The Safety Mindset Gap

Guest blog post by Lisa Barnett (@atomic_lisa), CEO of Atomic Learning and Versifit Technologies.

I’m a parent.  As I’m sure any of you who also have children or grandchildren can relate, there is nothing in this world that matters more to me than my daughter.

So here’s something that causes a knot in my stomach. 

Almost half1 of young adults are, or will be, the victim of a violent crime – half!  Here’s another sobering stat (especially as the parent of a daughter) – every two minutes2, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. 

Final reality check – I know (because she tells me) that my daughter is surrounded by individuals who are using drugs every day.  And even if she continues to make smart choices, she is still at risk of the behaviors that people in an altered state can exhibit.

So on the flip side of this, college and high school campuses are investing heavily in emergency blue lights, security officers, electronic locks, and more.  In fact, by 2017, annual spending on school security systems is expected to reach $4.9 billion3. Clearly, our school leaders are taking this problem on full force and investing in ways to increase the safety of the school environment.

So where is the gap?

The above are facts, but this next thought is purely my opinion.  However, it is based on being a woman who can admit that I can sometimes be naïve about the world around me, and on being a parent who sees first-hand how teens and young adults see themselves as invincible, my opinion is that, while it is important to provide safety improvements within the actual environments that students spend their time, those measures aren’t addressing a fundamental issue. 

Students (and adults, for that matter), need to learn how to take ownership of their own safety and learn how to establish a safety mindset. 

Without that mindset, are all of the safety investments almost creating a false sense of security?

What is a safety mindset? 

Great question, and one I hadn’t really internalized until recently.  Within my professional role at Atomic Learning, I recently had the opportunity be part of a joint effort with a former U.S. Navy Seal and a Personal Safety Expert in a partnership to develop short, yet powerful online training courses called Real World Safety. The entire focus of Real World Safety is to help individuals take on a safety mindset in their daily lives.

I’ve gone through all of the courses, and I had to really reflect on some of the mistakes I didn’t realize I make every single day.  Probably the most practical thing I've come to realize is that nearly every time I walked from a store to my car, I was putting myself at a much higher risk.  Why?  Because I would pull out my phone and start looking at it, meaning I was making myself completely vulnerable to anyone who would choose to exploit my total state of oblivion.

I’ve become passionate about this topic of a safety mindset.  If we can help just one person at a time lower those statistics of assault and violent crime, then our world is improving one step at a time. 

If you do nothing else after reading this, start paying attention when you walk to your car. 

And, if you really want to improve your own safety—and that of your community—take a quick moment to watch this brief video:

Interested in learning more about providing Real World Safety at your school?
Visit or contact a solutions consultant at 866.259.6890.  

1. Working to Keep Schools and Communities Safe, U.S. Department of Education.
2. How often does sexual assault occur?, RAINN
3. Report: School Security System Integration Market to Reach $4.9B By 2017, Campus Safety Magazine

About Lisa Barnett
As Chief Executive Officer of Atomic Learning and Versifit Technologies, Lisa Barnett provides the overall strategic direction, leadership, and oversight to ensure a focus on delivering solutions that meet key market needs today and into the future.  At the same time, Lisa has a deep commitment to the overall education space and providing meaningful solutions that allow empowered learning and ah-ha moments.

Share this post