4 Out of 10 Educators Are Considering Quitting. The Reason? Gun Violence.

Evolv Technology (NASDAQ: EVLV), the leader in AI-based weapons detection security screening, today announced the findings of a study – Gun Violence in America: The Impact on Educators – it commissioned with market research firm Equation Research. The inaugural report reveals that gun violence is taking a significant toll on educators, with 9 out of 10 believing their chances of encountering an active shooter at work has increased over the past 12 months.

Key findings: 

  • 1 in 3 respondents report having experienced a shooting at work (in a school setting)
  • 1 out of 4 have been threatened by a student
  • Sixty-one percent (61%) report their anxiety has increased over the past 12 months
  • 4 out of 10 have heard students make threats against the school
  • Twenty-two percent (22%) report being scared of one/more of their students
  • Fifty-eight percent (58%) report being extremely/moderately anxious about going to work

“These findings highlight a need for us, as a country, to do better for our educators,” said Jill Lemond, director of education at Evolv Technology and former assistant superintendent of safety and school operations for Oxford Community Schools. “Unfortunately, we haven’t equipped schools to deal with the anxiety, fear, and trauma students are bringing into the classroom. As a result, those on the frontlines – most of whom haven’t been trained in mental health – are bearing the burden of this national crisis. We are asking too much of them, and this research reveals the toll that is taking.”

What’s behind the increase in anxiety among educators 

Seven out of ten respondents report that their anxiety has changed over the past 12 months, with 88% saying it has increased. The reasons they cite for that rise include:

  • The increase in gun violence around the country – 55%
  • Recent school shootings (such as Uvalde, TX) – 53%
  • A recent violent incident at school – 27%
  • Threats from students – 27%
  • Threats from students’ parents/families – 27%

Educators report the following responses and reactions to their increased anxiety:

  • They take more mental health breaks – 45%
  • They report being “jumpier” in certain situations – 38%
  • “I feel like my mind is never operating at 100%” – 30%
  • “I am not able to provide the highest quality of education I am capable of” – 28%
  • “I have less patience with students, parents and colleagues” – 24%

For educators who report taking mental health breaks, 1 out of 3 report that they find a quiet place and cry.

How schools are prioritizing safety

Eighty-seven percent (87%) of educators report that their schools are actively taking steps to prevent gun violence. Some of those activities include:

  • Lock entrances – 50%
  • Security guards at entrances/exits – 50%
  • Conduct active shooter training/drills – 43%
  • Security guards patrol the building – 42%
  • Installed weapons detection/screening – 39%

Eighty-one percent (81%) wish more could be done to ensure a safer environment at work; 49% cite they would feel safer if weapons detection/screening was in place at their school.

The threat landscape inside our schools 

According to educators, current students present the highest risk of violence in a school setting (30%), followed by community members – not current students/families (24%) and past students (17%).

The report highlights how frequently America’s educators are facing threats. Over the past six months, they report:

  • Someone has made a threat against my colleague – 27%
  • Someone brought a knife – 25%
  • Someone brought a gun – 22%
  • Someone made a bomb threat – 19%
  • Someone made a threat against me – 16%

According to educators, students are not OK 

Forty-three percent (43%) report that students are more anxious over the past 12 months than before, and 34% say they are more socially awkward and unable to read social cues. Three out of 10 report students are jumpier and more on edge, while 17% say they are quicker to anger.

Forty-one percent (41%) have heard a student(s) make threats against the school, and more than half have heard them make a threat against another student(s).

Lemond continued: “Half of the educators surveyed report that they spend 2-5 hours each month on safety-focused activities, such as active shooter drills. While we can talk for days about a school’s response to an active shooter, we want to help schools and educators design security protocols that keep the guns out. We hope these insights demonstrate the need to not only prioritize safety and security at our schools, but mental health – for both students and teachers.”

Click HERE for the full report.

Article Source: https://www.campussafetymagazine.com/news/new-research-4-out-of-10-educators-are-considering-quitting-the-reason-gun-violence/

College Campuses, School Districts Continue to Upgrade Security, Safety Systems

K-12 school districts and institutions of higher education continue to invest in a wide range of security and safety technologies.

In Atlanta, Georgia, four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in Atlanta — Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College, and the Atlanta University Center Consortium – are in the process of upgrading security on campus.

Those improvements include unified alert systems, better lighting, and adding speed bumps, reports 11Alive. Morehouse is also updating its call boxes and adding 10 new officers. Morehouse College PD Chief Charles Prescott said his department has already added license plate readers and 17 new officers.

The upgrades at the HBCUs were partially prompted by the shooting of a Clark Atlanta University student in February, but it’s not just institutions of higher education that are responding to the recent rise in gun violence with increased investments in security technology. Many K-12 school districts are now investing in weapons detection systems.

In Texas, Garrett multi-zone metal detectors have been added to 31 schools in the Laredo Independent School District (LISD). These machines have been added to all elementary, middle, and high school campuses as part of LISD’s proactive approach to school security.

The detectors being deployed can be programmed to detect not only guns and similar threat objects, but also the knives and vape pens that some other mass screening technologies with low detection capabilities fail to find.

“We are taking action, so there’s a lot of investment on behalf of our school district, not only with purchasing the equipment, but with the training as well,” said Oscar Perez, Executive Director of Health and Safety for LISD.  

In Maryland, Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) have selected Omnilert’s Gun Detect active shooter solution to monitor external cameras throughout CCPS campuses. CCPS has already begun installing the system with outside building cameras and plans to have it activated systemwide by the end of the current school year.

“This technology provides real-time detection and advance warning before a situation occurs, which provides our school officials with valuable time to react to a possible safety threat,” said Jason Stoddard, CCPS director of school safety and security.

HVAC systems at schools across the country are also getting some much needed attention, thanks to grants provided by the federal government.

For example, in North Carolina, Rockingham County Schools, allocated $12 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding towards addressing HVAC deferred maintenance. In a two-phased approach, Johnson Controls replaced and installed heat pumps at select schools as well as upgraded the district-wide Metasys digital controls.

“The federal funding made available to school districts is a one-time opportunity, so it’s critical that K-12 leaders take the time to maximize these dollars to the fullest,” said Erselle Young, assistant superintendent of operations and logistics at Rockingham County Schools.

Article Source: https://www.campussafetymagazine.com/news/college-campuses-school-districts-pgrade-security-safety-systems/

University of Arizona Report Outlines Failures Surrounding Fatal Shooting of Professor

The University of Arizona released a campus safety and security report that outlines a series of failures that ultimately led to the Oct. 2022 fatal shooting of professor Thomas Meixner, according to UA President Robert Robbins.

During a March 27 press conference to address the findings and answer media questions, Robbins said the report “reveals there were systemic issues across our university that should have been identified and corrected,” reports The Tucson Sentinel. Dr. Thomas Meixner, professor and head of the school’s department of hydrology and atmospheric sciences, was shot by a former student on Oct. 5. Meixner was taken to a local hospital immediately after the shooting where he was pronounced deceased.

The suspect, 46-year-old Murad Dervish, fled the scene but was apprehended several hours later by the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Dervish, who campus officials knew had a violent criminal record and was barred from the campus beginning in early 2022, had been sending Meixner and others distressing messages for months, reports Tucson.com. The victims made several attempts to report his behavior to numerous university departments, including the Office of General Counsel, the UA Police Department (UAPD) the Office of Institutional Equity, and the Dean of Students.

The new report, written by security consulting firm PAX Group following an independent review of the weeks and months leading up to the shooting, as well as the university’s response in its aftermath, identified three main themes as being in need of improvement, including: 1) Understanding and managing threats; 2) Providing a consistent, empathetic and compassionate response; and 3) The decentralization and breakdown of communications. It also outlines four main areas of failure across multiple departments, including the Threat Assessment Management Team, Crisis Response, the UA Police Department, and Communications.

Threat Assessment, Management Team Failures

The report found the Threat Assessment Management Team (TATM) was run inefficiently, leading to multiple opportunities for the shooter to continue to harass and threaten UA community members, according to The Daily Wildcat. It also led to organizational stress on administrative entities such as the Dean of Students and the Office of the General Counsel. The TATM did not have a full-time leader, dedicated support, or formalized meetings and reviews. UAPD and the Dean of Students were both responsible for leading the TAMT but neither department was equipped to effectively assess and manage threats along with other departmental duties, the report found.

Crisis Response Failures

Failures were also found in the school’s crisis response, determining drills and emergency training was not prioritized by senior leadership, and Emergency Response Plans for each department were encouraged but not mandated by senior leadership. Emergency response was found to be inconsistent across departments, further fracturing responses to threats and harassment. There were also inconsistencies in the understanding of risk, what is considered to be a threat, and what should be deemed concerning.

“Without consistent, dedicated crisis response, the University is forced to move from crisis to crisis, which results in overwhelmed assessment and response teams and continued misunderstandings between involved parties,” the report reads.

UA Police Department Failures

The report also outlines many faults in law enforcement’s response to the shooter’s behavior before the attack, finding there were “multiple missed opportunities by UAPD to engage, disrupt, or arrest [Dervish] prior to the incident.” It identified multiple violations of the terms of the shooter’s expulsion that could have resulted in his arrest, including trespassing on campus and messaging faculty members.

The report further identified a disconnect between the Tucson Police Department and UAPD. Prior to the shooting, Tucson Police received a tip from a handgun dealer who refused to sell Dervish a gun because he said he was going to use it to kill himself and others. UAPD did not know of the tip until after Meixner’s murder. Additionally, the report found the Pima County Constables’ Office failed to serve Dervish with an order of protection filed by a faculty member.

Emergency Communication Failures

The report identified flaws in how the school communicates internally and with the community, including issues with the UAlert system. Many students and staff did not receive alerts following the shooting due to subscription errors. PAX Group noted that within the university’s email system, “mass emails are often identified as spam on the university’s server,” resulting in a “5-15 minute buffer or delay before the system could identify the mass UAlert email as not spam.” At the press conference, Robbins said he was in Washington, D.C. during the shooting and did not receive an alert himself due to issues with his subscription.“I didn’t renew [the UAlert subscription] in a timely manner so I was eliminated from the list,” he said.

Following the shooting, UA Chief of Police Paula Balafas said the incident was something “you can’t even predict,” indicating she was not properly informed of the complaints against the shooter and the multiple violations of his expulsion. The report indicated her statement “angered those who had been asked UAPD to arrest the Subject for nearly one year.”

The report also lists 33 recommendations for improving campus safety, including a dedicated president of the TATM, expanding safety training to individuals and units, automatically registering all students and staff to receive campus alerts, improved interagency cooperation, a centralized security camera policy, installing fire and safety-compliant locks on classroom doors, expanding keyless access to buildings, and running criminal background checks on graduate students.

The UA will also enlist former FBI agent Steve Patterson as an interim chief safety officer, create a commission devoted to campus safety, and create a campus-wide master facility safety plan with support from PAX Group.

“I am angry at myself that I did not do more to prevent this tragedy,” Robbins said during the press conference. “I’m determined to honor Tom Meixner’s legacy by making any and all necessary changes to keep our campus safer.”

On the same day as Robbins’ press conference, the UA Faculty Senate voted 29-13 to approve a written motion against Robbins, as well as Balafas, Chief Financial Officer Lisa Rulney, General Counsel Laura Todd Johnson, Dean of Students Kendal Washington White, and Provost Liesl Folks.

On March 24, lawyers representing Meixner’s family filed a notice of claim with the Arizona Board of Regents, arguing UA “sacrificed Professor Tom Meixner’s life, repeatedly ignoring the clear and present danger of a hostile and dangerous student who openly advertised his intent to murder,” according to The Tucson Sentinel. The lawsuit will seek $9 million.

Article Source: https://www.campussafetymagazine.com/university/university-of-arizona-report-outlines-failures-surrounding-fatal-shooting-of-professor/

Photo Credit: Arizona Public Media

3 Children, 3 Adults Killed in Nashville School Shooting

Three children and three adults were shot and killed at a private Christian school in Nashville. The suspected shooter is also dead.

The shooting happened just before 10:30 a.m. Monday morning at The Covenant School, which serves around 200 students from preschool through sixth grade, reports Reuters. Three children were pronounced dead after arriving at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, said spokesperson John Howser. The hospital later confirmed three adults died.

The three students who died have been identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9, Hallie Scruggs, 9, and William Kinney, 9. The adult victims are substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, 61; school head Katherine Koonce, 60; and custodian Mike Hill, 61, reports NBC News.

The shooter, originally described as a 28-year-old Nashville woman, was later identified as Audrey Hale, a transgender man who went by the name Aiden.

Authorities said as the first five Metropolitan Nashville Police officers arrived, the shooter, who was once a student at the school, fired at their vehicles through a second-floor window. Two officers then entered the building and opened fire, killing Hale, who was reportedly carrying two assault-type rifles and a handgun, according to Fox News.

Police first received calls about a shooting at 10:13 a.m. and the suspect was deceased by 10:27 a.m. Special agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded to the scene of the shooting and are assisting local first responders.

Metro Fire spokesperson Kendra Loney said firefighters helped escort children out of the school. Students and staff were bussed to nearby Woodmont Baptist Church where they were reunited with family. Mental health specialists and professionals were made available.

Killer Shot Through Glass of Locked Door, Had Manifesto

MNPD spokesperson Don Aaron said the killer entered the building by shooting out the glass of a locked door on the first floor.

A detailed map of Covenant School was in the shooter’s manifesto, which was discovered by police after the attack. The manifesto included surveillance and access points of the building. The shooter also targeted another location but chose not to attack the second target because of security at that location, reports Newsweek.

At 9:57 a.m., Hale sent an Instagram message to childhood teammate Averianna Patton, stating he planned to die by suicide and it would be on the news.

“One day this will make more sense,” Hale wrote. “I’ve left behind more than enough evidence behind. But something bad is about to happen.”

Patton told WTVF she “tried to comfort and encourage [Hale] and subsequently reached out to the Suicide Prevention Help Line after being instructed to by my father at 10:08 a.m.” She also called the Nashville Davidson County Sheriff’s Office at 10:13 a.m. — the exact time police received the first call of an active shooter — and was told to call Nashville’s non-emergency number.

Patton said she called the non-emergency line at 10:14 a.m. but was on hold for seven minutes before speaking with someone who said they would send an officer to her home. Patton said an officer did not come to her residence until 3:29 p.m.

According to the K-12 School Shooting Database, this incident is the 89th shooting on school grounds in 2023. The attack was the 19th shooting at a U.S. school or university in 2023 in which at least one person was wounded, CNN reports.

Article Source: https://www.campussafetymagazine.com/safety/3-children-3-adults-killed-in-nashville-school-shooting/

Photo Credit: facebook.com/MetroNashvillePoliceDepartment