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"Schools should be places of safety and sanctuary and learning. When that sanctuary is violated, the impact is felt in every American classroom and every American community."
- President Bush, April 17, 2007
A Cover Letter and "Message from the Secretary" summarizing the Conference and stressing the need to develop and practice emergency plans for use in association/school newsletters, Web sites, etc.; as well as the Practical Information on Crisis Planning brochure was e-mailed to all key associations (OCO); post secondary listservs and legislative and chief databases (OCO); and OSDFS listservs and grantees on October 27, 2006. A mass mailing of this letter, message and brochure to all 123,000 K-12 public and private schools was completed on December 15, 2006.
The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools hosted a special School Safety Webcast (November 15, 1-2 p.m. ET) to review emergency planning and suggest how schools can mitigate, prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from a crisis.
In December 2006, the United States Secret Service and United States Department of Education announced the release of the latest tool for educators and communities to improve school safety. The interactive CD-ROM, titled A Safe School and Threat Assessment Experience: Scenarios Exploring the Findings of the Safe School Initiative, is designed to complement the existing Threat Assessment Guide. This CD-ROM, along with a copy of the Guide, was distributed to Superintendents, a small group of core associations, Safe School Centers and School Security Chiefs in January 2007.
The Crisis Planning Guide has been updated and is currently being reassembled with the updated pages/information. It is slated to be distributed to Superintendents, associations, Safe School Centers and School Security Chiefs at the end of April 2007.
"Our schoolchildren should never fear [for] their safety when they enter into a classroom."
- President George W. Bush, 10/3/06
October 10, 2006 -- The Conference On School Safety Will Help Empower Communities To Keep Our Children Safe. Recently, America experienced tragic school shootings in Colorado, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, and threats of violence that locked down or closed schools in many other States. In response, President Bush asked Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Education Secretary Margaret Spellings to convene a meeting of leading experts and stakeholders to discuss how Federal, State, and local governments can work together with schools, communities, and families to help ensure our schools are safe places for students to learn. The conference is taking place at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
The Conference Will Bring Together Experts, Law Enforcement Officials, Schools, Communities, And Families To:
Panel I: Preventing Violence In Schools
Moderated By Attorney General Gonzales, Panel I Will Focus On Examining The Scope Of The School Violence Problem And Discussing Concrete Steps To Prevent Crime And Violence. Law enforcement has already learned many lessons from prior instances of school violence, such as the tragic Columbine shootings. The goal of this "best practices" session is to share practical ideas and solutions from law enforcement and security experts to help safeguard our schools from external and internal threats. The panel discussion will focus specifically on facility security, threat assessments, specialized enforcement expertise, and law enforcement community outreach.
Panel II: Prepared Schools And Communities Are Safer
Moderated By Secretary Spellings, Panel II Will Focus On Steps Schools And Communities Can Take To Help Prevent Future Tragedies. Schools are generally safe places, but they can be made safer. The panel will discuss how school administrators and teachers, parents, students, law enforcement, and community groups can best coordinate their efforts to ensure their schools are prepared and safe. The panel will highlight effective prevention and intervention practices, model programs, and crisis plans that could be adapted by communities and districts.
Panel III: Helping Communities Heal And Recover
Moderated By Secretary Spellings, Panel III Will Focus On The Short- And Long-Term Needs Of Schools And Communities Following Traumatic Events. The immediate goal in helping schools and communities recover from trauma is returning to a normal routine, but schools must also focus on long-term planning, including addressing post-traumatic stress and preparing for high-stress events such as anniversaries. This panel will highlight effective strategies, organizations, and resources that schools and communities can use for additional help in recovering from traumatic events. Mrs. Laura Bush will deliver brief remarks prior to the start of this panel discussion.
Closing Discussion: Working Together To Make Our Schools Safe
Moderated By Attorney General Gonzales And Secretary Spellings, The Closing Discussion Will Be A Summary Discussion Between President Bush And A Representative Group Of Panel Participants Who Will Share Lessons Learned And Concrete Ways Schools And Communities Can Work Together After The Conference.