Forum Will Address School Safety Following Newtown Tragedy

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EWING—To assist districts as they assess security measures in the wake of last month’s tragedy in Connecticut, the New Jersey School Boards Association will sponsor a program, “Safe and Secure Schools: Perspectives after Newtown.”

The forum – to be held from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Friday, Jan. 18 at The College of New Jersey in Ewing – will include panel discussions on Safety and Security at the School Building Level and State School Security Procedures and Requirements. It will begin with a keynote address by a nationally recognized expert on school climate.

“Following the Newtown incident, the NJSBA executive staff met in an emergency meeting to determine how our Association could effectively meet the needs of local school boards on school-security issues that would undoubtedly arise in their communities,” said Dr. Lawrence Feinsod, NJSBA’s executive director.

“Reports indicate that standard school safety procedures, including security drills and limited access, were in place in the Connecticut school, as they are in New Jersey’s public schools,” Feinsod said. “Therefore, we determined that local school districts would need information and guidance on both current requirements and additional strategies to ensure student health and safety.”

The forum will feature two panel discussions.

Panelists for “Looking Forward: State School Security Procedures and Requirements” will include:

  • Ronald Susswein, assistant attorney general for the State of New Jersey
  • Anthony Bland, state coordinator of the Office of School Preparedness and Emergency Planning in the New Jersey Department of Education
  • Raymond J. Hayducka, president of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, and South Brunswick Township police chief

Looking Forward: Safety and Security at the School Building Level” will feature:

  • Dr. Christopher Manno, chief education officer for the Burlington Township Public Schools
  • Christopher Brown, director of security, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick
  • Michael Wanko, principal at the Piscataway High School and author of Safe Schools: Crisis Prevention and Response
  • Marty Kalbach, director of the  New Jersey School Boards Association Insurance Group

The forum will open with a keynote address, “The Essential Connection between a Safe and Secure School Climate and Students’ Educational and Life Success,” by Dr. Maurice J. Elias of Rutgers University.  A nationally recognized expert in community and preventive psychology and school intervention, Dr. Elias worked with 250 schools for five years as director of New Jersey’s Developing Safe and Civil Schools Initiative.  He serves as director of clinical training in the university’s Department of Psychology; director of the Rutgers Social and Emotional Learning Laboratory, and director of the Collaborative, Rutgers’ Center for Community-Based Research, Service, and Public Scholarship.

The program will be held in the Kendall Hall Theatre of The College of New Jersey, 2000 Pennington Road, Ewing. School district staff, parents and other concerned members of the school community are invited to attend the free program.

School district staff, parents and other concerned members of the school community are invited to attend. The program is free, but attendees must complete the online registration form and indicate how many people will attend with their group.

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