Media Interviews & Presentations
Leslie “Les” Nichols is frequently interviewed by media regionally and nationally as a child safety consultant with expertise in protection and security. Here are some of the most recent publications in which Mr. Nichols appears.
If you’d like to speak with Les about a story you’re researching or invite Mr. Nichols to speak at your event, please use the contact form on this website. If you’re working on a breaking story, please reach Jayme Soulati, Soulati Media, Inc. at 937-232-2529.
In The News
Daily Journal, Jan. 12, 2020
The Lee County (MS) School District recently passed a $15 million bond issue that included $2 million for security upgrades for its 14 schools across the county. The upgrades include a wide range of operational and physical improvements, such as, national-level programs for student threat assessment, visitor management, online safety training for staff and emergency response protocols, as well as locks, cameras, alarms and intrusion-resistant windows. In addition, the bond issue will fund the construction of a 33,000 sq. ft. Career and Technical Center, which will have specialized security needs. Les Nichols, school safety consultant, is assisting with security planning and implementation.
Horse|Network, Dec. 12, 2019
The Inevitability of Sexual Abuse in Horse Sport
No culture or sport is insulated against or exempt from patterns of sexual abuse, says Les Nichols in his interview with Horse Network. Only recently has SafeSport established policies and guideline for one-to-one interaction with coaches, trainers, and minor equestrian athletes. Horse sport is late to the table with its protection of minors against sexual predators, while oddly enough, the HORSES are entirely protected against abuse and have been a long while. Unfortunately, there’s no clear profile of a sexual predator to guard against, says Nichols.
Atlanta Journal Constitution, Sept. 27, 2019
More guns are being found in Georgia schools, particularly in the Atlanta metro region. Authorities say 50 handguns and rifles were confiscated in the 2018-2019 school year from students on campuses. Already this year, six guns have been found. R. Leslie Nichols, a consultant based in LaGrange, helps develop child and youth safety and protection programs across the country. He says getting students more engaged and enforcing fundamental procedures, like routine sweeps, goes a long way to deter students from bringing guns to school.
School Transportation News, July 2019
Safety expert R. Leslie Nichols said that establishing a safety culture should be approached with business objectives, business outputs and performance indicators. “If people don’t want to be diligent, or if they think a safety procedure or policy is inconvenient, and they don’t want to overcome their complacency, there won’t be a culture of safety,” said Nichols, a retired vice president of safety for the Boy’s & Girl’s Clubs of America.
Nichols added, “We must use peer pressure to encourage each other to do the right thing. Sometimes doing the right thing as an adult is knowing your peers have your back.”
School Transportation News, July 30, 2019
STN Expo: Ensuring a Safety Culture in your Organization
The final keynote of the STN EXPO in Reno featured author, speaker and consultant Les Nichols discussing how to make a safe organization and the steps that can be taken to get there. His presentation, “The Complacency Conundrum: Why Organizations Fail to Prevent Tragedies,” addressed promoting a safety culture and implementing a safety change.
Nichols, president of R.L Nichols and Associates, has spent the past 25 years helping youth while he served in organizations that protect children and teens. Nichols shared the classic Aesop’s fable of a scorpion and a frog crossing the river. The frog told the scorpion he would allow him on his back for a ride across the river, but only if the scorpion didn’t sting the frog and cause him to drown. The scorpion said he wouldn’t sting the frog, because he didn’t want to drown, either. But halfway across, the scorpion stung the frog because, as he exclaimed as both sank to the bottom, it was in his nature.
Daily Journal, June 7, 2019
Lee County School District officials took a proactive approach to school safety by hiring R.L. Nichols & Associates to examine safety measures and recommend various improvement. Superintendent Jimmy Weeks shares how the district has implemented various recommendations by R.L. Nichols & Associates.
R. Leslie “Les” Nichols, president of the firm, states, “Criminals make a decision based on some rationale, no one just snaps, so they are going to choose a location where they will succeed. Having well-trained professionals not only serves as an immediate deterrent, it also boosts overall morale, sets a threshold of security as a serious business. They are there as a symbol.”
Daily Journal, March 28, 2018
In Tupelo, Miss., school and community leaders held a School Safety Security Summit and invited R. Leslie “Les” Nichols, a youth protection consultant, to present his expertise to the group. Les Nichols shared a variety of tips with attendees including anticipate threats by focusing on vulnerabilities; make staff competent problem solvers; use communication as a way to manage emergencies; and, much more.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 1, 2018
“On Whole, Teachers Shun Guns”
After the Parkland, Fla. school shooting, Georgia public schools respond to arming teachers with guns. The article presents the complexity of such a decision as teachers are overwhelmed with training as educators and have little to no experience in law enforcement.
R. Leslie “Les” Nichols is a child safety consultant quoted in the story. He addresses a variety of issues surrounding arming teachers with guns including: individual capacity, stress response, whether teachers with guns increase or deter safety, teacher training, and the standard of care throughout the public-school district.
Springfield News-Leader, August 2, 2017
A Springfield, Missouri teacher taught for 25 years despite numerous accusations of sexual harassment. R. Leslie “Les” Nichols, a child safety and security authority, was interviewed for the story, and he said “cases like these are common because it’s hard for others to imagine and secondly, people don’t want to learn the patterns of exploiting children.”
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, June 15, 2012
When R. Leslie “Les” Nichols worked at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, his role was as a child safety advocate to protect children from gaining access by sexual predators, child molesters, and others intending to inflict harm. Today, Les Nichols is using this earned expertise as a child safety consultant to help youth-serving organizations maintain a culture of protection for all children they serve.
This article reviews the six key items that every child protection policy should include. Les Nichols recommends each of them as critical to creating a culture of trust and protection across youth-serving organizations.