Ohio Seminar’s Focus to be School Weapons, Sexual Misconduct

October 5, 2007

Indiana Insurance and Ohio Casualty, both members of Liberty Mutual Group, have announced that they will co-sponsor the continuing series of Safer Schools Seminars at The Ohio State University Fawcett Center on Thursday, October 25, 2007.

Ohio school administrators and members of school law enforcement are expected to attend the seminar, which will feature Michael Dorn, executive director of Safe Havens International, a non-profit organization that assists schools around the world to internalize safety expertise.

“We are committed to helping schools create safer learning environments,” said Michael D. Connell, senior vice president, Liberty Mutual Agency Markets Specialty Products Group. “The continuing tragedies we have all seen in recent years make us intent on encouraging regular prevention practices in schools and giving these serious problems the ongoing attention they deserve to protect students and schools.”

Deadly Weapons Violence & Weapons Possession

While the rate of serious violent crime at the nation’s schools fell in 2004, the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Justice indicates there were 21 homicides in schools between July 1, 2004 and June 30, 2005. The report also found that incidences of weapons possession on school grounds remained at 2003 levels, according the written statement issued by the companies.

On the morning of April 16, 2007, Michael Dorn was presenting his weapons concealment demonstration at Indiana Insurance’s Safer Schools Seminar in Indianapolis when accounts of shooting fatalities on the campus of Virginia Tech were first being reported.

“This tragedy teaches us that students, teachers, and administrators need to be attentive to the behaviors of those they interact with routinely on a campus. This means more than observing, it means reporting,” said Dorn. “Communication channels must be established and open in order to diffuse potentially threatening behavior before it turns violent. We have an obligation to create a culture where students and entire educational communities, including parents, report concerns early on.”

Dorn’s presentation will closely focus on proven techniques and strategies to prevent school shootings and blade assaults. Among the topics to be discussed:
• Multi-disciplinary threat assessments;
• Meaningful access control techniques;
• Behaviors that precede school weapons assaults;
• Appropriate use of drills and exercises;
• Emergency preparedness procedures for weapons incidents; and
• Weapons screening and detection.

Preventing & Detecting Educator Sexual Misconduct

Trusting relationships between educators and students and the maintenance of a safe and nurturing educational environment are undermined when educators engage in sexual abuse or misconduct.

A 2004 report by the U.S. Department of Education entitled, “Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of Existing Literature” acknowledges that the overwhelming majority of America’s educators are true professionals, but also finds that 9.6 percent of 2,065 eighth to eleventh graders surveyed in 2000 reported unwanted educator sexual misconduct. The report also highlights the fact that only five to six percent of child sexual abuse cases become known to social services or the police.

This Safer Schools Seminar will include a presentation entitled, “Prevention and Mitigation of Educator Sexual Abuse.” Steven Deig, manager of the newly-established Safer Schools Consulting Center, will speak to the need for schools to:
• Develop a clear policy against sexual conduct with students and communicate it to employees, students, and parents;
• Adopt and publish reporting procedures and make sure every student knows how to report;
• Designate at least one trained Title IX coordinator for each school;
• Designate a case coordinator at the district level; and
• Adopt effective and thorough background screening.

“It’s not enough for schools to simply adopt these policies and procedures, they must follow-through and do what they say they will do,” said Deig. “Schools must make child protection and prevention of this form of misconduct the highest priority.”

Comprehensive Approach to Most Common School Hazards

School weapons violence and educator sexual misconduct are high-profile risks for schools, but there are many more commonly occurring hazards and risks that the new Indianapolis-based Safer Schools Consulting Center helps schools identify and address. Multi-Hazard Site Assessments of schools incorporate many of the requirements of Jared’s Law, for which new Ohio school inspection rules were issued in late September.

Steven Munro, manager of loss prevention with Indiana Insurance, conducts dozens of Multi-Hazard Site Assessments at schools each year. Among the most common overlooked hazards are those that impact the security of school property.

“A lack of building access controls and visitor controls is not at all uncommon,” said Munro. “We often see a lack of adequate supervision of students on playgrounds and on the property in general. In response to this, we’ll point out to schools opportunities to enhance their natural surveillance using Crime Prevention through Environment Design principles.”

Other specialized services offered by the newly-established Safer Schools Consulting Center include playground safety analysis, safety inspection training for school personnel, science lab and vocational shop equipment safety assessments, and bus driver training.

To register on-line go to www.indiana-ins.com and navigate to the School Program and Safety Seminar tabs. Registrants may also contact Stacey Dulin at 800-562-2424, send a fax to 317-581-6889, or send e-mail to stacey.dulin@indiana-ins.com.

Source: Indiana Insurance, Ohio Casualty

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