Archive for July 2019

School safety is the default responsibility of individual schools. Surprisingly, there are no federal laws mandating school safety plans of school-based mental health services. Some, and not all, states require school safety plans. Individual school districts safety plans are inconsistent and with site-based management, most schools apply discretion to make safety policies fit the unique characteristics of the school – from the population served to the design of the building. In other words, schools are pretty much on their own to craft and ensure school safety protocols. KEY TERMS FOR ENTITIES RESPONSIBLE FOR SCHOOL SAFETY. “Local entity” includes local, regional or district boards, agencies or offices (such as local boards of education, district boards of trustees or school system committees). “School” includes administrators, principals and other designated officials at the school-level. “School safety entity” includes agencies, departments, task forces, committees, etc., which were created with the intent of addressing school safety matters (Education Commission of The States, 2019). Confusing, right? FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ROLE IN SCHOOL SAFETY. The federal government doesn’t mandate school safety plans. Beyond some token legislation of gun free zones, the federal government defaults the responsibility for maintaining safe schools to the states. The Feds saturate states and schools with recommendations to the point where the one-size-fits-all templates simply overwhelm the end-users. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has produced solid research and resources for school connectedness, a framework known to decrease school violence and increase student attendance and academic performance. A school is not obligated to follow the CDC’s school connectedness model. STATES ROLE IN SCHOOL SAFETY. Only 43 of 50 states mandate that schools have safety plans. Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, Pennsylvania do not (1) require a school safety plan; (2) identify an entity responsible for creating the safety plan; (3) require that law enforcement be involved in creating the plan; (4) frequency with which the plan is required to be reviewed and updated; or (5) have a legal citation referencing school safety. Most states require drills, but then require a submitted checklist once a year to verify compliance. There are no onsite district safety assessments. DISTRICTS ROLE IN SCHOOL SAFETY. Districts are responsible for adopting school safety policies and practices. Wisconsin, for example, has 421 districts! Templates are available, but school safety plans, drills and exercises have a modicum of inter-school reliability due to the fact that most schools function under site-based management. In other words, principals are responsible for safety training procedures and safety drill design and fidelity in their buildings. Using Wisconsin as an example, that’s more than 2,200 school buildings – not including hundreds of community preschool partner sites. SAFETY GRANTS. In July, 2019, the US Department of Education made $65 million dollars available in competitive school safety grants. These grants are divided into 3 categories. Each grant is vaguely described and won’t evoke sustained change. Obtaining one of these grants is like winning the lottery – you can do more until the money is expended. None of these grants is for researching root causes of school violence or the Youth Code of Silence. 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 This is episode 103.

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

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On July 3, 2019, Dr. Perrodin presented School Safety in America: Rhetoric Vs. Reality on Wisconsin Public Television. During that presentation, he identified weaponized deepfakes as the biggest threat to student safety and that the incentive to use deepfakes to target students might be as simple as “The Liar’s Dividend.” WHAT IS THE LIAR’S DIVIDEND? A classic example of the liar’s dividend, which goes back to early reports that cigarettes were linked to cancer. In response, the tobacco industry relied on journalism’s honorable tendency to report “both sides of the story,” and went on to suggest there were legitimate doubts about the validity of that scientific research. WHAT IS THE DIVIDEND? In the May 17, 2019 article “The Liar’s Dividend is dangerous by journalists. Here’s How to Fight it” by Kelly McBride, she states: “This is a bigger problem than the Oxygen Theory, which argues that by debunking a falsehood, journalists give the claim a longer life. The Liar’s Dividend suggests that in addition to fueling the flames of falsehoods, the debunking efforts actually legitimize the debate over the veracity. This creates smoke and fans suspicions among at least some in the audience that there might well be something true about the claim. That’s the “dividend” paid to the perpetrator of the lie. WHY IS THE LIAR’S DIVIDEND THE TOP THREAT TO SCHOOLS? The Liar’s Dividend has always been around in the form of false accusations to dent the recipient’s reputation or incorporated into social media bullying. When a student, for example, posts intentional misinformation about another student, he or she is also planting doubts. “I don’t think Carol would say those things about her friends when she was at Terry’s party, but maybe she did?” ANYONE CAN BE TARGETED. We have a new player in the game. Avatar realism has been around since 2011 and progressively becomes more lifelike. One of these popular avatars is Miquela Sousa. She doesn’t exist. She’s a CGI image with a team of engineers, marketers and dreamers posting to her various social media feeds. Avatars of this nature have proven to be largely the tool of marketers. However, they also have been hacked. The damage won’t be delivered from avatars, but from the newest threat known as deepfakes. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN AVATAR AND A DEEPFAKE? A deepfake will target a person by falsely representing them while an avatar is a computer generated fake person. So, a deepfake image is you – looks like you, talks like you, but probably doesn’t convey an authentic message. Both present risks to student safety, but the deepfakes can tactically be used to target other students, teachers, school administrators or parents. ERODE TRUST. Students should learn to skeptical consumers of information, but deepfakes are going to pit student against student or student against teacher or everyone in education against the integrity of information. Did the teacher really say that, or was the video of his rant a deepfake generated with $250 software – and now the teacher in on leave as the school conducts an investigation. The Liar’s Dividend paid to the accuser. As schools spend more than $3 billion per year in school fortifications, the reality is that nothing is being done to prepare for deepfakes and once they arrive, we won’t be able to fortify ourselves to safety. What the solution? Nobody knows. However, the intelligence community predicts that deepfakes will infiltrate all levels of society by 2022 and most people won’t be able to identify a deepfake from an authentic recording. 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 This is episode 102.

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

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