Dr. Randall Atlas AIA , CPP is a Registered Architect, NCARB certified, and he practices Criminal Justice Architecture and Environmental Security Design. Atlas is a certified protection professional (CPP) with the American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS), and is an appointed member of the ASIS Security Architecture and Engineering Committee. Atlas has his doctorate in criminology and a masters of architecture. Dr Atlas is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Architecture for Justice Committee.
Dr. Atlas has taught CPTED (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design) and criminal justice courses at Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University, and the University of Miami, Keiser University, and he is a trainer with the National Crime Prevention Institute at the University of Louisville. Dr. Atlas has been a technical Assistance consultant with the National Institute of Justice, National Institute of Corrections, and the Florida Department of Corrections and U.S. HUD Drug Elimination CPTED Program.
He has conducted ADA accessibility compliance audits for private and public sector clients, and served as an expert witness on over 200 premises liability lawsuits.
Dr. Atlas has been a speaker and trainer at security conferences from New Delhi, India to Seattle, Washington and has written over 200 articles in various publications on security, safety, and counter terrorism issues.
BETWEEN LATE 2009 AND MARCH OF THIS YEAR, a national baked goods chain with franchises in Broward County, Florida, experienced a series of nighttime burglaries that resulted in thousands of dollars in stolen cash and damaged property.
When it comes to the issue of safety in schools, it is important to remember that long before the students walk the halls, a design team creates the building and its grounds, envisioning the subsequent relationships with its occupants.
This is the first and only book of its kind dedicated to the contributions and importance of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). It will educate the reader and design professional on the necessity of CPTED in reducing risks, threats, and vulnerabilities of and to our built environment post-9/11…
Dr. Michael J. Fagel, PhD, CEM has over 30 years of broad based experience in a variety of fields relating to Crisis Management & Recovery, Consequence Management & Emergency Management. He provides specialized assistance in OSHA compliance assistance and training in Disaster Management, Emergency Response as well as Occupational Safety and Health. Aurora Safety has extensive experience in litigation guidance drawing from decades of experience in all phases of safety and emergency response and planning. They provide guidance to attorneys and insurance companies on a variety of topics and offer effective evaluations regarding the many facets of each case.
Dr. Fagel provides expert witness services to cases in across North America. He has served various Federal Agencies providing Occupational Safety Services at disaster sites. He also was EMS coordinator for the fire rescue division in North Aurora, as well as serving as an officer in the local fire service. Dr. Fagel currently teaches industrial safety and emergency medical services at several college locations and lectures at various professional trade conferences throughout the country. He offers Expert Witness Services and Litigation Support to attorneys representing both Plaintiff and Defense.
Areas of Expertise:
Disaster / Crisis Management and Recovery
COVID-19 / Coronavirus Recovery
Voluntary Protection Programs (VPPs)
Fire, EMS, Disaster Management
Training Assessment Management and Development of Safety Programs
Critical Incident / Crisis Management Site Inspections
Schools, campuses, houses of worship, recreational sites, transportation hubs, retail facilities, those thoughts ring out day after day. Replay in your mind’s eye the horrific images of Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University (Valentine’s Day), Aurora Colorado movie theater, Sandy Hook Elementary School
At schools, campuses, sporting events, and retail facilities, those thoughts ring out day after day. We have watched with horror the increasingly more frequent news of violence at establishments we once thought "safe" from wanton violence. One has to just scan the news to see that no place is immune from any type of random act that injures or kills innocent civilians, be it a movie theater, retail mall, sporting event, school, or church. In this column, let's take a look at a few basic elements.
Emergency managers and officials have seen a tremendous increase in the planning responsibilities placed on their shoulders over the last decade. Crisis Management and Emergency Planning: Preparing for Today's Challenges supplies time-tested insights to help communities and organizations become better prepared to cope with natural and manmade disasters and their impacts on the areas they serve.
This book offers preparedness and mitigation recommendations for advanced emergency planning. Because disasters are so unpredictable, advance planning is needed to effectively respond to and mitigate against the potential effects of such events. More than a dozen contributors offer their professional expertise on a wide variety of topics.
This book provides a clear and up-to-date understanding of how an EOC should operate within the guidance of various federal and national programs. It discusses the processes and systems that must be considered in emergency planning and preparedness efforts, and provides time-tested tips for those developing and revising emergency preparedness plans.
Dr. William L. Bainbridge, Ph.D., FACFE, is a Forensic Education Expert with extensive experience in School Related Accidents, Incidents, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, College Athletics/Sports Injuries and Title IX compliance. He is court qualified in Schooling, Education Standards, Policies, and is considered to an Expert in over 35 states.
Dr. Bainbridge currently serves as President and CEO of the SchoolMatch® Institute and as a Distinguished Research Professor at The University of Dayton.
Richard D. Morman, CPP, CSSP, PPS, CSC, is a career Public Safety veteran. He served with The Ohio State University Police Division for over 29 years, retiring as the Deputy Chief of Police, a position he held for 10 years. Mr. Morman has been involved in all facets of Law Enforcement, including management and supervision, having a total of twenty two years in supervision and management. In 2010, he was selected as The Ohio State University Department of Public Safety Employee of the Year. Mr. Morman holds four professional certifications, Certified Protection Professional (CPP) designation from ASIS International, Certified Sports Security Professional (CSSP) as designated by the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4), Certified Personal Protection Specialist (PPS) as designated by the Executive Protection Institute, and Certified Security Consultant (CSC) as designated by the International Association of Professional Security Consultants.
Mr. Morman has vast Sports and Special Event Security planning and management experience, he is considered a subject matter expert in celebratory rioting, crowd management, sports and special event security planning and management, venue security planning and management and executive protection. In December 2011, he was invited by the US Department of Criminal Justice to present to a group of his peers in Best Practices for Large Venue Security. Mr. Morman has contributed to the Bureau of Justice Assistance publication: Practitioners’ Thoughts on Promising Practices for Securing College and University Spectator Events From Criminal Extremist Attacks and participated in developing the NCS4 Intercollegiate Athletics Safety and Security Best Practices Guide.
Litigation Support - Mr. Morman provides expert witness services to attorneys for plaintiff and defendant which include written reports, depositions, and trial testimony as needed.
Security and Police Practices & Procedures Specialty Focus:
Daniel B. Kennedy, Ph.D., is FCA’s principal consultant and is Board Certified in Security Management. Dr. Kennedy has had extensive specialized training in various aspects of Criminal Behavior, Policing Operations, Corrections Operations, and Private Sector Security Management. He specializes in crime foreseeability issues, appropriate standards of care in the security industry, and analyses of the behavioral aspects of proximate causation.
Dr. Kennedy has testified in cases involving the appropriate standards of care for the use of deadly force, vehicle pursuits, emergency psychiatric evaluations, prisoner health care, prevention of prisoner suicide, positional asphyxia/excited delirium, and “suicide by cop.” He also evaluates numerous lawsuits concerning premises liability for negligent security in the private sector involving properties both in the U.S. and overseas.
As is probably true for many of us in the workplace, my career has not turned out quite as I envisioned it would some 40 years ago. More specifically, as a beginning graduate student in sociology, I had no idea I would eventually practice forensic criminology or be in a position to write about what follows. In fact, I had never heard of forensic criminology (FC) until years later and, I believe, neither had my academic colleagues. It was only after I began to practice as a forensic criminologist and to identify myself as one that the parameters of this fascinating area of expertise began to reveal themselves more fully to me.
Social scientists play an increasingly important role in the prosecution and defense of both criminal and civil matters before the courts. An expanding area of forensic sociology and criminology involves the analysis of crime foreseeability and security standards of care as they relate to the question of liability for negligent security. Criminologists analyze prior crimes at a location and consider the totality of circumstances in order to determine foreseeability.
Criminal or offender profiling in one form or another has existed for many centuries. In more recent history, profiles have been constructed for such notorious criminals as Jack the Ripper, the Boston Strangler, the Unabomber, the Beltway Sniper, the Railway Rapist, the Mad Bomber, and the Green River Killer, all with varying degrees of validity.
In ancient Rome, a forum was a public place where important governmental debates were held. Sometimes it was a town square or even a marketplace. Gradually, the forum also became a sort of public ‘courthouse,’ where various trials of importance to the citizenry were held
Practicing Forensic Criminology draws on examples from actual court cases and expert witness reports and testimony to demonstrate the merits and uses of substantive criminological knowledge in the applied setting of civil law and the courts. Throughout the book, the authors provide a highly readable, informative discussion of how forensic criminologists can apply their research and teaching skills to assist judges and juries in rendering legal decisions.
John Hatcher is an industry leader in Building Systems Engineering including, Security, Building Automation Systems, Fire Alarm Systems, Intelligent Building Concepts and Commissioining. He has worked on some of the most prestigious facilities in the world including the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Russia, India and Southeast Asia.
J. Patrick Murphy has over 40 years of experience in Law nforcement, Security Management, and Corporate Loss Prevention. Mr. Murphy's background as a Fortune 50 company security director provides a strategic view of operations, security planning, and liability. His continuing education in the area of security case law and his unique approach to investigating cases make him a valuable Security Expert Witness to any litigation team. His hands on approach and advice during the discovery phase of the case can often be pivotal in determining the ultimate outcome.
Mr. Murphy provides Security Expert Witness testimony for plaintiff or defense in a broad area of security liability. He specializes in Crime Analysis to establish Foreseeability and to determine the Reasonableness of security measures. Mr. Murphy has extensive litigation experience opposing Wal Mart. Plaintiff 60% Defendant 40%
Areas of expertise:
Premises Liability and Inadequate Security - apartment communities, bars and Other adult Entertainment venues, malls and shopping centers, parking garages / lots, motel, restaurants
Retail Loss Prevention - hiring, training and supervision, false arrest, shoplifting, excessive use of force, death during apprehensions, false imprisonment, employee theft, wrongful termination in malls, and major retail settings
Bouncers, Bars, Nightclubs, and Security Guards - mall security, shopping center security, proprietary and contract security guards and off duty police
Insurance Casualty Claims - adequacy of security hardware such as burglar alarms, robbery alarms, closed circuit television (CCTV), fencing, fictitious pickups of goods and cargo theft at warehouses and distribution centers
Authors note: I am a nightclub security expert witness. I've never worked in a bar. What qualifies me as an expert is my decades-long experience in security management. Security personnel are known under many different titles such as, most commonly, bouncers but they are also called ushers, greeters, door men, crowd control specialists, etc. The truth, however, is that there are basic tenants to any security program, regardless of business environment, and bars and nightclubs are no different with the exception of alcohol. Bouncer = Security.
Employee theft is nearly 50% of the losses for retailers. It's a $600 Billion crime across the nation for all businesses and growing. Employers are sometimes reluctant to discuss this topic or even acknowledge its existence but to adopt that approach will lead to financial disaster.
David Wolowitz, JD is an Education Law Attorney with 40 years of extensive experience advising schools and youth serving organizatons on the current and past standard of care for protection of minors from harm by peers, educators, and trusted adults.
Law Practice: Mr. Wolowitz has advised schools nationwide and internationally on all aspects of risk prevention and crisis response, with a focus on child safeguarding by promoting healthy relationships through the management and oversight of a healthy school culture. He is a pioneer in applying behavioral risk management concepts, including training on healthy teacher – student boundaries and the establishment of standards of conduct. He also has advised many youth serving organizations, such as churches, camps, and other organizations that work with children and vulnerable populations.
Expert Witness: Mr. Wolowitz has been qualified as an expert witness for plaintiffs and defendants on the adequacy of policies, procedures, investigations, remediation, and training relating to the protection of minors in schools and youth serving organizations. He has also provided expert opinions on the adequacy of employment practices, including hiring, training, and supervision. These cases have involved claims against teachers, administrators, coaches, mental health professionals, and religious advisors.
Litigation Support: Mr. Wolowitz has significant civil and criminal trial experience in federal and state trial and appellate courts in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. He was an invited guest instructor of the Trial Advocacy Workshop at Harvard Law School for 29 years.
John M. White, CPP, CHPA is Board Certified in Security Management; Certified Protection Professional (CPP); Certified Healthcare Protection Administrator (CHPA); and a Published Author.
Mr. White has been a professional security practitioner, security consultant, and expert witness since 1999. He has over 40 years of experience in Corporate Security Management and Law Enforcement and Security consulting, including physical security, security operations, regulatory compliance, & security training. Prior to forming Protection Management, LLC, Mr. White served a distinguished career in law enforcement, corporate security, and the military.
As a security consultant, Mr. White has developed and/or assessed security programs involving multi-unit residential properties, hotels/motels, homeless shelters, tourism services, places of worship, retail stores, high rise office/residential buildings, food services, entertainment services, healthcare services, hospitals, long-term care facilities/assisted living, parking facilities, college campuses, lounges, and other commercial properties.
In 2013, Mr. White was approached by publisher Butterworth-Heinemann and asked to write a book on security risk assessments. That book, titled: Security Risk Assessment – Managing Physical and Operational Security was published in July 2014 and is available online through numerous bookstores.
Litigation Support - Mr. White has been retained by law firms representing plaintiffs and defendants in negligent security, premises liability, and use of force lawsuits in the field of security. His services include case consultation, document review and analysis, deposition, arbitration and mediation, and trial testimony when necessary.
This is the most up-to-date and comprehensive resource available on how to conduct a thorough security assessment for any organization.
A good security assessment is a fact-finding process that determines an organization’s state of security protection. It exposes vulnerabilities, determines the potential for losses, and devises a plan to address these security concerns. While most security professionals have heard of a security assessment, many do not know how to conduct one, how it’s used, or how to evaluate what they have found.
Security Risk Assessment offers security professionals step-by-step guidance for conducting a complete risk assessment. It provides a template draw from, giving security professionals the tools needed to conduct an assessment using the most current approaches, theories, and best practices.
Virginia Rhodes, EdD has an extensive background in public schooling with over 35 years of experience in duty of care: teacher, principal, hiring, supervision, evaluation and instruction in K-12 settings. Her work in research, and as a school board member in a large district grounds her expertise in school policy and district and administrative function. As principal and policy-maker, Dr. Rhodes was known for her work in reclaiming failing high schools, including moving an Ohio high school from 8% passage on the state science test to 54.5% in 2 years, collaboratively, within a contractual environment. Dr. Rhodes provides expert witness research, reports & testimony for districts and law firms, representing both plaintiff and defense. Dr. Rhodes' services are available nationally and internationally, as she is culturally competent,traveling, presenting at conferences and observing schools. Previous cases have included student injury, & death, religious/race, disability discrimination, wrongful termination, sexual abuse, administrative supervision, teacher supervision, actions of paraprofessionals including teacher assistants, security guards, and school resource officers, as well as school evaluations & recommendations for domestic cases.
Areas of expertise include:
School and district disciplinary policy & practices
Standards of care and duty for administrative, teacher and school staff
Teacher training/evaluation, administrative training
School climate, culture, SEL (social-emotional learning), trauma-informed practice
Diversity issues within personnel and student settings
Urban school research & new trends in teacher leadership
What does it take to improve science performance in an inner-city high school? Could a science "immersion" strategy change motivation and interest in science? How can we meet a key strategic goal of our urban district: "All students graduate and are prepared for postsecondary education, successful careers and productive citizenship."
Creative professionals in team-based work settings value work communications skills among their colleagues. As public schools create professional learning communities and experiment with teacher-led curriculum and program development, traditional interview processes may prove inadequate for these new collaborative environments. New and creative selection models may be needed to enable teacher or other professional teams to choose candidates with the 21st century skills needed for success. In public sector environments, work rules are often highly developed and professionals are entitled to interview. Qualifications, training, experience and seniority as determinants often get reduced to transfer rights using seniority as the main or only criteria. This trend detracts from creating a competitive environment in which to attract & retain a high-quality teaching staff. Solutions can be found within existing contract parameters, however, if the attributes necessary to teach 21st Century skills are actually required to be demonstrated, not just described, in the interview process.
"All children can learn," is a catchphrase currently making the rounds in education circles, particularly in staff development activities (Pankratz & Petroski, 2003). De facto learning theory challenges the underlying assumptions of this phrase by examining how it is that learning in schools takes place. Using theoretical foundations of Dewey, Maslow, and Vygotsky, this essay will explore the fact that all children are, in fact, learning all the time, regardless of the actions of teachers, the content of the curriculum, or educational policy and practice.
Critical to a dynamic STEM school is a high level of instructional rigor. While this is true in all STEM schools, it is a particular challenge in those programs that serve populations inexperienced with high levels of rigor in their previous coursework.
Establishing a STEM High School (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics), and the Aiken Environmental, Ohio's first public environmental high school proved to be successful strategies to increase student engagement and raise standardized scores in science. High-poverty urban students from declining academic and disciplinary environments produced significant gains on science test results and credit attainment towards graduation. Using multiple overlapping rigor and SEL strategies, students experienced "science immersion," project-based learning, and a social-emotional curriculum that emphasized personal development and team/community-building skills.
Alan J. Robinson brings over 35 years of Security / Law Enforcement experience to the security, safety, fire safety, emergency management field. Mr. Robinson is a former Supervisor, Protection Services for Disney-ABC, Inc. in New York, where he coordinated the security of millions of dollars in equipment for both Reagan Presidential Inaugurations. While at Disney-ABC, he was credited with creating the first hostage negotiation training class after an incident at ABC News in Washington, D.C.
Background Experience: For the past 25 years, Mr. Robinson has been the Director of Protection and Security Services/Emergency Management for Atlantic Health System; a hospital system based in New Jersey where he manages: Public Safety and Security, Fire/Life Safety, Emergency Management, Investigations, and Special Events for a healthcare system that approximately 10 million square feet of physical plant and campus, spread throughout New Jersey.
Mr. Robinson directly and indirectly manages over one-hundred (100) security officers, investigators, fire safety officers, emergency management officers, and contract law enforcement officers. He has successfully navigated numerous external agency regulatory compliance surveys including those from the “Joint Commission,” State Department of Health, New Jersey Office of Homeland Security, and New Jersey Office of Counter-Terrorism.
Litigation Support: Mr. Robinson has been retained to provide consultation, security analysis, and security expert witness testimony by plaintiff and defendant in a wide variety of civil suits. He is available to consult and testify in matters concerning:
Timothy A. Dimoff, CPP, founder and president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc. a leading security consulting firm, has over 40 years of experience in Law Enforcement and Security matters for both the public and private sectors. He is multi-certified in the security field and is considered one of the nation's leading authorities on negligent security procedures; security & vulnerability issues; police procedures and operations including use of force; high-risk workplace and human resource issues; narcotics investigations and enforcement.
Mr. Dimoff is board certified by ASIS as a Certified Protection Professional (CPP?) which is internationally recognized as the “gold standard” certification for security management professionals, demonstrating their knowledge and competency in seven key domains of security.
Litigation Support - Mr. Dimoff has over 20 years of experience in testifying and consulting as an expert witness in over 500 cases and trials for both the plaintiff and the defense sides. His expert witness experience includes law enforcement procedures, security negligence of business or physical premises, human resources issues, meeting standards of practice in hiring and termination, employment practices, proper documentation, training, supervision, policies and procedures, harassment, discrimination, internal investigations, threats and excessive use of force.
Mr. Dimoff is a renowned speaker, trainer, and author who has offered expert commentary to national media including Dateline, NBC, CNN, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, The LA Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of four books, including How to Recognize Substance Abuse, The YOU in Business, and Life Rage, a chilling examination of societal rage and safeguards against it.
Mr. Dimoff holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology with an emphasis in Criminology from Denison University.
Medical marijuana is now legal in many states and many other states are considering legalizing it. This creates a host of issues and questions, legal and otherwise, that employers must address. This also affects workplace issues and policies. And since each state is different, how do you know how your state laws vs. federal laws affect the issue? It is confusing but this is an area where it is critically important to understand and to act accordingly.
School shootings - church shootings - road rage – bullying - workplace rage. We are so angry! It seems as if there are no boundaries anymore. Have we completely forgotten how to deal with life’s setbacks in a civilized manner? Have we become a world full of life’s rages
It began with "Road Rage" and quickly expanded into "School Rage", "Work Rage", "Air Rage", "Anti-government Rage" and "Anti-business Rage." . . . Life Rage examines these rages...their causes and effects, and offers hope and solutions. Americans can come together and make our lives and businesses safer and better.
This book reveals a darker, grittier side of American culture that many people never see. Readers will be stunned by the impact drug abuse has in our homes, our workplaces, schools and even on the athletic field. A must-read for anyone who needs to be able to spot the signs of drug abuse or stop it before it begins.
This fun-to-read book is for anyone who manages or owns a small business. Filled with real-life in-the-trenches stories, you will gain exciting insights into the fundamentals of building a business from the ground up. You will also learn how to develop long-lasting customer relationships to grow your business and place it on the fast track to success.
Owner and Lead Expert Witness at School Liability Expert Group. Expert witness services for plaintiff and defendant attorneys litigating cases involving the question of liability for wrongful death, personal injury, sexual harassment/abuse, Title IX, Section 1983, in daycare through college/university and other child and youth-serving organizations. Court-qualified with more than 40 years experience in school/agency administration and expert witness work. International practice.
DOCTORATE: Rutgers University - Education Administration.
MASTERS: College of NJ - Special Education. MASTERS: University of New Hampshire, Franklin Pierce Law Center - Education Law.
LAWYERS - Case review and analysis, litigation support. Expert reports, deposition and trial testimony.
SCHOOLS - Liability and management assessments. Policy review and recommendations. Special seminars.
Sexual behaviors in young children can range from exploratory and normal to abusive and violent. Under federal law, the Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, schools have an obligation to protect children from inappropriate sexual behavior, including child-on-child sexual abuse. This obligation can be complicated when the allegation involves five-and-six-year-old children, for whom touching body parts and viewing private areas may be considered normal sexual behavior. The issue faced by school administrators and attorneys who litigate claims of child-on-child sexual abuse involving young children is whether touching falls under normative or problematic child sexual behavior.
Schools, including public, private, and charter K-12 schools, and colleges and universities, have a responsibility to protect students from physical and emotional harm. Harm that creates a climate of fear can interfere with a student's education, leading to a range of outcomes from failing courses to, in the worst case, suicide. Properly identifying, investigating, and handling school bullying, harassment, and intimidation claims can help school administrators protect children and avoid costly litigation.
Parents send their children to school expecting that their kids will be safe. The parents trust that the school's staff will act in their place and look out for their children's welfare in the same way they would. The presence of security guards, school police, or resource officers at the school may even strengthen their trust, but this can be a false sense of safety. Just because guards and school police officers wear a uniform does not always mean additional protection for students. Reviewing and assessing the potential for harm to students and others on school grounds and at school-sponsored events requires careful consideration and proactive initiative to keep students safe, even when the presence of a security guard or school police officer may provide a veneer of safety. Inadequately screening, training, and supervising security guards and school police officers; failing to provide guards and officers with clear instructions for handling special circumstances known to the school; and inappropriately delegating the responsibility for keeping children safe can all be linked to student injury or death.
Statistically, it's safer to transport children to and from school by school bus than by car, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. But accidents and other bus-related incidents that result in student injury and negligence are frequently causes for litigation. Leaving students on the bus when it arrives at school, sexual abuse of students by the bus driver, bus aide, or other students, and injuries caused by student misbehavior are just a few situations that might result in liability for a school district or contracted private bus company.
A school has a responsibility to protect students from harm. Will arming teachers or placing armed security guards and police in the building make our schools safer and prevent school shootings? There is a great deal of debate as to whether more or different forms of attention to school safety and security will lead to a reduction in school killings, but these ideas don't seem to be showing positive results. Perhaps arming school staff not with guns but with the training needed to relate to students in a positive way will go a long way toward preventing some students from carrying out their deadliest ideas resulting in school shootings.
When risk is managed, injury, student death, and resulting litigation are less likely to occur. All too frequently, it is only after a tragedy that officials look back and ask, "How could this have been avoided?" Risk management is a far-reaching topic, but when focused on the professional standard of care in educational and other child and youth-serving organizations, it comes down to protecting the safety of participants in the care and custody of a school or other organization.
Standard of care is a general expression of what constitutes care in professions such as medicine, nursing, education, or child care administration. In schools and other agencies responsible for the care and supervision of children, the professional standard of care is the ethical or legal responsibility of a professional to exercise the level of care, diligence, and skill that other professionals in the same discipline would apply in the same or similar circumstances. This, coupled with statutory requirements and case law, defines the care that an educational professional is responsible for providing to children which includes protection from child sexual abuse.
Title IX, the law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in public education programs, is also relevant in application of professional standards within the context of private school sexual abuse and harassment and their response to alleged incidents. Every school that accepts federal funding for any program or service it provides must adhere to Title IX. Most public schools, including charter schools and specialized education service commissions, accept federal assistance and, therefore, must comply with Title IX. Compliance requirements include, among other things, the development of policies prohibiting sexual harassment and assault, prompt and thorough investigation of complaints, training of staff, and the assignment of a person who oversees implementation of the law.
Parents are responsible for the protection and care of their children, and there may be legal consequences if a parent negligently fails to take reasonable steps to protect his or her child from harm. As with parents, entities and agencies charged with the care and supervision of children are responsible for the protection of their health, safety, and well-being. A partial list of such entities or programs include daycare centers, preschools, summer camps, YMCA centers, K–12 private and public schools, private schools that provide residences for students, and residential centers for adjudicated youth. When a child is placed into the care and custody of such an organization, that entity assumes control and supervision over the child comparable to parental care - and is held to even a higher professional standard of care established within the field of education.
Under Title IX, for a school to be held liable for denying an educational opportunity to a student who was sexually harassed or abused, the court must be convinced that the school had actual notice of prohibited behavior and that it acted deliberately indifferent to it. Often, it is a challenge to define what "actual notice" is and whether the school had such notice. If the school has no information on which to act to end harassment or abuse, it cannot be determined to be indifferent. In some of the cases we have worked on, however, there has been some level of notice that, if investigated, would have confirmed that harassment or abuse was taking place. Such notice could be a teacher hearing a rumor about a sexual relationship between another teacher and a student, a staff member watching a student speak in a sexually inappropriate way to another student, or the school receiving notice that that an off-campus sexual violence event is creating retaliation at school. Examples such as these may constitute actual notice, depending on the circumstances.
Whenever children are involved in events on school premises, there is always the possibility of school district liability for incidents that happen on school grounds or at school-sponsored events. This foreseeability gives rise to a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent a child from being harmed. Public school districts may find themselves liable for injury - not only for those suffered by their own students, but also for those incurred by children who are invited onto school grounds, who attend separate programs on school grounds, and even those who are considered trespassers.
Schools, including K-12 schools, colleges, and universities, have a responsibility to protect their students from harm. Harm includes the inability to benefit fully from education as a result of being in a hostile school environment. The politically motivated rhetoric and actions seen in schools during and after the presidential campaign can create a hostile school environment for which schools can be held responsible.
Schools, after-school programs, summer camps, sunday schools, daycares and other agencies that supervise children are responsible for student safety of children in their care. Failing to apply the same attention to ensuring that non-licensed individuals, such as volunteers, meet the same standards as teachers and other paid staff can place students - and ultimately a school, district, or other agency - at risk. When the history of a volunteer or chaperone on an overnight school trip includes something that would raise a red flag but the school is unaware of it, school officials are not able to make an informed decision about whether or not that person should be allowed to interact with children.
Protection of the health, safety, and well-being of children who participate in recreational activities at a summer camp, summer school program, or community and private recreation centers should be the standard operating procedure of all those who provide these services. The standard of care owed to children who participate in organized or sponsored recreational activities such as sports, dance, swimming, rock climbing and variety of other activities at a camp or other agency must be consistent with professional standards in the field. Ingraining standardized practices and responsible planning and supervision into the work habits of all employees will help to protect the employees and the agency from activity injury liability and costly litigation.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program, including in colleges and universities, if those programs or activities associated with the institution receive federal funding. Under Title IX, sex discrimination includes sexual harassment, sexual battery, sexual assault, rape and other sexual violence at school, college or university campuses. Any behavior that disrupts a student's access to an educational opportunity or benefit constitutes a violation of Title IX. Recent media coverage has brought to light the controversy over the six-month sentence for a former Stanford University student for the rape of a student on campus. There has been outrage over the sentence, and that outrage might be justified, given schools' responsibilities in similar cases.
Some of our most vulnerable children are relegated to a life away from parents, family, and their school to live where other adults take the place of their parents and are responsible for their custody or care - legally defined as in loco parentis. This occurs when children are placed in residential centers for the treatment of mental illness, schools for the deaf and blind, or similar facilities for children who require extensive medical care and management.
Nationwide, 7.6 million students participate in interscholastic athletics, according to U.S. News and World Report. Keeping them safe is critically important to avoid school liability and sports injury lawsuits. And when sports injury occurs, schools may be found responsible if they failed to take reasonable precautions and supervision of students in order to prevent sports injury. Parents send their children to school with the implicit expectation that schools will do whatever is necessary to keep them safe whether in the classroom or on the football field.
As difficult as it might be to accept and understand, abuse of children is occurring at an alarming rate in our nation's schools, daycare centers, camps, and other institutions. Even with state laws that require child abuse reporting and institutional policies that address sexual abuse prevention, identification, and reporting, abuse is not going away. More civil lawsuits are filed with each passing year, and schools and other organizations are not always appropriately responding to this epidemic.
In the wake of recent incidences of gun violence, school safety and security has become an increasingly pressing concern in the United States and Canada. Schools, summer camps, daycare centers, and other agencies charged with the safety of children have a duty to protect them, and their ability to do so depends on solid policies, training, and appropriate response to security threats. Laws, regulations, and internal policies designed to shield children from harm may be developed proactively in response to a risk assessment or reactively in response to an event that caused injury to a child. Both are valid options in today's climate of terroristic threats to school safety and security. Inaction is not. Schools and other child-centered programs must consider and develop appropriate responses to this new dynamic.
Risk of personal injury to children is reduced when activities, facilities, equipment, personnel, and supervision are brought into compliance with "standards." There are several sources of standards. Some standards are mandated by law through statutes. Additional standards are set forth by oversight authorities, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Camping Association, the National Federation of High School Athletic Associations, or the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, to name a few. Other standards involve the customary professional practice of those conducting such activities. Ignorance of such standards is no excuse for failing to comply and schools and agencies with children have a duty to be proactive about implementing standards in order to prevent student injury.
Many school-aged children have medical conditions about which teachers, nurses, and others who are responsible for their health, safety, and well-being should know. If not addressed in the right way by administrators, teachers, or other officials, these conditions can result in a catastrophic incident, not to mention costly litigation. A student with a known heart defect, for instance, is vulnerable in a physical education class if the teacher is not informed of the child's condition and does not institute appropriate precautions or prepared to respond in a medical emergency. If cafeteria personnel in a daycare center know that a child has a peanut allergy but fail to supervise the child appropriately, the child can go into shock if she is allowed to sit at a table where another student is eating peanut butter. In situations like these, if a plan for the child's care was either not in place or developed but not communicated to the staff, the child might suffer irreparable harm - or even die.
In my profession as an education administration and student supervision expert, I have observed that residential schools and boarding schools present a higher duty than day schools to supervise children and a greater opportunity for the school to be found liable for child abuse and injury. When children are living and learning in a program 24/7, staff must demonstrate not only a professional standard of care, but also a reasonable and prudent parent standard of care. Although related, these standards are distinct and must be appropriately and reasonably applied in a setting where staff serves as surrogate parents and others serve as teachers, counselors, and psychologists. When a child is sexually assaulted, administered unnecessary corporal punishment, or is injured or dies in a residential school, both of these standards need to be addressed.
The first responsibility of educators and those who supervise children in residential programs, day care centers, before- and after-school programs, and other settings is to make sure that these programs foster learning and care in a safe environment. Asking third graders to move a cart with a heavy TV on top, inadequate staff instruction in safe techniques to quell disruptive students, not carefully checking that the door to the pool closes and locks the way it is supposed to, excessive discipline, playground aides talking among themselves but failing to pay attention to the children, not providing a sufficient number of nighttime supervisors in a dormitory, and a school police officer not trained on how to interact with children with behavioral disorders - any of these circumstances can lead to student injury at school or death of a child and high litigation costs. The overriding professional standard of care is to protect children's health, safety, and well-being. Under this umbrella fall the development and implementation of policies, adequate staff training, and a level of supervision reasonably calculated to keep children safe.
In settings where children are supervised by adults, we often think about traditional settings, such as schools and summer camps. But these are not the only places where children participate in activities that require adult supervision and which can result in child injury cases. Some nontraditional settings include resort and vacation day care programs, community recreation centers, church-sponsored events, and Boy and Girl Scout activities, among others.
For schools, summer camps, and day care centers, one of the key functions of student supervision is to identify dangerous conditions and then either stop the activity or warn of the danger. The supervisor must take appropriate action for the protection of the children. Duty to warn contemplates both having knowledge of danger (actual or constructive notice) and having time to communicate it. Field trip injuries are very common and there is an equal duty to protect when children are off campus but still under school supervision, such as when children are on a school-sponsored trip. Excursions off school property present special challenges. Careful planning ahead of the trip, knowing about potential safety hazards, and creating a plan to avoid or mitigate them can help to protect a child from field trip injuries and a school from liability lawsuits.
Keeping children safe in schools, preschool and daycare programs, summer camps, on playgrounds, and other locations is a primary responsibility of those who administer such programs. When a child becomes injured and the claim is negligent supervision, a school or other agency will have a greater chance of prevailing when it has clear policies and enforces them. In school premises liability lawsuits plaintiffs are more likely to prevail when a facility fails to maintain its campus and equipment, does not have a regular inspection plan, and does not instruct and supervise students in the safe and appropriate use of equipment.
Employment decisions in public and private schools should be based on qualifications, performance, merit, and seniority, rather than race, national origin, gender, religion, age, or disability. Teachers and other school personnel can sue for employment discrimination if they are wrongfully dismissed or demoted, if they were prevented from initially obtaining a job, or not appropriately accommodated for a disability or medical condition. Most employment discrimination violates either state or federal law, and legal protections are found in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Additionally, two primary federal statutes prohibit disability discrimination in employment: the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.
When child abuse is alleged to have taken place in a school, daycare facility, preschool program, summer camp, or other entity responsible for the supervision and safety of children, there is always the possibility that the entity may be liable if negligence can be established. Schools and other entities with a duty to protect children often become embroiled in lawsuits alleging that breach of this duty was a proximate cause of a child's injuries. Though laws vary, states adopt a broad definition of child abuse, including physical and emotional abuse, neglect and abandonment, incest, sexual molestation, and sexual exploitation. Typically, a child abuse report must be made to a designated state agency responsible for child protective services when a person, in his or her official capacity, suspects or has reason to believe that a child has been abused or neglected, or knows that a child has been subjected to conditions that could reasonably be expected to result in harm.
School coaches have a duty to protect athletes from harm, including emotional or physical harm that may result from locker room hazing. High school hazing in athletics has many beginnings - the most prominent being an attitude of superiority among senior athletes and the belief that a weaker or younger athlete must be subjected to harassment to "make the grade" or to be "good enough" to be on the team. This mentality, if left unchecked and if students are allowed to participate in hazing behaviors, eventually can result in even more serious misconduct, such as sexual harassment and serious personal injury.
When a student personal injury in a public school triggers litigation, plaintiff and defendant attorneys must address the concept of governmental immunity. In general, governmental immunity shields public schools from tort litigation and liability. Governmental immunity is not universally applicable, however, depending on how the facts of a specific case accord with state or provincial laws. This article is about how governmental immunity in public school cases might be pierced and how schools can determine whether governmental immunity applies in school liability cases.
Millions of children participate in programs operated by daycare centers, nursery schools, and camps across the United States and Canada. The most important aspect of childcare is the safety and supervision of children. When a teacher, recreation leader, camp counselor, or other supervisor is engaged in activities involving young children, there is a duty to protect the child from physical harm, sexual abuse, and other forms of personal injury. A breach of duty to protect the health, safety, and welfare of a child that leads to injury may result in daycare negligence lawsuits.
In 2011, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a "Dear Colleague" letter to college and university administrators about implementation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 in regards to campus sexual assault cases. Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities in schools that receive federal funding. The letter explains that schools are required to develop and distribute policies regarding sexual harassment, designate a Title IX coordinator to oversee the school's duties, train staff and students in sexual harassment and violence issues, and establish an investigation procedure and an adjudication process. The letter did not articulate specific procedural safeguards, rules for the examination of evidence, or guidelines for the conduct of adjudication or hearing processes for cases of campus sexual violence.
Harassment in schools can occur when a student is discriminated against on the basis of national origin, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or other identifiable class. A school district may be found liable for harassment if there is no strong, widely disseminated, and consistently enforced policy prohibiting it and no effective complaint procedure is in place. Schools can also be held responsible for the consequences stemming from a failure to take immediate, appropriate steps to respond to a complaint about harassment or bullying, terminate it, and discipline the offending party, be it an employee or another student. When a school has knowledge that a hostile environment exists but does not act on this knowledge, it can be viewed as giving tacit approval to this activity. In such cases, school districts have been found liable for enabling hostile school environment that prevents students from learning.
The relationship between private schools and their students is very different than the one that exists when a student is in a public school. In private schools, the relationship is contractual in nature. The contract is expressed or implied in written documents, such as promotional literature, student applications, and student and staff handbooks. By contrast, the relationship between public schools and students is governed by federal and state statues, such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and Title IX. In public schools, students are afforded constitutional, substantive, and procedural protections that are generally not applicable in a private school. In private schools, academic and conduct issues involving students raise contractual, as opposed to constitutional, issues.
Injuries are a part of intramural and extramural sports and recreation programs. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, high school athletes account for 2 million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits, and 30,000 hospitalizations each year. There's a certain level of risk assumed by a child who participates in any physical activity, but the school or agency has a general duty to protect children from harm to avoid school sports injury lawsuits. Dereliction of that duty may result in any number of situations that a jury may consider negligent, such as failure to develop and implement appropriate policies and procedures for supervision, poor maintenance of equipment, or inadequate instruction of children about the dangers inherent in their activity.
Student injury or death often brings negative attention to a school. In fact, the first thing often reported publicly is an injured party's claim that an incident stemmed from the negligence or misconduct of a staff member responsible for a child's safety - a teacher, coach, or bus driver, for instance. But a student injury or death can result from any number of situations. These might range from school-related action or inaction, such as a breach of school security or failure to follow a student's medical orders, to a student's own actions and choices triggering a contributory negligence defense.
For schools, daycare centers, after-school programs, and camps, children with disabilities often present significant supervisory challenges. If these children's needs are not adequately addressed and a child is seriously injured or killed, negligent supervision may be viewed as a proximate cause. But what constitutes reasonable supervision of children with behavioral or physical disabilities? It depends on the unique needs of the student and a school's standards for protecting that student from harm.
When empathy is lost, the wall between parents and school personnel grows taller and reinforcements are called in --the lawyers. This article explains how you can stop focusing on the wall. Change the attitude and move forward with the child at the center.
This article reviews recent legislation and how that legislation effects compliance with student IEPs in regards to the equipment that can improve a student's ability to learn and interact with teachers, family, and friends. The article details the recommendation of devices and the school's responsibility in regards to their procurement, usage, and maintenance.
Recently, a Seattle student with cerebral palsy was awarded $300,000 in damages from her school after years of harassment by another student was allowed to take place. Her harasser regularly called her names, blocked her wheelchair's path with furniture and manipulated her chair's electronic controls so it rammed into walls. It was not until the harasser caused his target serious physical injury and property damage that school officials responded formatively to his hostility by suspending him for three days.
Abstract: This special paper introduces the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, describes the school district's obligation to advocate for students with disabilities, reviews student rights created by the law, defines key terms, and takes the reader, step by step, through the procedural protections provided by the regulations.
Abstract: Examples of consultations serve as an illustration of how a consulting education expert can assist lawyers who are working on school and education related cases. One example deals with a special education dispute involving inclusion and the other deals with liability for student injury and a settlement of $850,000.
The tragic realities of the school killings in Littleton, Colorado, and similar instances of violence involving today's youth, have educators, policymakers and communities searching for causes as well as methods of prevention. Hit lists, posted on Internet sites and plans made by high school students to "get even" when they are teased are symptoms of what we already know: Bullying, teasing and discrimination are big problems for American children.
Our nation's schools pay millions of dollars annually in damages to school children injured in class, sexually assaulted by teachers, and harassed by fellow students. Unnecessary risks in schools can be controlled to protect the safety of students, faculty and support staffs and to eliminate costly litigation and settlements.
Even the most amicable custody arrangements can sour over school choice. As more people move about, the issue of where their children will attend school, and what that school offers compared to their current situation, is becoming more significant in family law. This article examines ways an education expert can assist with objective evaluations of school programs.
The educator as a consulting and testifying expert has become one of the most important tools that an lawyer can use in the dispute resolution process involving schools. When the consultant becomes an expert witness the relationship changes. This article explains how the expert educator assesses merits of a case, and provides consultation to lawyers who are working on education and school related cases.
Now that the administrative law judge ordered Heather into the regular fourth-grade classroom, none of the teachers want to have her, Maybe we shouldn't have filed for a due process hearing against the school. I think it backfired on us.
This article explores common situations regarding sexual harassment in the school setting. It also discusses exploitation of sexual power either by teachers or by students in an inappropriate relationship. Schools and its employees have a duty to train their students on their sexual harassment policies and to report any inappropriate behavior.
Cyberbullying is one of the fastest-growing problems facing families and the people responsible for protecting our children: school administrators, lawmakers and law enforcement officials. Cyberbullying is such a new frontier, the laws that define and police it are, in many places, weak to nonexistent. Its "sudden" pervasiveness and severity is now shocking people into action as evidenced by the rash of suicides making national news and the resulting public outcry.
The safety of children is of the utmost concern to school board members, administrators, and teachers. Accidents do happen, of course, but you must do everything you can to make sure that the students in your care are not hurt.
Bullying used to be thought of as an unpleasant rite of passage, but now psychologists are realizing that it inflicts real harm. As many as 40 percent of children report that they’ve experienced episodes of bullying at school or online through their school community. School safety expert Edward Dragan argues that parents need to be proactive in looking out for their children’s social well being at school. From his many decades as a Board of Education insider, he argues that schools are self-protective entities and reluctant to address bullying themselves.
Law Enforcement Security Expert Witness Roy Taylor
Dr. Roy G. Taylor is a current Chief of Police with over 40 years of experience in a wide-range of federal, state, local, and private criminal justice positions. Mr. Taylor specializes as an expert witness in Police Practices and Procedures and Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice. Current Positions:
Chief of Police Blue Ridge Public Safety (2014)
President/CEO Signal 88 Security of Charlotte (2012)
President/CEO Capitol Special Patrol (2012)
Chief of Police Capitol Special Police (2002)
Lt. Colonel – Provost Marshal, Army National Guard (2000)
Antiterrorism / Emergency Management Branch Chief DoD (2007)
Provost Marshal Joint Civil Support Task Force, Joint Chiefs of Staff (2014)
Litigation Support - Dr. Taylor is called upon to analyze cases from both defense and plaintiff perspectives. His services include case review, written reports, deposition, and trial testimony as needed. Areas of Expertise:
Michael J. Canaan, CPP CFLC, is a Premises Liability Expert Witness with over 45 years of experience in military and civil law enforcement, as well as corporate and private sector security and investigative positions.
Assignments have taken him from the Bering Sea to Southeast Alaska, across Canada and the United States, to countries in Central and South American in case venues ranging from educational settings, amphitheaters and stadiums, nightclubs and sports bars, ships, casinos, retail environments, food processing facilities, malls, and shopping centers.
Expert cases have involved evaluating failure to meet best practices, duty or standard of care in areas such as:
Inadequate or negligent hiring, retention, training, supervision, staffing, and terminations
Use of force or excessive force, threats, harassment, and intimidation
Inadequate or non-non-existent policies and procedures, post orders
Assaults, voyeurism, rape, sexual assault, robbery, shootings, stabbing, and homicide
Security technology integration, improper or inadequate physical security infrastructure or systems installation
Mr. Canaan has worked over 35 expert cases, with testimony experience in both deposition and trial.
He is Board Certified in Security Management by the American Society for Industrial Security, International. ASIS is the largest professional security practitioner association with over 38,000 members worldwide, of which only 2200 have received this prestigious certification. Mr. Canaan is also a Certified Forensic Litigation Consultant with the Forensic Expert Witness Association.