Dec 14th, 2016
Following a harrowing tale of how the Safety Doc and his father narrowly escaped the wrath of security personnel at an oil refinery, Dr. Perrodin elaborates on our innate tendencies to simply overlook proverbial red "safety" flags present in the every-day environment. This week, a Public Service Announcement (PSA) titled "Evan" (searchable on YouTube) was released by the nonprofit "Sandy Hook Promise" created by people in Newtown, Connecticut. The video is remarkably effective at demonstrating how our attention is drawn to the "norm" and how easily we overlook in-plain-sight warning signs. Such warning signs, which might be posts on social media, prevent school attacks when they are identified, reported to adults and then ACTED UPON by adults. It's an entire safety system and a short circuit in any segment disables opportunities to prevent sentinel events and to connect a child, or children, to supports necessary to address harm-to-self or harm-to-others errors in thinking. Unfortunately, my experience with many schools are that few center teaching students, staff and parents the concept of threat assessment. Some schools don't even have a "formal" threat assessment process. Yep, even in 2016! Curiously, the term "leakage detection" rarely appears in Internet searches and some of the most prominent writing on the topic was authored by me! (Per a Google search, my works were the first 4 headings that appeared). Residue exists. “In cases of Erfut, Germany in 2002 and Columbine in 1999, attackers disclosed their plans on the Internet. These prior claims of intent are often lost in general disbelief of the noise of the daily routine. To filter the noise, school officials must learn to differentiate between a mere threat of violence from the ability and commitment to perform it”. Leakage continues to be an important aspect of school safety. Yet, little is done to teach students, staff or parents how to identify leakage - even though such "education" measures would be relatively simple to do. For example, a social media post expressing intent to harm self or others should be recognized as threat and subsequently elicit a reporting response. We can teach students and parents to recognize such threats. Per the “Evan” video, unsettling media posts can be “glossed over” as just “typical rhetoric from THAT kid”. School are structured in a top-down manner that centers school administrators as the leakage gatekeepers. This approach was incomplete in 2006 and remains incomplete in 2016 – leakage is typically first presented to students or staff. Where's the urgency to evolve to a better system? When humans see a problem from far away, such as the pending oil shortage, the problem is likely to be solved – the surprise innovations will drive society. Leakage detection is way to address a slow-moving disaster. SOURCE: Crockett, S., Huang, S. B., Lee, K., & Liebling, D. (2005). Protecting Soft Targets: A Case Study and Evaluation of High School Security. This podcast is also available on YouTube: https://youtu.be/1GPDtgMXmU4 The 405 Media (9PM Pacific M-R): http://the405media.com/the-safety-doc/ Follow me on Twitter @SafetyPhD Follow my blog at https://crisisprepconsulting.wordpress.com/ I will respond to comments made on any platforms.