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Michael Dorn Discusses Various School Safety Scenarios

Michael Dorn from Safe Havens International led our spring tour of Safety Summits across Ohio, Illinois and Pennsylvania touting the importance of actual scenarios as a way to better involve staff and students in safety drills. Showcasing both video and audio scenarios, Mr. Dorn is a strong advocate of the power such scenarios have on truly engaging staff in drills and planning discussions. Too often drills become a routine procedure where everyone simply goes through the motions.

Whether they’re used during table top exercises or to initiate an evacuation drill, scenarios snap people out of a rote process and give them a dose of reality and adrenaline. For example, one video scenario depicts a student rushing into a classroom with a gun pointed to his own head and talking about how nobody understands him and he’s going to end it all. Meanwhile, an audio scenario shares an interaction between a divorcing couple in the front office fighting over custody of their student. What would you do in these situations?

Put Your Plan to the Test

Mr. Dorn also discussed the role drills must play in determining the “fidelity” of our safety plans. According to Dorn,”Drills can show us if the procedures listed on paper in our safety plan hold true during an actual emergency.” He continues, “This can be a real problem if we’re using cookie-cutter plans or overly simplified plans. The plan doesn’t work and we may not discover this until it’s too late.”

During the afternoon, attendees split into two groups – Mr. Dorn escorted a group around the host school in the afternoon to highlight opportunities to improve safety as well as examples of well-managed safety protocols while NaviGate Prepared shared leading school safety practices with the other group.

Survey Says…

Post-event surveys describe an engaging and valuable day for school administrators and local first responders. Here are a few statistical highlights and response snippets:

  • How likely are you to recommend this event to a colleague: 93% of respondents marked 7 or higher on a scale of 1 to 10.
  • Overall, how would you rate the event: 82% of respondents marked very good or excellent, remaining 18% marked good.
  • What did you like about the event:
    • Walk-through with Michael Dorn
    • Lots of examples of practical training scenarios
    • All the information received from Mike
    • Scenarios and audience participation
    • Data, clarification of what our focus should be on
    • Depth of information, knowledge of presenter
  • What did you dislike about the event:
    • More breaks
    • PowerPoint or outline to take
    • Name tags to know who was there and their role
    • Minimize amount of content, spend more time on each scenario
    • Physical space to take notes

A Very Special Thank You

A very special thank you to our hosts and their schools:

  • Michael Marassa from Grayslake Community High School District 127
  • Steve Castator from Princeton City Schools
  • Chris Fisher from Colonial IU 20
  • Janet Breiding from Allegheny IU 3 (and Aaron Skrbin for his role in making this connection)

What’s Next?

We will be releasing a deck of scenario cards available to all school districts at no charge (you may have seen our prototypes on display at the Safety Summits). We will also be sharing a set of audio scenarios we are working on in conjunction with Michael Dorn and Safe Havens International. Sign up to stay tuned for free access to those items coming very soon!

The fall Safety Summit tour planning is underway. We will be tweaking a few things based on your feedback, but dates will be listed soon.

Thank you once again to all who made our Safety Summits so valuable and rewarding!

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