The Threat Within

School Safety and Security Series

You can’t lock out a threat that’s already inside your school. However, you can prepare and train. Traditional security models focus on hardening schools, but behavior pattern recognition can potentially stop threats before they occur. And, if the unthinkable happens, effective training will help you act quickly and decisively.

For these five lessons in our Christian School Safety and Security Audiocast series, Brotherhood Mutual pairs up with security professional Vaughn Baker, president of Strategos International. Each lesson builds upon the last. Before listening, download the supplemental notes. At the bottom of the page we've included additional resources for your team.  

The information provided in this audiocast series and by our guest speaker is intended to be helpful, but does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your area. Event participants are encouraged to regularly consult with a local attorney as part of your risk management program.


Lesson 1: Normalcy Bias

This first lesson sets the stage for this series as Vaughn explains the phenomenon of normalcy bias -  an instinctual reaction most people (untrained) have to a threat or crisis. Your brain rationalizes away the threat, which affects your ability to respond to the crisis.

Supplemental Notes | Transcript

Lesson 2: Reaction vs Response - Stages of the Untrained vs Trained

Hear how reactions of normalcy bias, disbelief, denial, panic, and helplessness can be replaced with crisis acceptance, awareness, recall of tasks and training, and urgent response. 

Supplemental Notes | Transcript

Lesson 3: Non-Linear Response / 3 Out Assessment Model

Vaughn talks about how to use a non-linear response model that focuses on making the decision to either Lock Out or Take Out or Get Out based on your location in relation to the threat and environment you find yourself in when you accept the crisis. This also is called a 3 Out Assessment.

Supplemental Notes | Transcript

Lesson 4: Psychology of an Attacker

Learn about the motivations behind ideological and traditional attackers. Vaughn also discusses many of the risk behavior indicators (see supplemental notes for all 16). Training can help your faculty and staff recognize a student may be struggling and to say something if they see something. Intervention is key to preventing an attack.

Supplemental Notes | Transcript

Lesson 5: What Your School Can Do Today

Vaughn shares practical takeaways for schools to implement to enhance their safety and security measures. These key practices often begin with changing processes. Download the supplemental notes for a list of training options.

Supplemental Notes | Transcript


Vaughn Baker

About Vaughn Baker

Vaughn is president of Strategos International, an innovative leader in security training, consulting, and executive protection services.

Vaughn has 20 years of experience in law enforcement including patrol, investigation, SWAT, and special operations. He has trained thousands of school, health care, government, law enforcement, and military personnel in security practices. Vaughn has also developed specialized intruder response curriculum for schools and churches, including some of the nation’s leading training on behavior pattern recognition.

Vaughn also is the director of security for a church of more than 7,500 in the Kansas City area, a position he has held for more than a decade.


Originally aired 2019. Rebroadcast 2022.