Did you see the recent report from the Center for American Progress? The report estimates that the Virginia Tech tragedy cost the university and taxpayers $ 48.2 million. And this cost does not include the “costs” associated with the loss of lives and lives that were changed forever.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and I hope all school and university administrators are paying close attention to this wisdom and this new report.
According to the report, the university was responsible for most of the costs – $ 38.77 million – and the state of Virginia paid around $ 8.87 million and rest was covered by local government and the federal government in the form of grants.
How the $48.2 million breaks down is shown in this Campus Safety article.
Today is the 5th anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre that resulted in 32 deaths and another 25 wounded. According to the Virginia Tech Review Panel report (which cost $ 465,000), this tragedy could have been prevented and the report provided nearly 100 recommendations for university leaders to implement.
So why do we continue to see incidents, headlines and tragedies in schools and universities?
The facts are pretty clear that most schools and universities are still very “reaction focused”. Most schools and universities have Crisis Plans and Emergency Response Plans, but few have a Prevention Plan. Most schools and universities rushed out to purchase Mass Notification Systems after the VT tragedy, but few schools and universities invested in Prevention platforms to equip their students, faculty, staff, Safety Teams, law enforcement, legal, compliance and community resources with tools to “connect-the-dots, silos, red flags and suspicious actions” or the tools to get the right information to the right people in the right place at the right time so the right people can do the right things, which is the most efficient and cost effective way to intervene and prevent expensive and embarrassing tragedies.
To learn more about Awareity’s innovative and proven Prevention platforms and tools, click here.
As budgets grow tighter…how many school Superintendents would approve the following expense requests?
Expense Request A:
I am submitting a request to spend thousands of dollars to print up thousands of pages of information that no one will read…
Expense Request B:
I am submitting a request to spend thousands of dollars for software, hardware and personnel to support the software and hardware so we can upload documents on our intranet that no one will read…
Bottom lines are getting crunched because schools are still spending thousands and thousands of dollars on printing, distributing and updating Student Handbooks, Teacher Handbooks, Employee Handbooks, Department Binders, Code of Conduct Manuals, Emergency Plan Binders, Operations Manuals, Safety Manuals, Regulatory Manuals and others. And after spending thousands of precious dollars, schools have no idea if anyone is reading them and even if individuals do read them, schools have no way of knowing or proving it.
Bottom lines are getting zapped even more thanks to software, hardware and personnel to create “digital handbooks” and “intranets”. Once again schools are spending thousands of dollars and schools have no idea if anyone is reading the documents and even if individuals do read them, schools have no way of knowing or proving it.
And bottom lines continue to get robbed because schools will spend thousands of dollars on labor-intensive efforts to collect paper-based documents that have been signed by students, parents, teachers, staff, bus drivers and others. Then schools will spend even more money on labor-intensive efforts to file the signed paper documents and ongoing efforts keeping track of who signed (or did not sign) with spreadsheets and home-grown databases.
Status quo training costs are also zapping bottom lines. If a school adds up all of the labor-intensive efforts, training documents, training facilities, trainer expenses, overtime, travel time, re-training sessions, spreadsheets and paper-based documentation of attendance and other costs, the numbers can be shocking. Unfortunately we human beings are not very good at remembering a lot of information delivered via a “fire hose” once or twice a year, which leads to mistakes, re-dos, fines, lawsuits and numerous other bottom line killers.
If you would like to see how your school can replace 20th century approaches that are killing your tight budget, click here to see how TIPS is equipping schools with 21st century tools to reduce and eliminate these costs.
In case you missed it, federal authorities are investigating “incidents involving harassment and bullying” in Minnesota’s largest school district.
The civil rights investigation is underway in Anoka-Hennepin, a suburban Minneapolis school district, and based on the seven-month “landmark federal investigation” that recently ended involving Tehachapi Unified School District in California, the Office of Civil Rights is serious about protecting the rights and safety of students.
School leaders at every school in the U.S. should be taking a serious look at their ability to prevent the preventable involving harassment, bullying, cyber bullying and other alarming trends in schools. School leaders should review their ability to prove they are following guidance outlined in the October 26, 2010 Office of Civil Rights Dear Colleague Letter (DCL), because recent resolution agreements make it clear the OCR is enforcing the DCL that was sent to K-12 schools and Higher Education institutions too. (A federal investigation was just completed at Notre Dame too)
One suicide is one too many! The federal investigations at Tehachapi and Notre Dame involved student suicides and at Anoka-Hennepin, there have been a string of 7 suicides in less than 2 years.
Now is the time to lead by example, not with words or new policies.
Now is the time to replace outdated status quo methodologies with 21st century platforms that empower schools (leaders, faculty, staff, students, parents, community members, etc.) to prevent the preventable.
Now is the time to start doing more than the minimum necessary.
Now is the time to start listening, investigating, intervening, preventing and making a difference.
To request Awareity’s 3 page Executive Briefing on the recent Landmark Investigation to share with your schools leaders and administrators, please visit: http://www.awareity.com/public/briefingrequest.asp
Check out this recent overview of 10 of the largest data breaches from 2010 resulting in the loss of millions of data records.
Lessons Learned: Is your organization providing ongoing situational awareness training? People are the weak link for the majority of data breaches which are caused by human error, lost devices, social engineering attacks and numerous other poor decisions. It is critical for organizations to educate their employees (and third-parties) ongoing as risks, threats, requirements, and ’next’ practices are constantly changing. Lessons learned clearly reveal that once-a-year general training is not enough.
The Department of Education and Office of Civil Rights sent out a “Dear Colleague” letter in October 2010 outlining schools’ responsibilities for being aware of, responding to and preventing future incidents of bullying, discrimination and harassment. In response to the National School Board Association’s letter questioning a school’s responsibilities, the Department of Education response clearly states it did not overreach in its original guidance to school officials— it only reiterated existing laws and policies and gave examples of how school districts can help combat bullying and harassment.
Lessons Learned: Schools have been put on notice and must develop comprehensive programs to respond to incidents of bullying and they must take actions to prevent future bullying incidents. Schools who fail to take appropriate actions risk losing educational funding and expensive lawsuits at a time when a funding cliff is looming large. Lessons learned also demonstrate that status quo approaches are not effective in preventing bullying so it will be critical for school boards and school leaders to implement more effective prevention and intervention programs immediately and document all incidents of bullying and harassment on an ongoing basis.