Research Report: School Safety

June 16, 2004 1 min read
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Serious Game

Want to brush up on your school security skills without spending the time and resources needed for a full-scale emergency drill?

Now you can, according to the creators of EduCaution!, the safe-schools game.

An idea born in the wake of the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School, EduCaution! is a board game designed to encourage teachers, administrators, education support professionals, school crisis teams, and others to think and work together to keep a school safe, according to its creator, the Somerset/Hunterdon Business and Education Partnership. The nonprofit organization is located in Somerville, N.J.

The EduCaution! game board is a schematic drawing of a generic school. The crisis scenarios are based on realistic situations, such as school shootings, and the solutions available to the players are the best the game’s creators say they found in their research.

The various scenarios move players around the board and present them with problems along the way.

Players have no control over where they end up, which is an element of the game intended to reflect the randomness of crises.

The simulated events “happen anywhere, anytime, and can delay, alter, or derail progress toward a particular goal,” the creators write in a description of the game.

The game ends when each player in a group has completed six scenarios, after which each player must make his or her way to the faculty parking lot by rolling the die and moving along hallways without regard to scenarios or hall-pass squares.

Although the organization that created the game primarily serves public schools in New Jersey’s Hunterdon and Somerset counties, Executive Director Joni K. Svoboda says she’s hoping to find a broader market for EduCaution!

The game costs $50 each for up to five copies for schools enrolled as members of the Somerset/Hunterdon Business and Education Partnership, and $75 each—up to five copies—for other schools, agencies, and businesses. The organization also conducts on-site training sessions for the game for an additional fee. For more information, send an e-mail to

Darcia Harris Bowman

A version of this article appeared in the June 16, 2004 edition of Education Week


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