What I can do for your school:
School design: I am the Senior author of Safe School Design, (ERIC Clearinghouse, University of Oregon 2000) the first book to exclusively focus on schools and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). I also served as the primary consulting editor for the National Institute of Buildings/National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NIBS/NCEF) comprehensive school safety checklist. I often join Safe Havens International as an adjunct analyst, inspecting schools in some of the largest districts in the U.S. I look for design nuances that deliver heightened security without compromising the school’s primary purpose: as a center of teaching and learning. In fact, I consider the CPTED acronym archaic, and too narrow in scope. My preferred philosophy is SHAPED – Safe, Healthy and Positive Environmental Design for Schools. (Explained in greater detail below.)
Site Analysis, Crisis Planning and Management for Students With Access, Functional Needs (AFN) or other Disabilities: Schools have been gradually realizing that their plans for serving people with disabilities during crises are weak or nonexistent. With so many types of disabilities to recognize, schools are understandably overwhelmed. What I’ve managed to do is to parse the topic into distinct, mutually reinforcing components that are easier to tackle: site design, district responsibilities, school responsibilities, class responsibilities, overall crisis planning, personal emergency planning (PEP), and reunification planning.
Connectivity/Positive behavior support: Through site inspections, interviews and focus groups I look for opportunities to enhance connectivity between students, staff and the community. Key indicators include positive postings, self-reports of loneliness, alienation, bullying or other victimization, easy access to counselors and trust in school staff. I also help build positive behavior and feelings of self-worth through classroom level interventions. Initially this involved teaching the Second Step curriculum at the elementary school level, which builds empathy and positive behavior,but my work evolved over the years into writing and storytelling, most specifically through a unique, participatory storytelling game I developed for 2nd and 3rd graders that weaves safe, responsible, respectful behavior into creative writing, literacy and positive reinforcement. My approach is consistent with the 3rd generation CPTED philosophy, moving from passive to active connectivity and personal empowerment.
Confrontation management: These customized seminars were developed over a thirty-year police department crime prevention career. The emphasis is on preventing and de-escalating conflict before it reaches the crisis stage, as well as in addressing conflict once it reaches the breaking point. Trainings address such topics as physical space, organization and personal safety measures, communication protocols & devices, briefings, avoiding isolation, awareness of safe havens, scripted, positive responses, on and off campus, staying safe during home visits, and evidence gathering/documentation.
Writing/Editing: I hold a Master’s degree in Journalism and have written dozens of articles, stories, international refugee research papers and school safety reports. In 2019 I wrote a comprehensive draft crisis planning guide for schools serving students with access or functional needs (AFN) or other disabilities.
(For more details, please click on the resume tab above. For a lot of my thoughts on schools, click on the blog tab above. )
Safe, Healthy & Positive Environmental Design (SHAPED), &
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)
(For dozens of related articles, please check out my blog on this site.)
I. Safe school planning starts by incorporating three fundamental concepts of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED): (1) natural surveillance (the ability to see what’s going on), (2) natural access control (the ability to control who gets in or out of a facility) and (3) territoriality/maintenance (the ability to establish and send a message of turf ownership). Electronic and digital enhancements have emerged over the past few decades as helpful supplements for all three basic CPTED components.
Good school entry areas (shown above, to the left, and below) apply CPTED very effectively: the front desk staff can see anyone approaching the building as well as once they enter the building; electronic controls make it easy to control access; and the resulting vigilance goes a long way in reinforcing territoriality.
II. Healthy schools provide clean water, air and food, and exposure to natural light; are free of mold, toxins, vermin, disruptive noise or unpleasant odors; use non-toxic building materials; are well maintained and use equipment and designs that avoid creating trip, fall, cut or other health hazards; encourage environmental awareness and responsibility; and promote healthy student behavior.
Seven Oaks Middle School, in Lebanon, Oregon maintains a large, student-tended garden that provides fresh food for cafeteria meals as well as an opportunity for hands-on project-based learning that keeps students engaged. (Also see www.healthyschools.org . Also: Safe and Healthy School Environments, H. Frumkin et al, Oxford University Press 2006)
III. Positive schools provide extensive reinforcement for a pro-social, affective environment, with an emphasis on (1) an effective, relevant academic program, and (2) a positive school climate in which mutual respect, support, cooperation and connectivity between students, staff, the school and the community are the norm. (see Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports www.pbis.org ) These positive qualities should be reinforced with (a) direct and indirect positive messages displayed throughout the school, and (b) functional facilities, meaning space, furnishings and equipment are a good match for the intended use. This is also known as 2nd Generation CPTED. Positive reinforcement may take a moderate, and sometimes passive form, in which the school delivers positive behavior support with Positive Behavior and Intervention Support measures, but ideally it goes farther, managing to generate enthusiasm for a PBIS approach amongst both students and staff, and empowering them to apply those concepts in all interactions.
|Notes on PBIS/SHAPED and CONNECTIVITY
Alienation is a common root attribute in antisocial behaviors. Alienation and connectivity are polar opposites.
Building connectivity heals alienation.
Enhance positive connectivity between all aspects of the student’s world.
Every relationship should reinforce PBIS concepts and positive connectivity.
All visuals should reinforce empathy, mutual respect and support, connectivity and validation for the overall school experience. What do you see on display in your school, on your ceilings, walls, windows, doors, floors, or courtyards? Is it mindless or mindful?
What do students see on the way to and from school? What’s on display in the school bus?What display space opportunities have you overlooked? Who is celebrated, and who is not?
Are all types of intelligence and abilities valued equally?
Is there room for individuality? Are all the chairs identical? Are all parts of the school accessible?
What convinces a student that somebody’s paying attention; that someone believes in them?
How are your hopes and dreams reflected – or contradicted — by your school logo, fight song, handbook, yearbook, web site, postings, warnings or guidelines?
Tools to consider: Humor, Storytelling, Music, Literature, Art (mobile galleries?), Board games, Active games, Role models, Visitors, Parents, Volunteers, Pets, Field Trips, Libraries, Museums, Gardening, Farming, Camping, Movement, Competition, Cooperation, Building transparency, Government transparency, educational and interactive websites, Penpals, sister-schools and electronic technology are all possibilities.
|Restoring Other Built Environments
In addition to my work on schools, I provide inspections, consulting and training on enhancing many other environments, including homeless and refugee camps, shelters, parks, bike paths, city centers, government buildings, businesses, private homes and non-profit agencies, within a context of Safe, Healthy and Positive Environmental Design (S.H.A.P.E.D.)
This work draws on a variety of skill sets, including Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (C.P.T.E.D.), Safe, Healthy and Positive Environmental Design (S.H.A.P.E.D.), SafeGrowth, Policing and Crime Prevention in general.
In many cases, urban spaces have been under-utilized for a period of time, and a narrow population of users has moved in that conflicts with other community members. Word quickly spreads that the area is unsafe. These new users may be perfectly legitimate users, but in most cases I am brought in when the group is so intimidating that other people don’t feel comfortable using that park or city square.
Government agencies or neighborhood groups may be slow to respond. While concerns simmer on the back burner, the new user-group has plenty of time to take root and expand ownership.
The appropriate intervention depends in large part on determining who the current users are. They may simply be area kids who have found a spot to socialize, and have no place better to go. In that case, building a recreation center or program may be part of the solution. On the other hand, users could be homeless or jobless individuals of all ages, runaway or throwaway youth, people suffering from mental illness, alcoholism or drug addiction. In those cases, social services (including shelters or affordable housing) will be key to problem solving.
Park users can also be predators targeting other user groups, drug dealers selling their wares or gangs claiming turf. In those cases, an aggressive policing response will in some cases make more sense.
In any case, when these varied behaviors drive other legitimate users away from public space, neighborhoods and municipalities must take action if they want a revitalized park or square that all citizens can use without fear. Very commonly, this will have to include at least five components:
(1) organizing stakeholder groups to come up with a joint plan.
(2) policing the area to dissuade criminal behavior, coupled with social service outreach and intervention to steer clients to more appropriate spaces or services.
(3) safety planning.
(4) application of basic CPTED principles to make the physical space less conducive to criminality and more conducive to legitimate uses, and
(5) connectivity measures that will draw legitimate users back into the park, through basic amenities, such as water fountains, attractive features, such as play structures, and programming, that lure users into the park for special classes or events. Unless legitimate users reclaim the space, illegitimate users will most likely return.
WHO I AM AND HOW TO REACH ME:
I am a 30-year veteran police department crime prevention specialist (retired) with expertise in Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), Safe Healthy and Positive Environmental Design (S.H.A.P.E.D.) safe school design, personal safety, violence prevention, confrontation management, Access or Functional Needs (AFN), Special Needs school crisis planning, and related topics. Over the past two decades I have consulted to schools, educational groups, government and private organizations, such as the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities within the National Institute of Buildings in Washington, D.C. where I served as a writer and consultant on safe, healthy and positive school design and the application of security technologies. I have served groups in California, Florida, Washington state, Oregon, Indiana, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, Greece and Haiti over the past decade, working with the Oregon Safe Schools Summit, the Indianapolis Schools, the Rollins School of Public Health, the Northwest Regional Education Lab,the Hamilton Fish Institute, Safe Havens International, School Planning and Management, College Planning and Management, the California Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Education Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools.