s “Safety Doc Podcast” negotiates school and community safety. To be informed about industrial safety, please contact Appalachian State University Professor Dr. Timothy Ludwig, PhD, at www.safety-doc.com

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