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GOODWIN UNVEILS REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS ON SAFE SCHOOLS

U.S. Attorney also debuts video for young people on the dangers of prescription drug abuse 

On June 11, 2013, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin unveiled a comprehensive report and a set of recommendations resulting from the Summit on West Virginia Safe Schools that was held in February. The report was officially announced during the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Healthy Schools 2013 KidStrong Conference held today at the Charleston Civic Center. 

Goodwin convened the statewide Summit on Feb 6, 2013. It brought together educators, law enforcement professionals, parents, mental health professionals, government officials and students to exchange ideas and develop practical steps to prevent and prepare for school violence. 

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said, “Last December’s horrific mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, was an unthinkable national tragedy. It was also an urgent call to action on the issue of school safety.”

“This report summarizes the Summit’s most critical lessons. It begins with an immediate agenda for West Virginia safe schools: ten things that we must get to work on right now if we want to make our schools safer,” Goodwin said.

“We owe it to our children and our educators to do everything in our power to keep our schools safe. Anything less is unacceptable,” Goodwin continued.

The report features an agenda of ten items for preparedness and response that should be implemented as soon as possible: 1) Establish a single, locked point of entry for every school, where a school official can see and identify would-be visitors before they enter. 2) Install classroom doors that lock quickly from inside the classroom – or keep doors locked all the time. 3) Install emergency buttons that sound a school-wide alarm and automatically call the police. 4) Explore the use of shatter-resistant materials on glass windows and door panels in schools (a requirement that the West Virginia School Building Authority recently adopted for all new schools built in the state). 5) Establish a Prevention Resource Officer Corps to place more law enforcement officers---including retired police officers and military veterans---in schools as prevention resource officers. 6) Bring together local police and educators to develop closer ties between law enforcement and schools. 7) Conduct active-shooter drills in every school at least annually, with full participation from law enforcement. 8) Develop a statewide program to identify potentially violent students early and intervene immediately. 9) Introduce a proven anti-bullying program in every school. 10) Implement a communication system to immediately disseminate information about violent or disruptive incidents to parents, other schools and child care facilities.  

The report also features a section that focuses on preventing violence. The report’s prevention strategies include developing a concerted effort to address bullying; identifying and intervening with troubled children early; placing a greater emphasis on school climate; developing a system to comprehensively collect information about students with behavior issues; and expanding the number and role of school counselors and prevention resource officers.    

In addition to unveiling the school safety report, Goodwin debuted a newly created video on prescription drug abuse. The video, developed through a partnership between the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia and the Huntington Police Department, and funded by a grant from the West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services, is designed as an educational tool for young people to illustrate the harmful effects of abusing prescription drugs.

 

 

 

 


 

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U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF W.VA. HOSTS STATEWIDE SCHOOL SAFETY SUMMIT

Summit brings together educators, law enforcement, mental health professionals, and community members; seeks practical, local steps against school violence

On February 6, 2013, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin was joined by more than 400 participants from a wide range of professions and government agencies for A Summit on West Virginia Safe Schools.  Goodwin convened the daylong summit to develop practical steps to prevent and prepare for school violence. The summit was held at the state’s Culture Center in Charleston.

"Getting people from all sides of the problem into the same room to discuss solutions is the essential first step toward making our schools safer,” said Goodwin. “This summit brought together law enforcement officials, educators, parents, mental health professionals, and students to exchange ideas and help forge the kind of lasting partnerships that produce real results. We have a tough challenge ahead of us, but the work we did, and the work we’re going to keep on doing, holds lifesaving promise.”

West Virginia native and current Sandy Hook, Connecticut resident Lisa Petrovich sat down with U.S. Attorney Goodwin for a one-on-one conversation about the Sandy Hook tragedy. She offered her personal recollections of several school administrators and teachers who were killed during the December 14, 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, where Petrovich was once president of the Parent Teacher Association.  Petrovich told attendees that she hopes Americans do not forget Sandy Hook.  “Something positive has to happen out of this tragedy,” she said.   

West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. James B. Phares, in remarks welcoming summit participants, reiterated the summit’s core message: solutions to school violence must involve more than just the education community and will require cooperation among a wide range of professions and public officials.

The summit’s featured guest speaker was internationally recognized scholar and author Lt. Col. Dave Grossman (ret.). “Children are more likely to die by school violence than every other possible cause of death in schools combined,” Lt. Col. Grossman told the audience. Grossman called for more to be done to protect against school violence. He compared school violence to fatal school fires, which once were commonplace but have been largely eliminated through the universal adoption of fire alarms, fire hydrants and extinguishers, and fire-resistant building materials. 

Lt. Col. Grossman is an expert on the causes of mass shootings and school violence, as well as a former West Point psychology professor and U.S. Army Ranger.

The summit also featured three panel discussions on school violence. The first of these panels concentrated on how to plan for major incidents of school violence and how to respond if they occur. Panel participants included Maj. Gen. James Hoyer of the West Virginia National Guard; Mark Manchin, Executive Director of the West Virginia School Building Authority; David Hoge, Director of the West Virginia Homeland Security State Administrative Agency; Captain David Lee, Commandant of the West Virginia State Police Academy; and Cabell County Schools Safety Manager Tim Stewart.   

The second panel, moderated by Steve Ruby, Counsel to United States Attorney Booth Goodwin, discussed ways to prevent violent attacks from happening in the first place. Panel participants included South Charleston, W.Va. psychologist George Damous; Don Chapman, assistant director of the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Healthy Schools; Deputy Scott Jefferson, Wood County Sheriff’s Deputy and Williamstown High School Prevention Resource Officer; Jackie Payne, Director of the West Virginia Division of Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health; and Dr. Christine Schimmel, an assistant professor in the counseling department at West Virginia University’s College of Education and Human Services.  

The final panel, led by U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, highlighted the perspectives of individuals on the front lines in our schools: principals, teachers, school staff, and students.  Panelists were Dr. Jerry Lake, Cabell County Schools; teachers Cari Pauley (Lincoln County Schools) and Susan Brossman (Ohio County Schools); Ashley Donohew, a student at Ripley High School and a U.S. Attorney’s Ambassador for Justice; and Eugenie Taylor, president of the Parent Teacher Organization at Overbrook Elementary School in Kanawha County.   

The Summit on West Virginia Safe Schools was co-sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety and the West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services.   The summit was also held in partnership with the West Virginia State Police, the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Center for Professional Development, the West Virginia School Building Authority, and Cabell County Schools. 

Photographs from West Virginia Safe Schools Summit provided courtesy of the U.S. Attorney's Office/Lisa Jennings:

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U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin provides opening remarks during the West Virginia Safe Schools Summit

 

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West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. James B. Phares


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U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin joined by West Virginia native and current Sandy Hook, Connecticut resident Lisa Petrovich for a one-on-one interview

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Featured guest speaker Lt. Col. Dave Grossman talks to conference attendees

 

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(left to right) Panelists David Hoge, director of the West Virginia Homeland Security State Administrative Agency, Capt. David Lee Commandant of the West Virginia State Police Academy and Maj. Gen. James Hoyer of the W.Va. National Guard took part in the summit's preparedness and response panel discussion

 

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(left to right) U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin with Dr. Mark Manchin, executive director of the West Virginia School Building Authority and Tim Stewart, safety manager for Cabell County Schools

 

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(left to right) Panelists David Hoge, Capt. David Lee, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, Dr. Mark Manchin, and Tim Stewart

 

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Steve Ruby (center), Counsel to U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, moderates a panel discussion along with (left to right) Jackie Payne, director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health for DHHR, Don Chapman, representing the WV Dept. of Education's Office of Healthy Schools and Deputy Scott Jefferson, Prevention Resource Officer, Wood County Sheriff's Department. Also, Dr. Christine Schimmel (second from right) from West Virginia University's College of Education and Human Resources and George Damous (far right) with Damous Psychological Services, Inc. take part in the panel discussion

 

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(left to right) Panelists Eugenie Taylor, Parent Techer Organization president for Overbrook Elementary, Ripley High School student and a U.S. Attorney’s Ambassador for Justice Ashley Donohew, and Susan Brossman, teacher, Ohio County Schools

 

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(left to right) Panelists Eugenie Taylor, Ashley Donohew, Susan Grossman,U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, Cari Pauley and Dr. Jerry Lake take part in the Voices from the Front Lines final panel discussion which concluded the safe schools summit

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