Dr. John Brueggemann Candidate for School Board, Has A Problem With Facts

 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 reps 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. 

Sincerely, John

“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

 

 

15 thoughts on “Dr. John Brueggemann Candidate for School Board, Has A Problem With Facts”

  1. HOLY COW.

    Did anyone else catch this in the email from Brueggemann to JK?

    “Nor the fact that no real experts recommend arming security guards ”

    Is John Brueggemann saying that John Catone and our city police department aren’t real security experts?

    I really hope not, for his sake.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d like to see John Catone’s background in security assessment, and any professional training he underwent to design security protocols for large facilities.

      Being a cop doesn’t make you an expert in things that cops don’t do, and don’t receive training in.

      The professional group that examined our schools did not advise rearming these individuals or hiring professional security.

      If Catone is right and we are less safe now, wouldn’t the findings from professionals in risk assessment have been rearm immediately or hire private security?

      In my experience when an expert I’ve hired thinks something should be done, they put it in a report and say so when asked.

      Like

      1. Can you show me where the insurance company said to not re-arm the grounds monitors? I believe John clearly showed where he said he wasn’t taking a stance on it, that it was up to the school district and community to decide that.

        Like

      2. Professionals in security assessment?

        You mean an insurance adjuster don’t you?

        Yea, your right, let’s take the insurance reps word over our police.

        Like

      3. I said they didn’t advise rearming the grounds monitors. They didn’t.

        NYSIR didn’t take a position on doing that.

        But they didn’t advise adding more armed personnel anywhere outside of the additional SRO.

        Adding more armed people doesn’t match the recommendation.

        Like

  2. It’s important to remember that the school assessment was done by an insurance company. Not a company whose expertise lies in security, but a company whose expertise lies in cost/benefit analysis/risk.
    Also worth noting, Catone is not the only law enforcement professional to have weighed in on this issue. Others have as well and all have come to the same conclusion as Catone. As far as their credentials and qualifications for assessing the risk; not only are they rigorously trained in active shooter situations but these are the very people who would be called in the event of an emergency, that is the very definition of “being a cop” as the writer above noted and exactly “what they do”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Being rigorously trained for responding to something isn’t the same as knowing about preventing it. EMTs respond to a lot of traffic accidents but they don’t ask ambulance drivers to do traffic analysis. Firemen respond to fires. They don’t tell you where to put firewalls in your buildings.

      If so many people are scornful of NYSIR and their abilities why are we even talking about what Dr. B says they said?

      Anyway, as someone who does a lot of math and science in my professional life I would never imagine on my best day that I would wager against the judgement of an insurance company.

      Of all the people to bet against on safety.

      I can’t imagine being that arrogant.

      An insurance company employs hundreds of data scientists and actuaries. They have a procedural knowledge for approaching complex problems that spans generations. You can guarantee they’ve hired outside consultants with appropriate expertise like former secret service managers to consult on their analysis framework for active shooter situations.

      If people whose business model depends on knowing if something is unsafe tell you things are good, it’s a good bet that they did more work than you could ever imagine to come to that conclusion.

      If they didn’t their business wouldn’t work.

      Like

  3. No_more_fake_dems please read Kaufman’s post again to gain a better understanding of exactly what the insurance company said. Also keep in mind your assessment about the insurance company being a “business”. They most certainly are. They are in the business of making money and “hedging bets”. They are NOT in the business of ensuring safety. If an assailant were to enter your home, to harm your family, you are calling 911. Not 1-800-GEICO.

    Like

    1. Hey Common,

      That was great!
      And some of us would like to have the option to defend ourselves.
      (While we wait for the swat team.)

      The rest of us will be holed up in the attic.
      (Big smile here.)

      -JC

      Like

    2. Hm, if an assessment company is a business, and it gets it wrong, it doesn’t get paid. Or I guess it does, but then it loses a lot of money and then probably won’t get paid again.

      If a cop is not a business, and gets it wrong, it still gets paid. So the cop can say whatever he wants, as long as there isn’t body cam footage I guess, and be ok. (In some places, even if there IS body cam footage, but thankfully that doesn’t happen a lot around here on account of our demographics)

      And if a cop moonlights as a security guard for the school while carrying his gun under the radar, he gets paid twice!

      Like

      1. Skeptical, In what universe does an insurance company NOT get paid? In what reality is an insurance company losing massive amounts of money? Insurance is risk assessment analysis, which means they are willing to bet on the chances of a mass shooting situation being low, and statistically they would be correct. Parents however, don’t want to “hedge bets” on their children’s lives even when the percentage is low. The “Cop” you mentioned, like the insurance adjuster, still gets “paid” but again, the difference lies in the sacrifice. In the event of an emergency, the Insurance Adjuster sits by the phone and waits for the potential law suits to start rolling in. The Law Enforcement Professional puts their own life at risk, entering an active assailant situation to save the lives of others. In this case, children. And he doesn’t think twice about his “body cam footage” while doing so.

        Like

      2. If the insurance company gets it wrong, they don’t get paid. They lose the money. I think the property insurance industry lost about 80B last year from the Chinese hoax that is climate change.

        If a cop gets it wrong? Well, he will probably be put on ‘administrative leave’ until we have found sufficient evidence that the kid posted a picture of a marijuana on his facebook, and then blame the kid for being shot. Was probably going to grow up to be a thug anyway.

        Like

  4. Skeptical Citizen or just anti-law enforcement? Hard to tell.
    There is value and merit in both chosen professions (law enforcement or insurance agent) but at the end of the day, only one of those professions puts their actual life on the line. The other, as I stated earlier, hedges bets on the value of everyone else’s life. As a parent, I put my trust in trained law enforcement over insurance adjuster when it comes to my child’s, or any child’s life Every. Single. Time.

    Like

    1. Not anti-law enforcement, I just think there is a right place relying on law enforcement, and a right place for not. A quick internet search for “Elementary school arrest” or “Police shoot teenager’ or ‘Officer beat student’ show what happens when we militarize schools and communities in the name of public safety. Why do we need armed guards roaming the halls of our schools? Who else does that (other than Florida I guess?). Actuaries spend decades checking facts to make recommendations. When kids are injured due to school negligence, schools get sued, and that gets passed on to the insurance carrier – they don’t want that, and they spend a lot of time and effort figuring out how to avoid risk. Police get a benefit of the doubt, keeping us safe from those dangerous watchlisted kids that post weird stuff on social media.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s