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School safety expert says most schools fail to address key security components

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 19 2012 04:31:01 PM CST

Is your school safe?

Since Friday many schools have been reviewing and tweaking their crisis plans.

But a renowned school safety expert says schools are failing to include a key component.

"That is what happened in Connecticut. There was no excuse for him getting into the building. Had they followed three basic guidelines, would have never gotten in," said Dale Yeager.

He would know. This former teacher now heads Seraph, a school security training firm based in Chester County, that literally wrote the country's first school safety audit.

His recommendations have become part of the school safety guidelines handed down by the federal government to public schools nationwide.

"What is the state of school safety in America?" he was asked by 69 News.

"Very bad hasn't changed since Columbine," Yeager responded.

The problem Yeager says is that schools focus on being reactive instead of proactive.

"A lockdown is not prevention. An emergency plan never saved anyone it's a cleanup list," he said.

Yeager, whose Phoenixville company has a school client list of 30,000 in five countries, says a walking patrol done by teachers,outside the school every 15 minutes, can be one step in preventing disaster.

"Most staff not getting threat assessment training. They have no idea how to assess a threat," he said.

Yeager doesn't believe Sandy Hook Elementary had those patrols. If they did, he says Adam Lanza wouldn't have gotten into the building.

"Adam Lanza's car was parked illegally. Shooters always park in near the front door in most cases," explained.

Yeager also says schools need to replace front doors with shatter proof or bulletproof glass and replace security guards with federally trained officers.

While the President, nation and Congress all debate what to do next, Yeager said parents too can do something.

"Parents and grandparents need to be asking and demanding of their school boards is show me proof that you are following these guidelines," Yeager stated.

Yeager said the one school in our area that follows prevention methods is the Allentown School District.

Yeager said the district has federally trained officers and is doing what needs to be done to keep kids safe inside the buildings.