Dr. Brueggemann’s web site includes the following:
The relevant text which is highlighted states:
“It is their (the insurance carrier’s) considered view that Ground Monitors should not be rearmed.”
This is simply false and easily documented. There is a video of the meeting in which the representative of New York State Insurance Reciprocal addressed this issue which can be viewed at https://youtu.be/zg3avEzGjl4 . If you move the pointer to 1:12;54 you will hear the representative for the insurance carrier say regarding arming the school monitors:
“Whether they do or don’t, is a question for the community and the school board, and as a risk manager, I’m going (to) lean either way.“
It is important to note that the insurance representative expressed concerns about the potential liability the school would take on in arming the monitors and he emphasize his concern that the monitors be thoroughly screened and that the school would need to insure that there was on-going training to insure their readiness. It is absolutely crystal clear, however, that he was careful to avoid committing to taking a position and that he left that decision to “the community.”
What I find particularly disturbing is that the screen shot above was taken from Dr. Brueggermann’s Facebook page yesterday (April 20, 2019). This is important because Dr. Brueggemann has been advised about this issue and, as will be documented below, is fully aware of what the insurance representative said, and yet he has failed to amend his Facebook page to correct his erroneous representation of what the insurance representative said.
My Odd History With Dr. Brueggemann
Earlier this year I contacted John Brueggemann to interview him about his candidacy for the Saratoga Springs School Board. As I often do, in order for him to feel comfortable, I told him that our conversation would be off the record.
I honored that commitment and readers of this blog will note that until this post his name barely appeared on my blog site let alone any discussion of what he shared with me in our phone conversation.
As he has sent me an email (see below) drawing from our phone conversation I no longer feel bound to keep that conversation confidential.
In our phone conversation, Dr. Brueggemann had told me that the representative of the school’s insurance carrier had recommended the school both utilize the services of two School Resource Officers (SRO) and that the school district not allow the monitors to carry fire arms.
I had no reason not to believe Dr. Brueggemann so in the first of the four posts I wrote on the issue of arming monitors I repeated what he had told me.
I subsequently viewed the video of the meeting where the insurance representative spoke (see above) and realized that what Dr. Brueggemann had told me was, to be generous, not accurate. As previously noted, while the insurance representative did recommend the two SROs, he had been very careful not to take a position on the issue of arming monitors one way or the other.
So on March 22nd I published a correction under the title “Two Corrections To Guns Or No Guns Part #1”. The post was very brief and simply stated that the insurance rep had not recommended disarming the monitors. Again, in order to honor my commitment to Dr. Brueggermann, I attributed the source of my misinformation only to a “candidate for the school board.” No name, not even a gender.
On March 25th Dr. Brueggemann emailed me (see complete email below).
He asserted that he had become the targets of internet trolls because of my blog. I was stunned, in light of the care that I had taken to avoid referencing him as my source of misinformation
He went on to chastise me for the correction I had published (a correction made necessary by his misrepresentations to me) for my apparent failure to understand the obvious. He wrote:
“We do not have armed grounds monitors and they (the insurance carrier) do not recommend rearming them. That is a simple fact, which I tried to convey to you, that is somehow obscured in all the words you have written.”
Dr. Brueggemann seems unable to grasp the distinction between the insurance representative declining to recommend arming the monitors (which he did) as opposed to the representative taking a position opposed to arming them (which he didn’t).
As Dr. Brueggemann is a professor of sociology and, based on my conversations with him, an intelligent and well read individual, I am unable to understand this.
In fact his email contains a fragment of the transcript from the meeting at which the insurance representative spoke and it contains the rep’s refusal to commit on how the school system should decide on arming the monitors. How he can send me this transcript with the rep’s actual words and continue to assert that the rep holds a position on whether or not to arm the monitors is truly perplexing.
The following is the unedited email that Dr. Brueggemann sent me:
Subject: RE: First Post Re Saratoga School District Armed Staff Issues
From: John Brueggemann
To: John Kaufmann
Date: March 25, 2019
John, I was very surprised by your second post regarding NYSIR. NYSIR presented the BOE with a series of recommendations. Rearming the grounds monitors was not one of them. We do not have armed grounds monitors and they do not recommend rearming them. That is a simple fact, which I tried to convey to you, that is somehow obscured in all the words you have written.
During the 30 plus minutes I spent speaking with you I mentioned the importance of expert supervision, training related to working with young people and special needs students, and ongoing active shooter training. So far, you haven’t mentioned any of these things. Nor the fact that no real experts recommend arming security guards without those conditions.
Below is a transcription of the BOE meeting when the NYSIR official spoke and then your words characterizing what he said?[sic] Do you really think you gave an accurate summary? I do not. Indeed, I think it is highly misleading. I don’t care about the names I’m being called on social media based on your blog. Trolls will be trolls. But I believe you’ve mislead the public on a key issue. I’m glad you provided the link. Anyone who watches it will know. But I’m afraid most people won’t go to the trouble.
“The NYSIR perspective would be looking at it also from a liability standpoint and the different perspectives. To me, it’s a governance issue, if the Board makes a decision to disarm these security guards. You have these full-time School Resource Officers armed in the building, plus you still have your security personnel that are in the building. Right? They are there to provide assistance and like you say they are highly trained ex-law enforcement professionals in your building. So there are a number of them who can provide assistance in the event of an emergency situation.
If the school district were to say ‘yes, we need to have them armed,’ I would want to have, as the assistant chief said, top notch requirements in place for them in everything that they do when it comes to weapons controls and weapons procedures to the point where the full-time law enforcement people have in place.
From a liability perspective there is a lot that can go wrong and the school district in hiring those individuals is taking on that liability. So, from a risk management perspective, that is how I would look at it.
Whether they do or don’t, is a question for the community and the school board, and as a risk manager, I’m going lean either way. [JK:My emphasis] You don’t have them, are you still safe? You look pretty good with a school resource officer and the trained staff that you have in place right now that understand what their role and responsibility is. And like I say, when we did the assessment, we were outside the school at the beginning of the school day for the morning arrivals and there were school staff everywhere doing a fantastic job, controlling the grounds, covering a high impact time of day. You know, a lot of bodies outside that are potential targets.
So that is the perspective that NYSIR would bring to it, looking at it from a liability perspective, saying if you’re going to do it, there are a lot of controls you need to have in place, you know, at the high school.”
[JK: This is from my correction post which he included in his email] One candidate for the School Board told me that the risk of arming the monitors was such that at the recent community meeting on safety, the District’s insurance agency had recommended against it. This turned out not to be true. The insurance representative instead told the audience “I can lean either way…..It’s a governance issue.” Here is a link to the video of the meeting. The insurance representative can be heard discussing the issue between 1:11:33 and 1:13:33