Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Another common theme throughout all the literature on school shootings, crime, and security, is prevention. Knowing the warning signs and acting to prevent crimes on school grounds is central to school safety. For example, the literature from one private security firm, Atlas Security & Safety Design, Inc. heavily emphasizes that school safety is best maintained through prevention. The firm’s expertise focuses on advance planning—the Appalachian School of Law apparently had no such planning. In Atlas Security & Design literature, the firm lays out the following questions in a section called “People and Security:”

Do guards patrol the grounds or challenge strangers? (The Appalachian School of Law had no security guards.)

Do you (the school) have a good working relationship with the local police? (Apparently the school did and does have a good working relationship with local law enforcement, yet the scene following the shooting was pandemonium.)

Does someone in your organization keep up with advance security technology and with the latest security-related ideas about building design? (Had the school had security built into its design, Peter Odighizuwa might never have made it into the school in the first place, much less from the second floor to the first to kill Angie.)

Are all employees screened and do you perform background checks before hiring? (How about background checks to see if your students have a record of violence and have threatened bodily harm to spouses?)

Do you have a clear statement for your security mission, job descriptions, and essential functions? (The Appalachian School of Law did not have such a statement—nor does it have one as this book goes to print.)

Do you review, update, and document your security policies and procedures? (You cannot update policies and procedures you don’t have in the first place.)

Do employees receive a copy of security policies and procedures and do they sign that they have read and received them? (Again, there was no policy.) (To be continued)

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