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FBI’s thoughts on Workplace Violence

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Roland Ouellette - Safety Awareness Management

Roland: There is a considerable amount of observation, analysis, publishing and training taking place around workplace violence. Although most of the information below is not new on the topic, I thought the FBI report that was published in the first quarter of this year had an interesting table describing the various “buckets” of workplace violence.

Behaviors of concern can help workers recognize potential problems with fellow employees. If a co-worker begins acting differently, determining the frequency, duration, and intensity of the new, and possibly troubling, behavior can prove helpful. Specific behaviors of concern that should increase vigilance for co-workers and supervisors include sadness, depression, threats, menacing or erratic behavior, aggressive outbursts, references to weaponry, verbal abuse, inability to handle criticism, hypersensitivity to perceived slights, and offensive commentary or jokes referring to violence.

Type I
Offender has no relationship with the victim or workplace establishment. In these incidents, the motive most often is robbery or another type of crime.

Type II
Offender currently receives services from the workplace, often as a customer, client, patient, student, or other type of consumer.

Type III
Offender is either a current or former employee who is acting out toward co-workers, managers, or supervisors.

Type IV
Offender is not employed at the workplace, but has a personal relationship with an employee. Often, these incidents are due to domestic disagreements between an employee and the offender.

Roland: One thread that is consistent with respect to workplace violence is training. When workplace violence happens to you, how are you going to REACT? If you have received no training, you will end up in a state of denial and be unable to react. If you have been trained, you will see choices and opportunities to help eliminate or mitigate the situation. Below is the FBI’s views on training.

The disparities in responses between those who have and those who have not been trained to deal with these types of stressful situations. Both groups initially react by being startled and experiencing fear. Then, they begin to diverge: the untrained panic, whereas the trained experience controllable anxiety. From that point on, the trained group members begin to recall what they should do next, prepare, and act. The untrained, however, experience disbelief that eventually leads to denial and, ultimately, helplessness. Knowing how differently the groups will react based solely on training underscores the importance of advanced preparation.

Posted in Awareness Training, Roland Ouellette, Victimization Research, Workplace Violence | No Comments »

Triggering Agents for Workplace Violence

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Workplace Violence -- angry man at workWhat are the common triggering agents for workplace violence? The State of Connecticut, in their Violence in the Workplace: Policy and Procedures Manual (June 2007) , outline the most common triggering agents associated with workplace violence.

There are multiple issues that may trigger workplace violence. These tend to fall into two categories: employee issues and workplace issues. In terms of employee issues, the following events are potential “triggers.”

1. Negative performance review,
2. Unwelcome change in role due to performance or reorganization issue,
3. Criticism of performance,
4. Conflict with co-worker or supervisor,
5. Personal stress outside the workplace,
6. Increased workload or pressure (e.g. deadlines, projects, etc.)

In addition, certain workplace [issues] may contribute to an atmosphere which makes the occurrence of workplace violence more likely. These include:

1. No clearly defined rules of conduct,
2. Lack of training,
3. Inadequate hiring practices/screening of potential employees,
4. Insufficient supervision,
5. Lack of discipline or inconsistent discipline in workplace,
6. No or inadequate employee support systems,
7. Failure to address incidents as they occur,
8. Overly authoritarian management style.

Experts agree that three key elements that may prevent a potentially violent situation from occurring are:

– recognizing the early warning signs (often there is a change in a persons behavior preceding an episode of violence),
– recognizing issues or events that may trigger violence, and
– intervening early to prevent a violent incident from occurring

SAM Training is specifically designed to address the three key elements above. The curriculum takes you through the EARLY WARNING SIGNS, understanding context in combination with the early warning signs and ultimately how to address a potentially violent situation early to defuse and assist a disgruntled/troubled worker. SAM can provide the important training to your personnel to help eliminate workplace violence.

Posted in Human Resource Issues, Roland Ouellette, Workplace Violence | No Comments »

Workplace Violence: What is it?

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Roland Ouellette - Safety Awareness ManagementFor any organization, workplace violence can be a significant economic liability and a public relations disaster waiting to happen. Unless proper steps, including a detailed risk assessment, are taken and documented to ensure the safety of your employees, you could be faced with lawsuits, potential loss of life and a damaged corporate/organizational image.

According to the Society of Human Resource Management, nearly 2/3s of Human Resource professionals state that there has been some type of workplace violence at their corporation/organization within the last three years. The distribution of workplace violence incidents is as follows:

- 54% : Inappropriate language
- 13% : Verbal abuse
- 7% : Verbal threats of violence
- 6% : Sexual harassment
- 5% : Burglary
- 4% : Pushing/Shoving
- 3% : Fistfight
- 2% : Threatening emails received by employees
- 2% : Stalking
- 1% : Robbery (holdup)
- 1% : Threatening emails send by employees
- 1% : Bomb threat

Each year, approximately 2 million workers are victims of workplace violence in the United States, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Yet, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 9% of businesses reporting an incident had no program or policy in place to address workplace violence. Employers should understand the potential risks of a (violent) event in the workplace, develop a plan to respond to such an event, and know how to mitigate the loss they might experience.

SAM has a training program to address Workplace Violence. Once you have completed your internal risk assessment, please contact SAM. We will assist you in addressing any training needs to make sure your workplace violence policy is in compliance.

Posted in Announcement, Awareness Training, Human Resource Issues, Non-verbal Communication, Physical Technique, Roland Ouellette, Workplace Violence | No Comments »

Training is a very effective means to reduce the risk of suit

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Roland Ouellette - Safety Awareness ManagementI came across this story last week in the local paper The Day. Unfortunately, it is another tragic story about a young kid taking his life — the speculation is that the young man was bullied in school. His father and grandparents are very upset by his death and are suing the town and school district for negligence relating to the bullying incident. Here are the facts as reported by The Day.

The father of a high school student who committed suicide this year has filed a notice that he intends to sue the town and the school district for negligence in a bullying incident that he alleges led his son to take his life.

Jose Mendes, the father of Joseph Mendes, alleges his son’s suicide was caused by “negligence and carelessness” of the town, the Board of Education and employees of Montville public schools.

The law firm of Polito and Quinn LLC, of Waterford, filed notice of the intent to sue with the town clerk’s office last week. The notice alleges that the town and school district did not promptly intervene in the bullying incident and failed to properly investigate a Jan. 20 altercation between Joseph Mendes and other students that occurred eight days before Mendes’ death. (bold face type added by the author)

The school district improperly suspended Mendes for that altercation, the lawsuit said.

Joseph Mendes, 15, a 10th-grade student, died on Jan. 28 of a gunshot wound to the head, the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said. He had recently moved to the school district and posts on the social networking website Facebook attributed his death to bullying.

“Joseph was a very special young man. His father and grandparents have serious concerns about the circumstances which led to his death,” attorney Bert J. Polito Jr. said. “They’ve asked us to help them seek out answers to their questions.”

The school system has maintained that other factors played a part in Joseph Mendes’ suicide. Resident State Trooper Sgt. Michael Collins said that the case has been sent to the state police Eastern District Major Crime Squad. Collins said that nothing was found to indicate that bullying was a factor in Joseph Mendes’ death.

Police Lt. Leonard Bunnell Sr. declined comment Tuesday, as did Superintendent of Schools Pamela Aubin and Mayor Joseph Jaskiewicz.

Betty Allard, Joseph Mendes’ grandmother, also declined comment. Joseph was living with Allard and her husband, Paul, at the time of his death.

The notice also alleges that the school failed to investigate Joseph Mendes’ condition and symptoms of distress and did not promptly notify the parents of all involved in the bullying incident.

It also said the town and school district failed to properly execute an anti-bullying policy and failed to train its employees how to protect students who are being bullied. (bold face type added by the author)

An event on bullying awareness is scheduled for Friday from 4 to 9 p.m. at the Mohegan Fire Company in Uncasville. The event will also serve as a benefit to raise money for a headstone for Joseph Mendes, Betty Allard said.

We implore you and your administration to take the proper steps to eliminate this behavior. Bullying is a disease in our schools that needs to be addressed with professional intervention. We have developed a training program at SAM which addresses bullying in our schools and trains teachers and administration on all aspects of bullying. I know there is plenty of economic stress in the school system, but can you really afford to wait?

Posted in Bullying, Non-verbal Communication, Roland Ouellette | No Comments »

Address bullying with SAM

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Roland Ouellette - Safety Awareness ManagementMost States are taking legislative action to address bullying in schools. Our society has finally reached the bullying “crossroads” and has decided to address bullying with legislation. The legislation requires schools to take certain steps to mitigate bullying in schools. The legislation usually includes the following points: 1) Definition of bullying, 2) A point person or coordinator, 3) Reporting and the appropriate metrics, 4) Who at the school needs to be trained to recognize and deal with bullying, and 5) Training.

Such training may include, but not be limited to, (1) developmentally appropriate strategies to prevent bullying among students in school and outside of the school setting, (2) developmentally appropriate strategies for immediate and effective interventions to stop bullying, (3) information regarding the interaction and relationship between students committing acts of bullying, students against whom such acts of bullying are directed and witnesses of such acts of bullying, and (4) research findings on bullying, such as information about the types of students who have been shown to be at-risk for bullying in the school setting.

SAM is designed to address the TRAINING portion of the legislation (developed and passed) to take on the BULLYING disease. Here is a brief description of SAM and how the curriculum speaks to the points above.

(1) Developmentally appropriate strategies to prevent bullying among students in school and outside of the school setting.

SAM teaches students, teachers and administrators how to: (A) be proactive about personal safety and to minimize the risk of being a victim, (B) practice and master skills to use when threatened, (C) manage fear and anxiety during stressful situations, and (D) evaluate threats and possible options.

(2) Developmentally appropriate strategies for immediate and effective interventions to stop bullying.

SAM teaches students, teaches and administrators how to: (A) use non-verbal and verbal communication and paralanguage, (B) not show fear during the confrontation, (C) set appropriate limits and consequences that are applicable to school policies and procedures.

(3) Information regarding the interaction and relationship between students committing acts of bullying, students against whom such acts of bullying are directed and witnesses of such acts of bullying.

SAM teaches students, teachers and administrators how to: (A) step in and assist the student who is being bullied.

(4) Research findings on bullying, such as information about the types of students who have been shown to be at-risk for bullying in the school setting.

SAM teaches students, teachers and administrators on: (A) the difference between male and female bullies, (B) the difference between male and female victims, (C) the effects of being bullied, (D) how to manage physical bullying such as holds, physical assaults with personal weapons including knives and guns, and (E) what to do if there is an active shooter on campus or in a classroom.

SAM is a Training Program that addresses bullying in our schools. Please let us know if you think this type of Training Program would be beneficial in mitigating bullying in your educational environment.

Posted in Active Shooter, Awareness Training, Bullying, Disarming, Non-verbal Communication, Physical Technique, Roland Ouellette, Study or Survey | No Comments »

Bullying is Aggressive Behavior

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Roland Ouellette - Safety Awareness ManagementBullying –physical, verbal and emotional — is present in schools, colleges, workplaces, healthcare facilities, law enforcement agencies, correctional agencies, state and federal agencies. All workplaces experience some form of bullying. Bullying is aggressive behavior.

MOAB — Management of Aggressive Behavior — founded by Roland W. Ouellette in 1983 to address and reduce violence in the workplace, has been used worldwide and proven effective in many diverse settings. Since its inception, more than 5,000 agencies have benefited from MOAB’s highly researched, state-of-the-art programs. SAM is rooted in the same sound principles of the highly acclaimed Management of Aggressive Behavior (MOAB®) program.

In 2006, the resulting tragedy of the Amish school shootings in Pennsylvania prompted Roland to turn his expertise specifically to the education community. Together with his daughter Ellen van Olden, former Vice President of MOAB® Training International and current President of SAM Training, LLC, created SAM Training, LLC to address the rising threat of violence, bulling, and active shooter risk directed at educators in classrooms and on campuses nationwide.

Violence in our schools is a modern reality that requires serious attention. SAM’s comprehensive curriculum stresses preparedness and prevention, empowering individuals with excellent verbal, nonverbal and physical skills to effectively respond to threatening and potentially violent encounters.

Training Objectives: The SAM program will teach individuals the techniques to resolve bulling conflicts decisively and diplomatically regardless of age, size or strength, providing valuable skills and strategies to prevent and diffuse aggressive behavior.
Participants in SAM’s program will:

Learn how to identify a potential problem by recognizing the warning signs and know when an attack is imminent;

Prepare mentally to allow for appropriate and automatic responses during various situations;

Gain an understanding of the rules of personal space and how they affect the ability to react;

Learn how to manage anxiety and fear to respond more calmly in stressful situations;

Learn how to effectively use empathetic listening skills to help reduce an individual’s anxiety and aggression; and

Learn how to manage the stages of conflict, anxiety as well as verbal and physical aggression.

Aggressive behavior can be effectively dealt with using the principles subscribed to by SAM. To find out more information on how SAM and the SAM Programs can help your school, please visit our website.

Posted in Active Shooter, Bullying, Disarming, Non-verbal Communication, Physical Technique, Roland Ouellette | No Comments »

How do you define BULLYING?

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Roland Ouellette - Safety Awareness ManagementWe had a very informative meeting yesterday and are pleased to hear that more and more resources are being dedicated to the issue of BULLYING. From the legislators to the teachers/students, bullying has moved from a “rite of passage” to ASSAULT. Fortunately, we live in a society that doesn’t permit assault and it is against the law to commit assault on another human being. All that said, it is important that we all are defining bullying properly. Here is a definition of bullying that is becoming commonplace:

Bullying means the repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic communication (cyberbullying) or a physical act or gesture directed at another student attending school in the same school district that:

1. Causes physical or emotional harm to such student or damage to such student’s property;
2. Places such student in reasonable fear of harm to himself or herself or of damage to his or her property;
3. Creates a hostile environment at school for such student;
4. Infringes on the rights of such student at school;
5. Susbstantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.

Bullying is based on any actual or perceived differentiating characteristics, such as:

1. Religion
2. Race and color
3. Ancestry or national orgin
4. Gender, sexual orientation, gender indentity and expression
5. Socioeconomic or academic status
6. Physical appearance
7. Physical development or sensory disability.

Bullying is significant chronic disease in our society. It can lead to a significant loss of self esteem or possibly one’s life. We believe the SAM can make a difference around this very disturbing trend. SAM is specifically designed to address bullying: recognizing, descalation and physical restraint, if needed. Please take a look at the SAM website and give us a call if you believe it can help you with bullying in your school community.

Posted in Bullying, Non-verbal Communication, Roland Ouellette | No Comments »

Bully Beware

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Roland Ouellette
Bullies should be aware and understand that all people have a breaking point. Their is a good chance, after a period of assults, that the child or adult that is bullied will snap and turn on the bully. The video below captures this moment where the bullied turns on the bully. It is also important to recognize that when the bullied snaps they often go into a fit of rage and have total disregard for the bully. The situation can become very combative, with the bullied losing touch with reality as they extract their “pound of flesh.”

Eleven years later there is still a debate about how much bullying played into what happened in Columbine. Many of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold’s writings indicated that they were ostracized and bullied at school. Unfortunately, their breaking point led to the deaths of thirteen people.

On September 8, 2010, New York State Govenor David Paterson signed the “Dignity for All Students Act”, which specifically bans harassment and discrimination against student based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, race, color, weight, national origin, ethnicity, religion or disability, and requires New York State school districts to adopt anti-bullying policies. During the signing, the Govener recalled how he hit a classmate in the face with a metal lunch box after he repeatedly bullied him. He was suspended from recess for a month. Bullies beware — everyone has a breaking point.

At SAM Training, we are focused on the verbal and non-verbal cues associated with aggressive behavior. It is important for teachers and staff to understand body language and behavioral cues that suggest the beginning of aggressive behavior. SAM Training will help you to better recognize cues and provide solutions to address and ultimately diffuse aggressive behavior.

VIDEO: Chubby Kid Bodyslams Bully

Posted in Bullying, Non-verbal Communication, Physical Technique, Roland Ouellette | No Comments »

Assault is Assault, Regardless of Age

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Roland Ouellette: How to deal with aggressive behaviour at any ageTeachers and police will confront and deal with violent students regardless of age. This is important to know given that teachers are the victims of over 400,000 violent crimes each year (according to SERAPH, a specialized consulting and training firm). One of the biggest reasons for so many violent crimes in our schools is because of the culture in the United States. As a result of our culture and the way we are wired, approximately 20% of the population uses aggression as their primary form of communication. This aggressive behavior provides an outlet for them to express their desires, needs, wants, and frustrations. It is not the last but the first tool they turn to. (Dr. Turner, Violence in Medical Settings).

Assault is assault, regardless of age. The youngest person to kill a police officer was seven years old while the oldest was ninety-seven. In the video below, an eight year old boy in Lakeland, Florida was pepper sprayed by the police to prevent serious physical injury to teachers. Serious physical injury is classified as “Deadly Physical Force.” The police used reasonable physical force, which is the least amount of force they could use to rectify the situation. Frankly, they would have been justified in using a baton or taser in this case.

Video: Eight year old was pepper sprayed to diffuse his aggressive behavior in school

Teachers need to be able to manage aggressive behavior before the police arrive. SAM’s comprehensive training program provides educators, administrators, security personnel and students with the proper tools and knowledge to effectively address aggressive behavior, like bullying, and/or violent situations. It may be more important to understand non-verbal cues versus listening to verbal dialogue. SAM can help you better understand non-verbal communication.

Posted in Active Shooter, Bullying, Non-verbal Communication, Roland Ouellette, School Shooting | No Comments »

Bullying has to be STOPPED

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Roland OuelletteBullying has to be stopped in our schools and extra curricular activities. It is part of our culture (until recently) that has been treated as a “right of passage” as opposed to a “personal assult.” Now that it has been properly characterized it is time to address the disease with a cure.

Jon Carmichael committed suicide, in the barn, at his home in Cleburne, Texas. The acts of bullying were typical enough — Jon being thrown into a trash can on a weekly basis and head flushed in a toilet several times. The same sort of bullying that has been going on since the start of time, although manifesting itself differently given the environment and time period.

Once again the school district, The Joshua Independent School District, is raising its hands and saying we are aware of bullying in our school and we are addressing it. Well, the lawsuit filed by the Charmichael family will make sure that the administration and teachers hear it loud and clear — bullying is a disease and it needs to be addressed and treated with “real” training and solutions. The family’s attorney said that the family’s goal in issuing the lawsuit is to educate. “On the human level, the family wants what every family wants when they come to me in these kind of cases. They want to make sure it doesn’t happen to someone else.”

The tipping point for Jon was a heinous act of bullying, whereby he was stripped nude, tied up and again placed into a trashcan. The act of bullying was taped and uploaded to YouTube. Really . . . and the staff, teachers and fellow students have been trained to recognize bullying and properly address it?

SAM was created to help address Jon and all the other future victims of aggressive behavior in our school systems. It is time to make our school systems safer and a more secure, comfortable place for education and learning.

Posted in Bullying, Non-verbal Communication, Physical Technique, Roland Ouellette | No Comments »