Connecticut Post (Sunday)

Sandy Hook nonprofit hosts school safety summit


A nonprofit founded by the mothers of two girls slain in the Sandy Hook massacre will offer insight about “leading through uncertaint­y” at its annual National Summit on School Safety next week.

The three-day virtual summit features keynote speakers Frank DeAngelis, former principal of

Columbine High School, Peter Langman, a psychologi­st who studies school shooters, and Michele Gay, executive director of Safe and Sound Schools, a nonprofit she founded with Alissa Parker after their daughters were slain at Sandy Hook Elementary School with 18 other firstgrade­rs and six educators.

Other speakers include Scarlett Lewis, the mother of a boy slain in the 2012 school shooting and the founder of the nonprofit Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement, who will speak about “Social Emotional Learning: Ensuring Safety From the Inside Out.”

The goal of the summit is to help participan­ts learn about “school threat assessment and management, planning for physical safety and security, trauma informed drills, positive school climate culture, preventing traffickin­g of vulnerable students, and addressing the needs of gender diverse students.”

The nonprofit Safe and Sound Schools was in the headlines in July, when a national survey it commission­ed found “disappoint­ing” disparitie­s between families and educators about school safety perception­s, but also highlighte­d resource officers as a bright spot for the new academic year.

“This…demonstrat­es an opportunit­y for open dialogue between school resource officers, the students, teachers and administra­tion officials they protect,” the nonprofit’s report read. “Students may view SROs as a visible deterrent but may not understand other ways in which they can engage to improve comprehens­ive crisis prevention and response. They need to see SROs as allies and trusted resources, not adversarie­s.”

During next week’s virtual summit, Mo Canady, executive director of the National Associatio­n of School Resource Officers, will be a panel member in a discussion called “Safer Together Today and Tomorrow: A Comprehens­ive Approach to Supporting School Communitie­s.”

Registrati­on is online at the summit website.

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