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Proposed Sexual Assault Bill Would Greatly Increase Penalties for Colleges
Bill would increase Clery fines to $150,000 and Title IX fines to 1% of an institution’s operating budget.
WASHINGTON – New, bipartisan legislation introduced today would require institutions of higher education to provide confidential advisors for victims of sexual assault. They could also face much greater penalties for not complying with the legislation’s new standards for training, data and best practices.
The Campus Safety and Accountability Act was announced Wednesday by cosponsors Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
Provisions of the legislation include:
- New Campus Resources and Support Services for Student Survivors: Under this legislation, colleges and universities will be required to designate Confidential Advisors who will serve as a confidential resource for victims of assaults committed against a student. The role of Confidential Advisors will be to coordinate support services and accommodations for survivors, to provide information about options for reporting, and to provide guidance or assistance, at the direction of the survivor, in reporting the crime to campus authorities and/or local law enforcement. To encourage individuals to come forward with reports about sexual violence, schools will no longer be allowed to sanction a student who reveals a violation in good faith, such as underage drinking, in the process of reporting a sexual violence claim.
- Minimum Training Standards for On-Campus Personnel: Currently, a chronic lack of training of on-campus personnel hampers sexual assault investigations and disciplinary processes, often resulting in negative outcomes for survivors. This legislation ensures that everyone from the Confidential Advisors, to those responsible for investigating and participating in disciplinary proceedings, will now receive specialized training to ensure they have a firm understanding of the nature of these crimes and their effect on survivors.
- New Historic Transparency Requirements: For the first time, students at every university in America will be surveyed about their experience with sexual violence to get an accurate picture of this problem. This new annual survey will be standardized and anonymous, with the results published online so that parents and high school students can make an informed choice when comparing universities. The Department of Education will also be required to publish the names of all schools with pending investigations, final resolutions, and voluntary resolution agreements related to Title IX. Campus Accountability and Coordination with Law Enforcement: All schools will now be required to use a uniform process for campus disciplinary proceedings and may no longer allow athletic departments or other subgroups to handle complaints of sexual violence for members of that subgroup alone. This legislation will require colleges and universities to enter into memoranda of understanding with all applicable local law enforcement agencies to clearly delineate responsibilities and share information so that when an assault occurs, both campus authorities and local authorities can focus on solving the crime rather than debating jurisdiction.
- Enforceable Title IX Penalties and Stiffer Penalties for Clery Act Violations: Schools that don’t comply with certain requirements under the bill may face a penalty of up to 1% of the institution’s operating budget. Previously, the only allowable penalty was the loss of all financial aid which is not practical and has never been done. The bill increases penalties for Clery Act violations to up to $150,000 per violation from the current penalty of $35,000.
A study released in July found that 40% of colleges haven’t investigated a sexual assault in five years. The study also found that only 16% of schools conduct climate surveys and that more than one in 10 don’t have Title IX coordinators.
9 Tips for More Effective School Lockdowns
Keeping doors locked, avoiding codes and having reverse evacuation protocols will help to ensure your lockdowns are implemented quickly.
Here are some lessons learned from our assessments:
- Don’t focus all of your efforts on active shooter situations. If lockdown training and drills are focused on active shooter situations, a higher fail rate occurs when other types of incidents occur or are simulated. As Lt. Col. Dave Grossman often states, the human brain is the most effective survival mechanism known to man — but only when properly prepared. Dr. Gary Klein’s research indicates that experiencing or simulating a wide range of crisis situations can prepare us to make life and death decisions more effectively.
- Schools that only have one type of lockdown procedure are more likely to have plan failure during a crisis. While it is normally good to keep things simple in school crisis planning, we have found that schools that only have one protocol based on active shooter situations and other crisis events have a high fail rate because school administrators are averse to overreacting in a situation they feel is too “minor” to warrant a lockdown. This can allow a situation to escalate into a deadly event because an early opportunity to lock down the building is missed. Having a lower level, “preventive” or “soft” lockdown option is important because most situations where lockdowns are needed do not involve weapons.
- Codes can kill. Plan failure has occurred in actual events and in evaluations because school staff members often confuse different codes when they are used in a crisis. For example, during a recent security assessment of a school district, administrators at 22% of the schools we assessed accidently ordered lockdowns instead of sheltering procedures in response to a tornado scenario. This could easily result in mass loss of life. In another district, a staff member at one school referred to a “code purple” protocol that was not listed in any plan. No other staff members referred to this protocol. The staff member was able to describe in detail what a “code purple” would entail, but there was no way to be sure that other staff members would know what to do when hearing this instruction.
- All staff should be issued keys, participate in staff development and some form of lockdown drill. If one door is not locked soon enough because a single employee is unable to lockdown, mass casualties can occur. It is important to allow staff the tools they need to keep the building secure throughout the school day. And staff should be given ample practice in physically performing lockdown procedures before a crisis. As Amanda Ripley outlines in her book “The Unthinkable,” people in a crisis often fail to perform seemingly simple tasks like evacuating a building or going around obstacles when it would be clear to any rational person that action should be taken. In one example, Ripley describes an airplane accident where a passenger repeatedly pulled on her armrest instead of the emergency door release latch until another passenger reached over to help open the door (at which point the emergency door fell on the first passenger, injuring her and temporarily blocking the exit).
- Doors should be locked during instructional times and when the door is not actively in use. Some schools require teachers to teach with their doors locked as a preventive measure. The way the school operates can impact the practicality of this approach, but in general it is only a small adjustment to make in the school culture. Some educators feel that keeping doors open creates a positive and inviting environment, but from my experience a locked door does not have a negative effect on the class environment. Throughout my K-12 and college educational career, most of my more effective instructors kept the classroom door locked as a standard operating procedure. Aside from the safety benefits of doing this, it also creates an emphasis on timeliness, professionalism and discipline among students.
- If they are not trained with staff-initiated drills, individual staff members and teachers are less likely to respond effectively during a crisis. The threat that indicates the need for a lockdown often takes place in parts of the school away from the main office. This means that it is important to hold drills where different staff members are required to make the decision to initiate a lockdown without consulting with anyone. While the timing of the drill should be determined by the lead administrator or district office, individual staff should be required to make the lockdown decision after being prompted with a scenario. While many people assume that staff will perform how we want them to in an actual event, the incredible stress of a crisis has extreme effects on the human body. In another case study in her book, Ripley describes the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire in which some employees looked for a supervisor to report the fire while a busboy started taking immediate action to evacuate the building, saving hundreds of lives that would have otherwise been lost due to a delayed response.
- Basing the lockdown decision on the location of the threat instead of the nature of the threat can be dangerous. Often referred to as lockout/lockdown protocols, taking this approach has a very high fail rate (81% in two of the districts we evaluated) because it is very difficult for employees to quickly decide which approach is best when they are presented with varying scenarios. For example, in the scenario where there was a clearly suspicious individual who was not armed — an angry woman brandishing a knife in the front office or an intoxicated man brandishing a large crow bar in a hallway — most school employees did not order a lockdown at all when this type of protocol was in place. Past crises have shown us that people tend to act based on physical memory or the direction of others rather than internal rational decision-making.
- Reverse evacuation protocols and drills are critical. Lockdowns, sheltering procedures for severe weather and other critical life-saving protocols cannot be implemented as rapidly if there is no mechanism to promptly return students who are outside to the building in an organized fashion. While most school staff are already familiar with the basic concept of a reverse evacuation, very few understand it as a formal procedure and often delay action while considering what to do when they need to return to the building quickly.
- Room clear protocols can also be important. Schools must have a mechanism to quickly clear students from a room where there is a threat. One district we work with uses the room clear procedure to send students to another part of the school quickly during a small crisis that does not require a school-wide evacuation but does necessitate quickly moving students away from a dangerous situation. For example, when a student or a staff member has a medical emergency in a classroom, cafeteria or media center, the room clear protocol allows a staff member to quickly and safely send students to a pre-determined area nearby where they will be supervised by another staff member.
Although this is not a complete list of considerations, we have found these to be among the most common opportunities for improvement encountered with school lockdown. For a deeper understanding of how the human body reacts during stressful events, I recommend educators and those dealing with safety or emergency preparedness read Amanda Ripley’s book “The Unthinkable”, which has a treasure trove of applications for schools. There is also a free web seminar, titled Permission to Live, available in the Resources section of our Web site that addresses many of these topics in greater detail
UConn Agrees to Pay $1.3M to Alleged Sexual Assault Victims
The University of Connecticut has settled a lawsuit filed by five current and former students, who claimed the school mishandled sexual assault reports.
By CS Staff · July 22, 2014
Sexual Assaults in the News
The university will pay $1,285,000 to five current and former UConn students, who claim the school did not take their cases seriously, to avoid legal proceedings, Boston Globe reports.
UConn does not admit wrongdoing in the settlement of the federal lawsuit, which was filed under the Title IX law.
Silvana Moccia, a former UConn ice hockey player, will receive $900,000 — the bulk of the settlement. She claims she was kicked off the team after she reported that a male teammate raped her in August 2011. The other plaintiffs, Kylie Angell, Erica Daniels, Carolyn Luby and Rosemary Richi, will receive payments ranging from $25,000 to $125,000.
In agreeing to the settlement, the women acknowledged that the university has since taken steps to improve its prevention and response to sexual assaults. UConn has offered better training for staff and students and has also formed a special victims unit within its campus police department.
The university remains subject of a Title IX investigation by the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, Philly.com reports.
The answers to the In-Service Day Safety and Security Contest are:
1.c, 2a,3b,4a,5afalse, 5bfalse,5cfalse,5dtrue,6c,7afalse,7bfalse,7cfalse,7dfalse,8a, 9b,10.false, 11c,12atrue,12bfalse12cfalse,12dtrue,13b,14true,15.c, 16.a, 17.a,18b, 19yes, 20true,21c,22true,23yes,24b,25a
SAFETY AND SECURITY CONTEST
FALL IN-SERVICE DAY
- Who is Rose Jones?
- New financial aid staff
- Emergency Notification for a lost child
- Coded warning requesting immediate police or security assistance
- Which statement is not part of the Science Laboratory Safety Notice?
- Personal Protective Equipment Must be worn
- Closed toe shoes are required
- Do not apply cosmetics in the laboratory
- Which colors appear on HAZMAT warning signs?
- White, green, yellow, red
- White, yellow, red, blue
- Green, yellow, red, blue
- These four colors alert you to the risk of?
- Fire, health, instability, specific hazard
- Fire, respiratory, flammability, eye danger
- Respiratory, flammability, acid, chemical
- For your campus, true or false, First Aid kits can be found in?
- Franklin; 130D, 125, 136
- Hobbs: 107A, Library, 112
- WFC: 214, 207
- Smithfield: Stairwell
- What is the 24 hour security number for the college?
- When advised by the Campus Dean to Run and Hide when a gunman is on campus, your safe haven for your campus is? True/false.
- Franklin: Blake Ford, Ace Hardware
- Hobbs; Lakeland HS
- WFC: BB&T, Ace Hardware
- Smithfield: Parking lot
- What is the correct sequence of actions in the event a gas leak is suspected or confirmed?
- Evacuate the building, Call the fire department, Call the gas company
- Call the fire department, Call the gas company, Evacuate the building upon advice of the fire department
- Call the gas company, Call the fire department, call the campus dean for advice
- In the event of a gas leak who can authorize staff and student to reenter the building?
- Campus Dean
- Fire Official
- Security Officer
- Upon notification of a tornado watch you should take shelter immediately. True/False
- The college alerts the campuses to a lost or kidnapped child by using the term:
- Amber Alert
- Rose Jones
- Code Adam
- On your campus where are the severe weather/tornado shelters located? True/False
- Franklin: room 144 and 121
- WFC: room 214, 208
- Hobbs: Room 100, room 112
- Smithfield: Stairwell
- In the college emergency operations plan which position is designated as the incident commander?
- VP for Financial and Technical Services
- Campus Dean
- First responder
- Weapons are allowed on campus but not in buildings. True/False
- Unattended children found on campus may be turned over to:
- Campus dean
- Police officer
- What does EAA mean?
- Emergency Assembly Area
- Evacuation Alarm Assembly
- Evacuation Assembly Area
- Where can you find information on emergency actions?
- Safety and Security Web Page
- Common Drive T
- Departmental common drive
- How many campuses have AEDs?
- Do you have a copy of the Bomb Threat questions to ask near your telephone? The only correct answer is yes.
- The Silent Witness Program is a way to report suspicious behavior, disruptive students and crime. True/False
- The Desk top ICON MSDS provides access to:
- Available security companies in the Franklin Area
- AED instructions
- Automated Substance Data Sheets, addressing risks, treatments for HAZMAT items
- Classroom and office keys are issued by the Safety and Security department. True/False
- Have you ever used a fire extinguisher? Yes/No. Yes is the only correct answer
- What is a Kitty Kat?
- Small furry mammal
- A self-defense tool
- The school mascot
- How many surveillance cameras are in use by the college?
- First make sure the child is okay and responsive. If not, call 911 immediately.
- If the child appears okay, you should attempt to locate the parents; or have the facility’s security or management page the car owner over the PA system.
- If there is someone with you, one person should actively search for the parent while the other waits at the car.
- If the child is not responsive and appears in great distress, attempt to get into the car to assist the child, even if that means breaking a window.
- If the child is in distress due to heat, get the child out of the car as quickly as possible. Cool the child rapidly (not in an ice bath) by spraying the child with cool water.
States have “Good Samaritan” laws that protect people from lawsuits for getting involved while helping a person in an emergency.
Leaving Kids Alone in Hot Cars — Know the Risks and Consequences
Even great parents can forget a child in the back seat, but caregivers who are unaccustomed to transporting children are especially prone to forgetting.
Think about the last time your routine was interrupted. Maybe you forgot something, or were afraid you might forget something. Or maybe you decided to leave your child alone in the car, thinking “I’ll just run into the store for a minute.” In either case, it’s important to know the risks and consequences associated with leaving kids in cars — especially hot cars.
- In 10 minutes, a car can heat up 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cracking a window does little to keep the car cool.
- With temperatures in the 60s, your car can heat up to well above 110 degrees.
- A child’s body temperature can rise up to five times faster than an adult’s.
- Heatstroke can happen when the temperature is as low as 57 degrees outside!
- A child dies when his/her temperature reaches 107.
- The heat-related death of a child
- Misdemeanor with fines as high as $500 — and even imprisonment — in some states
- Felony, depending on the state, if bodily harm results from leaving kids alone in a hot car
- Note: The age of children who can be left unattended in a vehicle varies from state to state, as does the duration of time a child can be left alone in a car.
Prevention Tips to Avoid a Tragic Heatstroke
- Never leave a child alone in a car.
- Don’t let your kids play in an unattended vehicle. Teach them that a vehicle is not a play area.
- Never leave infants or children in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are partially open.
- Keep a large teddy bear or other stuffed animal in the car seat when it’s empty. Move the teddy bear to the front seat when you place the child in the seat as a visual reminder.
- If you are dropping your children off at childcare, but normally your spouse or partner drops them off, have your spouse or partner call you to make sure they were not left in the car.
- Become vigilant about looking in the vehicle before locking the door. Always look front and back before walking away — always!
THE CENTER FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVORS. Visit www.vistthecenter.org for information on the prevention, response to sexual assault. The site also provides a wealth of information regarding advocacy agencies available to assist victims of sexual assault.
NEW NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH WEBSITE. Visit nationalneighborhoodwatch.org for the latest information on how to establish a watch organization in your local community/neighborhood.
HURRICANE SEASON. Weather forecasters are predicting an earlier than usual s eason indicating that the season will start much earlier this year. Please visit www.ReadyVirginia.gov for tips on how to prepare your family for a natural disaster.
FIREARMS ON CAMPUS. State law and college policy both prohibit weapons inside college facilities. Weapons, primarily firearms are permited on campus if secured in a vehicle by persons possessing valid “Concealed Carry Permits”
TORNADO APPLICATION. As you know, tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long and every state is at some risk from this hazard. The American Red Cross has developed an official Tornado app. The Tornado app sounds an alarm when NOAA issues a tornado warning for your location, even when the app is closed. In addition, the app puts everything you need to know to prepare for an impending tornado in the palm of your hand. This app may serve as a great tool for responders from all disciplines. Consider taking advantage of this tool.
911 CALLS FROM CELL PHONES COULD DELAY RESCUE:
It’s a growing concern for 911 dispatchers in our area; people calling in from cell phones, and not knowing where they are. A 911 call for a recent structure fire in Lynchburg was made from a cell phone. The caller did not know the address of the fire. Crews made it to the scene, but only after dispatchers were forced to find the right location. WSET – Full Story