School Safety Expert Witness On School Safety Cases Part 2

In EVALUATING AN EXPERT WITNESS FOR SCHOOL SAFETY CASES, school safety expert witness Michael Dorn writes:

Introduction There has been a dramatic increase in the number of people who work in the field of school safety, security and emergency preparedness since the tragic Columbine High School attack on April 20, 1999. Many practitioners are highly skilled and qualified. Some experts are properly qualified to work in some areas, but have no relevant background in other areas. This has led to a significant problem with school safety experts who work outside their areas of expertise. As with other disciplines, school safety expert witnesses who work outside their specialties can have a significant impact on court cases. For example, school safety experts have incurred financial liability for allegedly working beyond their areas of expertise as was the case in the deadly Red Lake Reservation school shooting.

Problems in addition to experts working beyond their field of expertise should be considered. For example, in a civil action brought against a public school system by the parents of a student murdered on campus, the school system settled the case shortly after they withdrew one of their expert witnesses prior to his deposition. I had been asked by plaintiff’s counsel to evaluate the defense’s expert witness to help counsel prepare to depose him. Though this expert witness had been interviewed by national media organizations, had many years of experience as a school safety consultant, had served previously as an expert witness in school safety cases, and had what could at first glance appear to be seemingly impressive credentials, I had questions about his suitability to serve as an expert witness.