Wisconsin Author Releases Book That Challenges School Safety Initiatives
David P. Perrodin’s new book, “School of Errors: Rethinking School Safety in America,” offers a new perspective on school safety, advocating for teaching students to have curiosity and awareness instead of fear.
- By Kaitlyn DeHaven
- August 12, 2019
A former school administrator in Wisconsin recently released a book that contradicts many of the school safety measures being put in place at schools around the nation.
David P. Perrodin, a former school administrator who earned his doctorate in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, wrote “School of Errors: Rethinking School Safety in America,” a book that he called “the most honest book ever written about the $3 billion school safety industry.”
The book offers many alternative methods to current school safety, including an outline on how to handle chaotic situations successfully by embracing it rather than teaching students to be fearful of the world. Perrodin said that the only way to mitigate these risks is by teaching students to embrace their surroundings and become aware to what’s around them, rather than terrifying them to the point where they stay closed off and unaware of the world.
One of his suggestions for how to realistically implement this would be to have students to take a walk around the school, and then at the end, the administrators could ask the students what they noticed that was unusual. This would teach students how to be aware of abnormalities in their environment, which could be helpful in preventing emergency situations.
“We live in a society where we can’t fortify everything. It would be horrible to try to do that, but if we’re going to do fortifications, we’ve got to be sensible,” Perrodin said.
He said there are helpful measures, and then there are measures that are not worth the financial implications. For instance, he said securing entrances with vestibules is a smart measure, while bollards might be placed in vain, as they aren’t everywhere students congregate outside.
Perrodin does school safety consultations with schools mostly on the West Coast, but recommends other consultants for Wisconsin schools as he could have a bias and conflict from his previous work with the schools.
Another point he emphasized was to consider how the safety plan might be altered for students with special needs.
The book went through “numerous” peer reviews and two editors, and Perrodin said he pursued advice from experts he didn’t agree with to make sure the book was not biased.
Kaitlyn DeHaven is the Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.