[00:00:00] Excited to be here today with Steven Healy, the CEO of Margolis Healy. We're excited to have Steven thank you for making some time for us.
[00:00:09] Great. I'm glad to be here and looking forward to a very wholesome conversation.
[00:00:14] Excellent. Just does a bit of first disclaimers. Steven is the CEO of Margolis Healy, and as you know my name is Margolis, and his name is Healy So putting two and two together Steven, and I co-founded Margolis Healy, and a couple of years ago it was acquired by Coase and O'Connor which is a multinational law firm, so Steven is the CEO. Margolis Healy which is now a subsidiary of Cohen O'Connor. Steven also co-founded Social Sentinel with me, and so he is on our board of directors. And so just the disclosure that you'll see his name in a couple of places but for days conversation Steven is a nationally renowned expert in school safety and security. And we're excited to have him share some of the insights and the wisdom he has from traveling the country working with what is now thousands of schools on matters related to their climate and safety and security and wellness. Stephen how did you get to get involved with school safety and security like how did you get into this line of work here.
[00:01:12] Well it's been an interesting Long and Winding Road. I would say as you know, I attended the United States Air Force Academy and many of the things that you learn. Well, one of the things that is ingrained in folks who don't have that experience is this concept of service.
[00:01:32] So I'm always in my working adult life. I've always been very very engaged in service in volunteer service. But just the sense of helping others is it is one of those values that you lead an academy experience with. So when I left the Air Force and went to Syracuse University as their deputy director of campus safety, I think I found my I found my niche and I figured out what I really wanted to do with my life.
[00:02:08] And so you know I worked at Syracuse stayed there for several years when I was become chief of police at Wellesley College and later the chief of police at Princeton. And it was during my time at Princeton that I realized that I wanted to have a more significant impact on the conversations that were occurring about campus safety and security.
[00:02:30] And I think Gary that's about the time that you and I found one another.
[00:02:34] And I think we both shared that sense of helping wanting to help institutions in schools enhance their programs and their policies related to safety and security and so that's why we started the company back in 2008 and have been going full force since then and continue to embrace that those values around service survey that the school and Kyra community and now some private entities as well.
[00:03:06] But really trying to lend our voice to the very complex questions about how do you create a reasonably safe environment for our kids and young adults who are attending higher ed.
[00:03:24] You you lived all over the world in the Air Force if I recall correctly, so you had some diverse experiences and then and then came back to the states and as you mentioned Syracuse which is a very large university by university standards good size school. What was it about educational security or educational safety that that got you hooked more than I mean someone with your pedigree U.S. Air Force Academy graduate. The experiences you had in what you did in the service you were you know corporate jobs and many opportunities were ripe for the picking for you just what was it about schools and school safety that really pulled you in.
[00:04:05] I think it was the notion of focusing on the future and focusing on the young people who we will turn this world over to at some point right and that's a constant cycle. I went when I was a high administrator I really got a lot of energy being around young people, and I began to shift this notion of how do we make this place as safe as we can so that these young people can then thrive in their lives.
[00:04:41] And and I think when I started to look at it from that perspective and looking at all of the different experiences and situations that young people find themselves in thinking about OK how can what do we need to do as an institution. What do I need to do as you know the chief safety officer or the chief of police worldwide need to do to make these places safe and make the experiences ones that that that really contribute to a person's development or a young person's development and obviously safety is at the top of that you know without safety without that sense of security. Sure.
[00:05:26] We really miss the opportunity to drive past as people, and so you know just really being dedicated to that being able to impact that the future of our young people while they are engaged in their learning experience.
[00:05:46] Yeah I think we both experienced in our own university this idea that you know young people come to the institution the University experience unbridled freedom for the first time and need an environment where they can make mistakes, and they can lean forward and not have it have lifelong impacts.
[00:06:05] And so it's I can appreciate part of what that challenge looks like now you at this point you've literally worked with thousands of schools across the country in a number of capacities of service to them. Tell us a little bit about what Margolies really does but a little bit about the work that you and the team are doing at both school districts and universities across the country.
[00:06:28] Yeah well that is very exciting the work that we do continues but at least we continue to believe that the work that we do really contributes to the overall educational experience. So so my goal is really it is basically where we're a service company we work with K12 schools we work with higher ed oftentimes institutions call us and to look at the aftermath of a critical incident.
[00:07:02] So we've been involved in a number of the I guess the headline of critical cases that have occurred and in K12 in higher ed over the past 10 years. So the critical incident response in helping them think about that. Oftentimes institutions especially in the aftermath of critical incidents such as the shooting that happened outside of Denver this week that situation had happened that you can see Charlotte last week and oftentimes when those incidents happen it forces or U.S. forces administrators shores and colleges take what else do we need to do of doing the right things.
[00:07:45] Do we have the right people in the right places do we have the right policies. So oftentimes in the aftermath of cricket incidents we called to schools to help them with that. We also have a regulatory compliance practice area that focuses on helping and this is not in the higher ed space but helping institutions ensure that their policies and procedures around the Cleary Act which is a federal law that colleges have to follow regarding crime statistics and policies and practices so helping them ensure that they are meeting both the spirit the letter of the law but also the spirit of the law. And we do a lot of work around emergency management helping schools figure out if their emergency management programs are meeting what we would consider to be the contemporary standards or the contemporary practices in emergency management.
[00:08:39] So kind of a whole suite of different services that we offer what we'd like to to do is to partner with institutions. We approach every project as a partnership not as a you know kind of a one and done situation.
[00:08:55] So we really want to become the trusted advisors of school you know principals and college administrators and chances of President so that when they have a situation they reach out to us and so oftentimes we have institutions that come back to us over and over and over again, and we really embrace that that concept of really being in a partnership and not just some kind of a transactional service.
[00:09:27] It sounds like you're focused on is going to an earlier theme you talked about which are a service. This idea of long term relationships to help move through problems as opposed to maybe an audit function where you show up you audit you put it in black and white terms you move on. It really is about that. It seems to be a theme that carries forward from what got you interested in doing the work in the first place.
[00:09:51] Yeah. I think that's I think that's right. You really can get really leaning into this. This I've this notion that.
[00:09:59] These are where you are advised. You can call us anytime, and you know I when I moved out of being a practitioner a law enforcement practitioner I thought Well the calls in the middle of the night.
[00:10:12] You know I do worry about that managing people managing situations.
[00:10:17] Does that work in Peoria.
[00:10:19] Well I didn't get away from it because I still get those calls. I get called in the middle of the night. You know they're oftentimes from university presidents and school principals when they have a situation and not all of those calls necessarily translate into a project for us. But again it's this notion of we are here for you. We want you to trust us to reach out to us whenever you have a situation. And we don't always have the answers, and that's one of the things that I really love about the work that we do. We don't always have the answers, but we know where the answers are because of our work with so many different types of schools around the country, and I should emphasized that before now we work with small and large K12 schools private public and same in higher ed.
[00:11:14] We work with a small liberal arts colleges only up to a large institutions like Penn State or you know a Portland State. So we're kind of all over. In terms of being able to help those different types of institutions because we work with all types of schools and colleges and universities. So we learn we were constantly pulling good practices or best practices from institutions that we work with and then helping other types of institutions embrace those concepts around creating a reasonably safe environment.
[00:12:00] So that brings up the I think a question that I'd be welcoming of your thoughts on. You mentioned the safe and secure environment and given all the schools small medium large public or private K12. I read through all the different crises and issues whether it be you know what kind of a standard assessment or in the middle of the night phone call how have you come after all these years living and sleeping and breathing. You know this idea of a safe school. How are you defining school safety and security now? What is what does that mean today. What does it mean to have a safe school? I mean at one point it was you have locks on the doors. I think you'd agree or maybe you wouldn't. It's more complicated than that, but what does it look like now in your world.
[00:12:50] Yeah, you know that this has really been quite I guess an evolution in our thinking about school safety.
[00:13:00] And you're right that most folks approach school safety in very discrete ways right.
[00:13:07] So there is let's say there's a you know there's a school resource officer. That person is responsible for safety.
[00:13:14] Then there's the you know there's the physical plants that they're responsible for security cameras and locks and you know those kind of things in there that kind of the student you know the principals or the schools save the school the deans of students those types of people they're worried about policies and procedures and programming and and and so what has happened or what was still happens is that folks don't really view school safety from the 30000 foot level. And so what we're trying to do more is help institutions approach this from an ecosystem. So what is the school safety or what is that a campus safety ecosystem? Do we understand all of these discrete parts and pieces in these different components?
[00:14:09] And do we understand how they overlap and how they impact one another. Right. So let me say you're either at a college or university and you have a university campus safety department or police department.
[00:14:23] How does that mean how does that group of people cover how does the work that they do align with the work that's happening in the Dean students office because generally, the Dean of Students offices or principals are responsible for student conduct. And then if you have a law enforcement entity over here, that's responsible for enforcing laws and policies and procedures how do these these these different components how did they align with one another how did they overlap how do they collaborate and how do they coordinate their services. So when you think about school safety, it doesn't. Like a discreet responsibility of one office but a collective responsibility of a number of offices and a number of programs throughout the school or throughout the campus.
[00:15:11] So where we really started to talk more about this ecosystem and acknowledging how all these pieces contribute or add value to the campus safety proposition.
[00:15:29] So there's a there's an integration an interconnected nature it sounds like between people and technology and policies and procedures and and and that is definitely what it is. I believe it is a difference and in thinking when I was on the phone today with a school superintendent who was sharing a particular issue where you know they got word that a student was potentially coming to school on a bus with a handgun and and that you know they were waiting for the buses to come in and she was kind of explaining what that process was like and she commented to me she goes you know I got into you know I'm an educator I became a school superintendent because I I was a teacher and I wanted to you know help develop the district and students and she goes and now you know at this particular moment that I'm standing at the entryway to the school you know waiting for a kid to get off a bus with a gun and she said it's just not what my experience was twenty-five years ago right.
[00:16:29] So this seems like it's it's changed and how much of that is driven by you know high impact low probability events versus you know like the active shooters which are horrific or the targeted violence which is horrific versus the other lower impact than that you know more probable events I mean that what's driving the changes. What do you see as the reason people are picking up the phone and saying Steven can you and the team come you know tomorrow.
[00:17:02] Yeah. And just to go back to your comment about you know folks who work in schools and colleges and universities you know and I had this conversation all the time with administrators right. They didn't sign up for this right. They didn't sign up. You know the university president made their way to become a university president through their scholarly scholarly work. Right. They didn't they didn't become a university president because they're a great campus safety administrators right. So they go. They don't sign up for this but that's not what these they signed up for.
[00:17:36] But I think there have been several events over the past 20 or so years that have really kind of amplified the need for having the appropriate policies and the appropriate of the right people in the right places to be to pay attention to campus safety and security.
[00:17:59] So you know that the world is flat right now. So something that happens and you know something that happens in Mumbai overnight for us we know about it immediately.
[00:18:11] So Ravi say I think you know the media is a 24 hour media cycle. Right. So last week when we had that tragic shooting targeted violence Internet that you see Charlotte right. Immediately my phone was buzzing from reporters wanting to talk about OK what do you know what does this mean. And so when you have these intense you had this 24 hour news cycle you have social media you folks are starting to embrace the need for appropriate planning and attention to safety and security issues because it's no more you know well that those things don't happen here.
[00:18:50] Now I would say that schools and colleges and universities are still very very safe and they remain safe for the most part because folks are paying attention to all of these things that are happening.
[00:19:04] So one of the things that we like to tell school administrators is when you when there's an incident that happens at a school it could be across the country it could be across the world. You should really step back and play that out in your own environment. So if this incident happened here today what would we be prepared. Would we be in a position to respond appropriately and then recover so that we can get back to the business of educating our students. And so all of these incidents that happen I think they take they draw the attention of administrators or folks realize I think folks really have embraced the need for comprehensive safety planning in light of all of the incidents and it's not just about shootings it's about hurricanes it's about earthquakes it's about. Fires it's about motor vehicle accidents. You know we're transporting thousands of students every single day.
[00:20:05] And I know Gary you've been involved in this and I've been involved in this work.
[00:20:09] That bus that is transporting our students or involved in you know in a collision, and there are injuries and deaths as a result of that. So I think folks more and more folks are leaning into those responsibilities. I think the public is requiring universities to lean into these issues you know we do a lot of work with schools that are being the subject of a civil suit.
[00:20:36] And then again, folks are recognizing that the public expects you to provide a certain level safety security.
[00:20:43] And if an incident happens and it appears that you didn't do that you will likely be held accountable in either the court of public opinion or in a civil lawsuit and in some cases in federal oversight. And we saw that a lot with the Department of Education and in their enforcement of Title 9 in holding schools responsible for having meaningful programs that respond to sexual and gender-based harassment.
[00:21:13] We know one of the things that you said reminded me of conversations that I know we've had in the past you know whether you're a university or college or a large school district for a small school district you're often the economic part of the economic engine in your community because you employ people and it's a business as much as it is an education institution. And you know I hadn't quite thought about it the way I am now until you stated but it schools have an obligation whether you're K12 higher ed or such to be able to manage emergencies efficiently and effectively because of the drain it could put on local resources and the like. So it's yet another I think expectation the public might have or at least certainly government officials or local officials around how are schools coordinating to do this which brings up I think you know this concept back to the ecosystem right. So I know that from our experience you've done quite a bit of work in emergency management. I know that you and the firm have been instrumental in work in the behavioral threat management perspective. So you know 20 years after some of these you know a kind of initial tragedies where emergency management highlights were issued or behavioral threat management was issued where we had today. I mean do you sit back and look across the country and say you know most schools are getting it and they're doing it the way it needs to be done. Are you surprised that some might not be Are you comfortable that most are I mean kind of what's the litmus test for you right now Where's your sense of School Safety and Security efficacy given all that's happened and what we've learned from?
[00:22:56] Yeah that's a great question.
[00:22:59] So when I think back to 2007 or in the aftermath of the tragedy at Virginia Tech I mean I was called I Was the president and of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators. And I was called to testify before the Senate and then a week later before the House.
[00:23:18] But when I testified before the Senate and I brought up this notion of behavioral threat assessment or campus threat assessment that this idea of threat assessment and management I think it was a new concept for most you know most folks didn't understand what I was talking about about threat assessment indeed the threat assessment about the need for comprehensive emergency management practices what folks may like I'm almost like I was an alien I was talking a different language fortunately you know I had a lot of colleagues that had been involved in threat assessment and they were able to make me smart about it. And then I was able to educate you know that the folks there at the panel that you know at the hearing were testifying around these things. So when I think about it, that's 2007, and I'm introducing this notion, and I'm not suggesting that I introduced the concept, but I introduced the need for more comprehensive collaborative Threat Assessment and Management at schools. I think when I when, I think about it from where we came from in 2010 to where we are I think that we have made tremendous strides.
[00:24:40] But the challenge is that this isn't stationary right to go that there is shoreline.
[00:24:48] Right there's no finish line. This is not running 100-yard dash right where you know you cross the tape you raise your hand. Game 1 This is a matter of winning small.
[00:24:58] You know really small battles and overcoming obstacles along the way to creating a safe campus.
[00:25:06] So I kind of think about it in the backs of angry might teach you in day to quality management days in the Air Force right where we talked about it PSA cycle we can do study act right. And that's a cycle that it never ends. It keeps evolving so we can to have a threat assessment management team. We do it right. We respond when we need to respond, and then we find out OK, what can we do differently.
[00:25:35] So it's this technical process and not linear. Right. So it never ends. And so we're always thinking about what else is on horizon right. Because ten years ago, we weren't thinking about social media right. We weren't thinking about what are people posting in social media.
[00:25:54] I remember in the aftermath of 9/11, and I live in I had to come into Boston at the time, but New Jersey Transit came up with this.
[00:26:03] See something say something that I think people are really from the game that see something say something.
[00:26:09] See something say something in 2000 and 17 or 2000 Lavin is a lot different than what See Something Say Something means today. Right. Because people are saying things in different ways in different venues. Vending were back then it's not as simple as saying hey if you hear your neighbor talking about you hear that you're at your fellow school talking about doing something. Tell us about it. And now it's like if you see something on social media right. And that's evolving rapidly.
[00:26:41] I mean like my son's works and in the social media industry, and this is responsible for watching for signs of child predation and child pornography and in social media. It's like constantly changing, and the challenges never stop.
[00:27:03] And so what we encourage school administrators to do is to make sure that you have a person or a team that is constantly paying attention to how the landscape is changing and as the landscape changes. What do we need to do within our own ecosystem? Right. So if you know if the issue of visitor management if, we have a situation in another school or as a school where someone gets into a school, and they weren't supposed to be there. Right. And so the potential that a potential danger to the school.
[00:27:39] What we need to do about our business management system right. This isn't about locks and cameras. This is more about how do we actually manage our policies and practices right.
[00:27:48] What what are the practices.
[00:27:51] Yes. So it's just constantly changing and evolving. But again, what we encourage administrators to do is to make sure that you have a person who's focused on it because we know it's not the president's job. We chose on the vice president's job to pay attention to this stuff. It's part of their responsibility. But it's not a job.
[00:28:10] Who is minding the store and who is paying attention to the ecosystem to ensure that all the parts and pieces are working together in a way that creates a reasonably safe environment so that that brings up Moussaoui had a couple of thoughts that you sparked to me.
[00:28:25] First of all, that idea of how are we paying attention to the information out there is really at the heart of social setting. I mean our new share it app was designed specifically not just to be a crime tip reporting tool for four schools but also to be a place where the community whether it be students or teacher otherwise can report in things that are happening that is good as well as things that are sad or bad or outreaches for help that that go beyond or aside from crime tips. Because what I hear you saying is there's a lot of information out there that all speaks to the safety climate of a school.
[00:29:00] And we've got to have our radar tuned to get as much of it as we can which kind of leads to the other comment you made which you've got me thinking about which is this idea of paying attention. Right. Who's paying attention to who is paying attention like is is that the. How are you seeing schools do that? Is it the superintendent. Is it the principal is it the vice president. Is it the president is it the police chief or public sector. To who. Who are you seeing schools assigning that broad responsibility for making sure that they there they have all the plates spinning on all of the polls at least maybe not at the same rate but at least they're up on the poll spinning if that's the analogy I can use.
[00:29:46] Yeah, and that's a great analogy. I mean that my response to that is going to sound a little; I'm a little on the negative side.
[00:29:58] Because I do think that this is a very important area of growth for us.
[00:30:07] I don't think I think. I think more schools have embraced the concept of acknowledging that they are all these parts and pieces and components that need to work together.
[00:30:21] I don't think we've made the leap to embracing the concept of kind of a chief safety officer.
[00:30:30] And I talked about this a lot when I had an opportunity to get before a large group of administrators, and that should be the school the college administrators. I really pushed this idea that we should be investing the appropriate amount of resources to keep our secret and keep our students safe and that appropriate should be as much as we're spending trying to get them to come to our school.
[00:30:59] Right. So you know back in the college environment when you see that the president's cabinet admissions people are always at you know the chief admissions person is always at the table because we recognize that higher read that that's a critical function because if we don't bring students to our schools, no schools won't survive.
[00:31:23] Well we've got three schools in Vermont three colleges in Vermont that are closing at the end of June. So we're certainly sure.
[00:31:31] Right. So you we spend a lot of we invest a lot of resources in bringing school bringing students to our schools getting in my my proposition is we should be spending the same amount of recent investing the same amount of resources in keeping them safe because if we can't hold onto and can't keep them safe then we fundamentally say so safety is over is a retention tool in part.
[00:31:55] So it's not just the academic services which they get you know support around but safety for you becomes very much a retention tool in both the private schools and higher ed and even I think at public school districts where school choice is now an opportunity where parents can Yeah you can ship your student to another school district by bus that maybe 30 miles away if you don't want him to go to the district that you live in.
[00:32:22] Exactly. And you know I'm so so I live in a little city nestled in between Berkeley and Oakland it's called Emeryville right. So when Emeryville built their new school, what is probably the only girl learning center right.
[00:32:40] So it is the center of activity for this for this community. So they you have the day care this you know that city-funded daycare is there or pre-K or whatever you call it.
[00:32:55] That meant that you know the K12 is there and everything is that there's a community pool there.
[00:33:03] There are meeting spaces for community groups.
[00:33:07] So it's sort of the center of life for this community. And you know it is shaping as a retention tool. But safety is is the way we approach it is safety is a fundamental right of every person.
[00:33:22] Right. If I say and I invite you to come to this building or this facility I'm to learn I'm their you know their expectations that stocks are going to be safe. And so it's an expectation.
[00:33:37] And to me that translates to obligation for those of us who are the administrators and ultimately responsible for the operations of the school. So it's a fundamental right, and it's an obligation of ministry.
[00:33:51] What's the read. I'm just curious, and I'm gonna priest I'm going to preempt, or my question perhaps with I'm sure it's across the board but maybe not. What's the general reaction from you know school administrators who hear that from you. I mean I remember a university president saying to me you know Gary I'm a dental surgeon by training I. This entire issue you're helping us with is completely outside my realm of experience. You know that kind of. So when you share this kind of philosophy, what's the reaction you're getting from from from school leaders.
[00:34:26] You know I think what we saw there a couple of different reactions obviously the reaction that we get from folks that we're working with is oh yeah that makes sense to us. Right. Because generally, they had retained us to help them think through these things. Sure. And so folks generally embrace the concept, but it's one thing to embrace a concept and then to turn around investment and to do it you know there's nothing sexy about investing in security. Right. So you know it's more prestigious to invest in instead or invest in you know invest in each other.
[00:35:11] Pretty cutting edge technology and but it's not sexy to say hey we don't invest three million dollars in security cameras or we don't have you know we're going to implement hotel style of line locks so that we can control who you know who's getting into different spaces. You know there's nothing sexy about that.
[00:35:33] So you really have to try to you have to try to appeal to get individual sense of responsibility and obligation and really it's about telling the story about how all of these health safety and it's in all of its various component parts how it is fundamental and how it is absolutely critical to success to the institution's success.
[00:36:04] And I think we see this.
[00:36:06] I think we're starting to see more institutions embrace this concept. I think there are more institutions and schools that have appointed or designated a chief security officer. Put all of the safety and security component parts under that person has a seat at the table. So there's no filter. Oftentimes what we find is that chief safety officer sitting five or six layers below the president and when information about safety and security needs to get up to that person in order for the institution to make reasonable decisions that information is being filtered to make too many fold and too many competing interests.
[00:36:46] Right. It's even that just too many competing interests.
[00:36:50] That's right.
[00:36:51] But if I'm fighting you know if I'm fighting for resources to hire more officers and you know the Biology Department is fighting for new lab space who's going to win.
[00:37:06] Right. And so I'm not trying to approach this as a win-lose proposition because it's not only it's a matter of prioritizing.
[00:37:16] It's a win as a priority it's prioritization in a matter of acknowledging the important role of security and the learning environment and against law.
[00:37:27] For us, we approach it as it is a fundamental right.
[00:37:31] Therefore, it is a duty you have a duty to create a reasonable environment in this case law. You know I mean if you turn into the kind of civil litigation there's lots of case law that says schools have an obligation to provide a reasonably safe environment and we can argue all day about what reasonably say that that's what happens in the courtrooms. But you know that the basic concept here is that we do have a duty to create a reasonably safe environment for our children.
[00:38:01] And we know that there are you know it's the old you can feel safe and not be safe and not be safe and feel safe and safety is different for you know me as a you know a large you know Caucasian male than it is for us a much smaller you know minority female let's say.
[00:38:23] So there's all these you know I think the complexity of what it means to be safe to different people and all of that having to come under the umbrella of a school trying to figure that out. And it leads me to the next question as I've listened to you which is, so you got into this line of work what. Twenty-five years ago when you transitioned from the Air Force into Syracuse and it led you through a career to Wellesley to inventors Princeton and then the work you do now.
[00:38:55] What's different about today's students or what might not be different about today's students compared to 25 years ago and what's different about. Yeah, the the the people who are working in the institutions what from the people angle what's different.
[00:39:14] Yeah. So. So it's 35 years.
[00:39:17] I was giving you the benefit of the doubt that I'm old and I'm leaning into it embrace it.
[00:39:32] So it goes back to part of what I addressed earlier is that there's no finish line. Right. This is this is this is happening this is. All right. So every generation of students is going to be different. Right.
[00:39:47] And think about my mom and my dad. They were activists back in their day right. They were you know they were protesting the Vietnam War. They were protesting racial. Just as they were you know, they were protesting everything. And then you look at their students today. Guess what. They're protesting everything. So I think we have to learn from the past.
[00:40:10] But I also think that we have to pay attention to who our students are in the way that you do that is to connect with them in a very meaningful way.
[00:40:19] So I always encourage more efficient administrators that you know find out what is a millennial what is Gen the rank What's the language they are using.
[00:40:30] Can you connect me to that. Can you understand it?
[00:40:34] I don't think I understand Gen Zia's knew I heard that one.
[00:40:38] Yeah well it's. That's what I'm saying. It's cause you know.
[00:40:44] Unfortunately you're reporting it too. We have young too relatively. My kids are older than yours to be 24 but at least that kind of understand because I'm around them I understand the language that talking I understand what's trending in that environment that we have an obligation to figure those folks out. We have an obligation to figure out kids. We have an obligation to figure out what does it mean to protest in 60s versus what it means to protest and to end it.
[00:41:10] And you know in today's day in 2019 right because those protests they look a little differently. So we have an obligation we have to be what I like to refer to as a reflective practicing practitioner.
[00:41:23] Right. So we're taking time to learn about what's different in the environment so that we can then apply what's different to you know whatever our safety and security program. And so it's you know it's constantly evolving. This is as my friend Cornell Higgins who is the chief of police at Yale said often say that being a university police chief is a contact sport.
[00:41:51] That's good. Yeah.
[00:41:53] You have to constantly pay attention to what's happening in the environment right. And really don't allow folks to say well that can't happen here. Right.
[00:42:05] That's right.
[00:42:06] You know that's always one of the sure messages you have to dispel the myth that it can't happen here because the chances are that it will happen here and it's probably going to be a lot worse than what we imagined. And you know so again it's being that reflective practitioner always learning what's happening.
[00:42:26] Big paying attention to what's happening in the environment include social media that includes you know the traditional media that includes what's happening in what's happening on the playground what's happening on the sports team. Right.
[00:42:40] And that's one of the things that I think that higher ed really learned over the last 10 years or so around sexual agenda violence where it wasn't paying attention to what our what their students were. Our students were saying about how they felt about their sick safety and security.
[00:42:58] And that boy how they felt about institutions response to a complaint of sexual discrimination or sexual assault some type of sexual gender bias. Cerrato you know it's paying attention to what's in the environment and talking to our students. And you know I'm. What's the latest in the grades. What solutions are out there? You know is it all about locks and cameras or is about something else.
[00:43:25] You know you think what do we need to do. You said a couple of things which again yet get my mind flowing. You know in some ways you know who we are is as people as students today as human beings might not be a whole lot different than you know in the 60s. I remember a presentation at the university I sat through where they talked about every generation of students mirrors up some past generation. I think at the time the generation that was in school behaved a lot like the World War Two generation. And then I mean it was an interesting set of research points. It was interesting discussion to have. And what I heard you say is that you know kids today kids young adult students today are finding their voices around social injustice and issues. We saw it happen coming out of parkland in Florida. We've seen it more and more around race and ethnicity-related concerns. And so today's student might not be a whole lot different than those who found their voice in the 60s but what might be different is how they communicate and how they interact with the world, and I think that's again you know another. I mean it's certainly one of the things we think about in Social Sentinel which is you know this entire generation of young people are digital natives. They only know digital communication as part of an extension of who they are. I mean you and I had to learn to use e-mail and learn how to use social media and learn how to do that. But this is a generation that has mastered. You know short communication styles and different ways of talking and such. And one of the things that you said around all of this which is very meaningful to me was we have to listen to them. We have to meet our students where they are in order to engage them in their own safety and be a part of helping them navigate this. And I think that that's an important lesson. And I mean as I listen to you talk about it it's never more clear that it's a part of your philosophy as a security practitioner in helping schools recognize that this fundamental right to safety and security begins with being present where your population is and helping them engage in ways that they engage. And I think I think that's telling. I mean, I certainly got my attention and how you stated that.
[00:45:44] Yeah I.
[00:45:45] You know I think I can highlight a world of a little in a little different way I was having a conversation with a university vice president about two weeks ago and she was telling me well that we seem to be getting some negative vibes from some students about the university police department. So, of course, I approached. Tell me about what. Come tell me more about that. You know what does that look like.
[00:46:10] And so basically it boiled down to we think that there is starting to be a rift between the students in the police department. OK.
[00:46:21] So what are you doing. What are you currently doing around connecting or engaging? Right. And we use a lot of the work that came out of the 21st century policing task force report that was commissioned by the previous administration, President Obama and that task force really talked about engaging so I.
[00:46:43] So what are you doing to engage with your students. No. Well, that's an interesting concept, one that wasn't quite what I was expecting to hear.
[00:46:53] I mean look we're concerned that there is a rift in the relationship and you can't tell me what you're doing to solidify or enhance or maintain the relationship then you get which you should expect. I mean you should expect that that's what you're going to get. You have to have meaningful ways and programs and practices and initiatives to engage with folks because it's like any other relationship.
[00:47:18] It's like my relationship with you, and I'll talk to you know on a regular basis. I don't know what's going on in your life you'll know what's going on in my life.
[00:47:27] You know we lose that connection and I think that's part of what that's one of the pieces that I think we missed is this whole notion of how do we gauge right.
[00:47:37] Because from a campus safety perspective, it's not.
[00:47:40] From a law enforcement perspective, there are ample opportunities to engage in very negative ways with members of the public or members of the campus community. Right.
[00:47:47] I mean that's kind of it's apparent in today's The nature of today's policing.
[00:47:54] So if we know that there are lots of opportunities to engage in negative interactions, what are we going to create positive interactions. What are we doing to create opportunities for public engagement? And we're not doing that, and we're not thinking about that. And I'm not talking about superficial ways like you know coffee with a cup although that's a great starting place. But I have to go much deeper than that right.
[00:48:17] So how are we talking to our students that are on the floor or on the fringes right now. How disenfranchised do drugs? So I've talked to a lot of our students who are part of the LGBT community. And they say well we don't trust the police. Well, why don't you couple that with why I don't know the police? Oh, do you know anybody the police department? No, I don't mean to name one person. Well, there you go.
[00:48:40] It is this is the school's responsibility to create that connection. It's not the student's answer one's ability right.
[00:48:47] It is absolutely our responsibility the institution's responsibility to do that to create opportunities for positive. Now it's the audience the break up have to be open to this.
[00:49:00] And that takes some time.
[00:49:02] But you know there are a lot of very proven you know proven strategies for kind of dish hats sitting down and having constructive dialogue you know playing facilitators for you know dialogue session like. There are lots of strategies out there. I think we just need to lean into them a bit more and embrace those concepts. Right. So this is a campus safety and security is not a top law enforcement what was meant as a piece of. But that's not what it's about. So we really have to embrace that holistic approach to students of School Safety or campus safety to really get to the place where we feel that we have the right programs we understand who our client is once they do our customers and we understand our community they understand us they know who we are what we what we offer and that starts to build the opportunity for. More engagement and better dialogue.
[00:50:00] You know what. One of the things that I think about when you talked earlier think one of the things you said in the beginning of our conversation was that schools, whether it be a district door university or college, remain statistically anyway and or writ large. The safest place for our young people to be right that I mean overall if you look at crime stats and all the things that can happen compared to the general population writ large that's the place where our kids are safer. And I think one of the things that I've also heard you say, and we've talked about is the you know our art our children our students are safest in many ways when there's at least one adult that they have a connection within the school right that someone they can go to. And what I hear you saying in this is that it can be this public safety team. But it's also that engagement goes beyond that you know is it student affairs is it the guidance counselors. Is it the you know the student life. I mean there's just in both K12, and higher ed there seem to be many opportunities for that kind of engagement so that the social responsibility doesn't sit on the people who might wear a uniform in a district or in a university or college.
[00:51:18] Yeah I think that's right. I think it's it's an institutional responsibility to make sure that students feel as if there is someone there that they can connect with.
[00:51:30] You know I remember you know shortly after. I don't want to get too technical but shortly at the Department of Education issued what's known as a Dear Colleague letter along title line back in 2011.
[00:51:43] We were doing a lot of work around Title 9 related stuff in Title 9 is the federal regulation that requires colleges and universities to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex. Right. That's kind of in a nutshell. But as we were doing that kind of work, I remember being in an institution talking to members of the LGBT community and asking them so do you feel like there's a place we go if you were the victim of a sexual assault or some other type of sexual harassment.
[00:52:15] Is there a place we can go and I mean these students don't know we don't feel like there's a place for us to go because although there's a center-right there's a place that no one understands me because there's nobody there like me no one saw it. So so while there may be this center, I don't feel comfortable going, and so members of my community don't go. So what that means is that you then have a whole segment about community that feels urban disenfranchised because they don't feel that the institution has invested the appropriate resources to address their issues. And so again it goes back to constant dialogue constant engagement having conversations with folks understanding who your community is understanding you know what those needs and expectation. I'm not saying we can meet every need every expectation or that school should step out there they have their primary responsibility in being places where we educate students. But again, I go back to my premise that safety is a fundamental right. That if it is not present, you can't fulfill your obligation to educate.
[00:53:30] It's a foundational principle. I like that. I like that idea Steven of a fundamental right.
[00:53:36] We have a right to be safe in our learning environments and a right to be safe in our lives and safety is multi-dimensional honest definition and what I hear you talking about is that the ecosystem that you conceptualize touches upon different aspects of that physical safety and security emotional safety and security support. And I think that's a powerful thought to leave our our our audience where that campus safety or school safety is complex but not unattainable. It's there's a lot happening, but it's well within our means to make some reasonable steps an effort to get us to where we need to be.
[00:54:15] And I think that's a that's an important lesson now. Folks who are going to want to chat with you further about this can certainly find you on the Web site Margolis Healy AECOM, and we'll make sure that your contact information is available on our you know when we post this in the various places we put it. But I just want to thank you and just express our grateful I am that you made some time for us today and shared a significant amount of experience. You've now worked with schools that have seen the best of times and then seen the worst of times and to quote whatever you know famous book it is that that was quoted out of, but whatever it sounds good it makes sense. But it's true. I mean. You you know you're the guy that you and the team at Margolis Healy are that are the folks that are getting called to help. And we're just grateful to have you on our team here and to be able to get some of your wisdom shared with our clients across and our prospects across the country. So I want to thank you. Thanks for making time.
[00:55:15] Thank you. Thank you for having me. I really enjoyed the opportunity, and hopefully, I didn't ramble too much. Not at all in that, there is some little gems of knowledge out there somewhere. Yep, you can always do that. We talked about this.
[00:55:29] I learned something from you guys. Yeah, I've well I've learned something from you, and I've known you a long time, and it's one of the beauties of listening is that every time we have all these conversations I walk away a little smarter, so I'm grateful for that.
[00:55:42] Yes, it's amazing listening. Excellent. Stephen, thank you. Thank you. Talk soon. Gary, thank you. Appreciate it. Well bye.