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    Fitness Center Safety and Supervision

    Fitness centers at K-12 schools and institutions keep students healthy and active, but they can also create the potential for serious injuries. Read this Insights piece for findings from a review of UE's fitness center claims and  safety and supervision best practices.
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    Firearms and Weapons Policies

    Every institution should have a policy that directly addresses the possession and use of firearms and weapons on campus.  This blog provides suggested guidelines for drafting or revising a firearms and weapons policy.
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    K-12 Public Schools Large Loss Report 2019

    The K-12 Public Schools Large Loss Report 2019 summarizes major damage awards and settlements of $250,000 or more that affected public K-12 schools in 2017 and 2018. The cases include a $36.1 million jury award in a school bus incident, a $15.7 million settlement in a sex abuse lawsuit, and a $1.1 million award for an athletic injury.
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    Equestrian Activities at School: Managing the Risks

    Many K-12 and higher education institutions offer horseback riding programs. Although these programs provide multiple benefits, the inherently dangerous nature of the activity – including the relatively high risk of head injuries – means that schools must take special care to implement and enforce procedures to manage the risks and maximize student safety.
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    Tree Assessment and Removal

    Trees are an important and beautiful part of many college campuses, but they can damage property or cause personal injury. Liability arises when institutions are aware of sick or damaged trees in high risk areas and take no action or are unaware of risks because they do not conduct inspections.
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    Using Security Cameras and Closed Circuit TV on Campus

    Installing security cameras and closed circuit television (CCTV) systems can raise privacy rights issues for students, employees, and visitors at educational institutions. These essential security tools can help institutions meet their legal duty to use reasonable care to protect the physical safety of those on campus. Surveillance systems can also deter crime and gather evidence to convict perpetrators.
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    Large Loss Report 2019

    The Large Loss Report 2019 summarizes major damage awards and settlements of more than $250,000 that affected schools, colleges, and universities in 2018. The most frequent and costliest cases involved sexual abuse claims, many of which had multimillion-dollar settlements in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Educational institutions can use this report to assess their risk management practices and insurance coverage.
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    Securing Classroom Doors to Stop Active Shooters

    Many K-12 schools are reviewing and improving the security of classrooms and doors to help prevent school shootings. Important steps include installing interior locks, properly securing doors with windows, consulting appropriate experts, and documenting the process followed in deciding which measures to implement.
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    Increased Risks and Costs of Arming Educators

    Recent school shootings have renewed the conversation about arming K-12 educators. Some schools have armed teachers in place as authorized by the state, county, or school board. Others are weighing the benefits and dangers. Arming teachers or other staff can disrupt the educational atmosphere, even when the intention is to improve safety. When deciding whether to arm staff, schools should consider the heightened costs, risks, and liability.
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    Webinar: Q&A With an Expert on Preventing School Shootings

    Recent school shootings have prompted schools, colleges, and universities to examine their practices for preventing these tragedies. This special question and answer session features leading legal and threat assessment experts Jeff Nolan and Marisa Randazzo, who answered questions regarding best practices for school threat assessment teams, emerging trends in school shootings, and liability issues surrounding an institution’s prevention efforts.

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    Heightened Vigilance Required in Study Abroad Risk Management

    Following an appeals court ruling upholding a $41.5 million jury verdict against the school in a study abroad matter, UE reminds schools that increased vigilance about sound risk practices related to school-sponsored overseas travel is critical. This Insights blog suggest steps schools and colleges can take to protect their students and institutions.
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    #MeToo in Higher Ed: Sexual Misconduct Allegations

    Since 2017, many higher education institutions have felt the effects of the #MeToo movement in the form of social media posts claiming that the poster or someone else experienced sexual harassment or assault at the school or by a school employee. This blog offers advice for responding to these allegations.
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    K-12 Public Schools Large Loss Report 2018

    The Large Loss Report 2018 summarizes major damage awards and settlements of $250,000 or more that affected public K-12 schools in 2017. The cases include a $36.1 million jury award in a school bus incident and a $3.58 million settlement in a sex abuse case.
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    Large Loss Report 2018

    The Large Loss Report 2018 summarizes major damage awards and settlements of $250,000 or more that affected schools, colleges, and universities in 2017. The cases include a $10 million jury award to a student who was raped in her on-campus apartment, and a $6.5 million settlement in a gender and sexual orientation lawsuit filed by two university athletic department employees. Institutions can use this report to assess their risk management practices and insurance coverage.
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    Taking Inventory of Your Off-Campus Real Estate

    Review steps conduct a real estate inventory of off-campus properties owned by your institution. Consider planning for property maintenance and additional property purchases. This blog provides tips and considerations for institutions in compiling and maintaining a real estate inventory.
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    Charging Back the Cost of Risk

    This blog addresses considerations for higher education institutions when contemplating whether to charge the costs associated with risk management and claim defense to the responsible campus departments.
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    Excessive Force by Campus Security

    United Educators (UE) claims show that excessive force by campus security can be a significant source of liability for institutions of higher education. This bulletin explores 45 claims UE received from 2011 to 2015 alleging excessive force by campus security. Learn which factors drive excessive force claims, use our recommendations to prompt discussions at your institution, and consider risk management actions.
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    Large Loss Report 2017

    The Large Loss Report 2017 summarizes major damage awards and settlements of $250,000 or more that affected schools, colleges, and universities in 2016. The cases include a record $950,000 jury award in a Title IX sexual assault report case and a $10.5 million settlement for a student who suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was attacked at a pep rally. Institutions can use this report to assess risk management programs.
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    How Are You Responding to Student Opioid Overdoses?

    The U.S. is currently suffering an opioid overdose epidemic. Over 28,000 Americans died in 2014 from opioid overdoses, more than either motor vehicle crashes or firearms. In 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a naloxone nasal spray that can stop or reverse an opioid overdose. Many educational institutions are considering whether to equip their campus security with this overdose-reversing nasal spray. Read Insights to learn more about naloxone use.
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    Preventing and Preparing for School Shootings

    All acts of gun violence are tragic, but few events shock the nation like school shootings. Educational institutions are understandably seeking ways to prevent these attacks. While school shootings are difficult to predict, seven promising practices for prevention emerge from national studies. Read this Insights blog to learn more.
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    Good Signage = Good Risk Management

    Signs are an important risk management tool, warning of hidden dangers to prevent injuries and reduce liability. Specifically, signs can help schools meet their duty of care to warn of foreseeable risks. Some UE claims alleged that a sign could have prevented injury. Learn how to identify which facilities need warning signs and specifications warning signs should follow to communicate the intended message.
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    Pokémon GO: Security Concerns for Educational Institutions

    Educational institutions face security concerns as a result of the popularity of Pokémon GO and similar augmented reality games, in which a real-world environment is supplemented by computer-generated images and sound. Campuses are likely to experience distracted unaffiliated individuals (as well as students and staff) coming on their grounds while playing. Read this Insights blog to learn steps institutions can take to manage risks.
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    Theater Production Safety

    Each year, United Educators receives a number of claims arising from theater productions. Falls from stages, injuries from props, and fires are just some of the perils. Yet, with proper planning, your institution can enhance theater production safety.
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    Hoverboard Policies

    Hoverboards, the most popular holiday gift of 2015, are arriving at schools and colleges across the country. United Educators members have asked us whether hoverboards—also called self-balancing scooters—should be banned at educational institutions.
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    Swimming Pool Safety

    A review of recent UE claims shows that swimming pools are an area of heightened risk for educational institutions. Since 2010, accidents in and around swimming pools have cost UE and its members more than $8 million to defend.
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    Member Spotlight: NJIT Students Develop Job Skills While Managing Risk

    Member Spotlight: NJIT Students Develop Job Skills While Managing Risk

    The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) in Newark has grown from a small technical school to a public university with 10,000 students across 45 acres. Despite this rapid expansion, the Office of Health and Environmental Safety still has only one staff member. When it became difficult to keep up with required safety and regulatory checks, graduate students began to help.   


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    Preventable Claims: Excessive Use of Force by Campus Police

    Many schools and universities have revised policies, increased the use of armed guards, and implemented other security measures to better protect students, faculty, and staff. However, it is critical that institutions understand the inherent risks in working with campus and third-party security forces; the use of excessive force when dealing with a suspected threat can pose an additional safety risk in a volatile situation.

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    Keeping Schools Safe for Learning

    Keeping Schools Safe for Learning

    In the aftermath of mass school shootings like those at Columbine High School and Sandy Hook Elementary School—in addition to frequent smaller attacks, such as the recent fatal shooting at a high school near Portland, Ore.—enhanced security has become the new reality for schools. The challenge facing K-12 administrators is how to keep students safe while maintaining an open and inviting educational environment in which students can learn and, at times, just enjoy being kids.   


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    Managing the Risks of Athlete Concussions in Public Schools

    Managing the Risks of Athlete Concussions in Public Schools

    Concussions are a significant safety concern in youth sports. Schools must take steps to protect student athletes from these dangerous head injuries and to respond appropriately when an injury occurs. From educating staff about concussions to documenting treatment, learn to safeguard your students and your school.
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    Student Housing During Breaks

    If institutions allow students to live in residence halls when school is not in session, issues may occur during these downtimes due to reduced staffing and services on campus. The following tips on identifying students who plan to remain in residence and notifying them about any policy or procedure considerations can help you avoid or manage these risks.
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    Hazards of Defective Windows

    We look through windows every day, but it’s easy to overlook the safety risks they present. When windows fall or shatter, serious injuries such as nerve or soft tissue damage, head trauma, or amputation can result. Injuries can occur from opening or closing the window or pushing on it too hard; sometimes they occur without any contact at all. Be aware of these risks when establishing protocols for window installation, maintenance, and use.
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    Residence Hall Fire Safety Tips

    The Department of Homeland Security estimates that 3,800 housing fires occur at U.S. colleges and universities each year. Cooking causes more than 80 percent of these fires, but only 6 percent of cooking fires spread and cause significant damage. The more serious threat comes from fires that start in student rooms and spread to other parts of the residence hall.
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    Bed Bug Mitigation

    Bed bug infestations can create stress and discomfort for students and others who are affected and are costly and time consuming for educational institutions to mitigate. Unfortunately, infestations can occur despite any preventive measures your school or college has put in place. Follow these key steps to quickly and efficiently address the problem.
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    Keep Commencement Safe

    Commencement is a highly anticipated event for the campus community. However, the occasion can take a negative turn as preoccupied visitors wrestle with traffic and crowds in an unfamiliar setting. Commencement-related claims reported to United Educators (UE) include slips and falls, dehydration, and exhaustion—particularly for elderly visitors and others who need special assistance.
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    Stalking Prevention and Response

    Stalking and related violence against students is a growing concern on many college campuses. According to a recent U.S. Department of Justice study, 14 out of every 1,000 people age 18 or older are victims of stalking every year. The study found that two-thirds of victims received unwanted phone calls and messages, and approximately one-third of victims also received unwanted letters or emails, were the target of rumors, were followed or spied upon, or found the stalker showing up unexpectedly or waiting for him or her.
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    Rooftops and Other Dangerous Places

    Although school and college campuses are generally safe places, certain areas are inherently dangerous. Falls from rooftops, balconies, and upper-floor windows accounted for nearly 60 percent of the total dollars paid by UE and its members and 14 percent of deaths at campus residence halls, according to a recent UE claims study. Fire escapes and rooms storing high-voltage electrical equipment may seem off the beaten track, but they have also been the scene of tragic accidents.
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    Further Resources for Threat Assessment Guide

    Campus Security The following federal, state, and professional organizations issued reports examining campus security in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings. These reports are recommended reading particularly for those institutions located in the states that have issued a report.
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