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 Home > News & Policies > October 2006

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 10, 2006

Fact Sheet: Conference on School Safety

     Fact sheet Conference on School Safety
     Fact sheet In Focus: Education

"Our schoolchildren should never fear [for] their safety when they enter into a classroom."

- President George W. Bush, 10/3/06

Today's 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:

  • Highlight best practices for making schools safe;
  • Share lessons learned from prior incidents of school violence; and
  • Bring together resources and experts on how to make schools safer and help communities and families recover from school tragedies.

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 I Participants: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Moderator
    • Jeffery Dawsy, Sheriff, Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (Beverly Hills, FL)
    • Delbert S. Elliott, Ph.D., Director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado (Boulder, CO)
    • Thomas Kube, Executive Director and CEO, Council of Educational Facility Planners (Scottsdale, AZ)
    • Georgeann C. Rooney, Threat Assessment Specialist, U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (Arlington, VA)
    • Fred Wegener, Sherriff (Park County, CO)
    • Gregory A. White, U.S. Attorney, Northern District of Ohio (North Ridgeville, OH)

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 II Participants: Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, Moderator
    • Frederick Ellis, Director, Office of Safety & Security, Fairfax County Public Schools (Fairfax, VA)
    • James Moore, Founder and President, WatchDOGS (Springhill, AR)
    • The Honorable Jane Norton, Lieutenant Governor, CO (Denver, CO)
    • Chiarasay E. "Chiara" Perkins, Student, Walton Senior High School and President, Youth Crime Watch of Walton County (DeFuniak Springs, FL)
    • Dr. George Sugai, Professor and Neag Endowed Chair, Neag School of Education University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT)
    • Patrick D. Weil, Principal, Valparaiso High School (Valparaiso, IN)

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.

  • Panel III Participants: Secretary Spellings, Moderator
    • Jamie B. Baggett, Teacher, Stewart County High School (Dover, TN)
    • Betty Alvarez Ham, Founder and President, City Impact (Ventura, CA)
    • Dr. Larry Macaluso, Superintendent, Red Lion School District (Red Lion, PA)
    • Cathy Paine, Special Programs Administrator, Springfield School District (Springfield, OR)
    • Craig Scott, Columbine High School Survivor (Aurora, CO)
    • Marleen Wong, Ph.D., Director of Crisis Counseling and Intervention Services, Los Angeles Unified School District and Director of the Trauma Services Adaptation Center for Schools and Communities (Los Angeles, CA)

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.

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