By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG
Cleveland City Schools is planning an event next week to talk about the district’s school safety measures and answer questions from the community. The Community Meeting on School Safety event …
Cleveland City Schools is planning an event next week to talk about the district’s school safety measures and answer questions from the community.
The Community Meeting on School Safety event is scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Cleveland High School Commons (cafeteria).
It is expected to feature remarks from Dr. Russell Dyer, director of Cleveland City Schools, along with a panel discussion with leaders from the school system and the Cleveland Police Department.
“A lot of people have questions about school safety right now,” Dyer said. “That is understandable, given events like the one in (Parkland) Florida. I think people want reassurance that we have a plan in place and that we are practicing what we preach.”
The event he referred to was the deadly school shooting which took place at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Feb. 14. A lone gunman entered the school and fired on students and educators, ultimately killing 17.
In light of this attack, school districts nationwide have been taking a closer look at ways they can increase security — and hopefully prevent such horrific events from occurring in the future.
The city school system is no different. Dyer said safety is always a priority for the district, but its staff are taking a closer look at the procedures in place now and ways those procedures can be improved.
In their discussion, the panelists will touch on everything from the security of the school buildings to students’ mental health. He added he is especially excited for the public to hear more about Capturing Kids’ Hearts, a training program which helps teachers “build positive relationships with students and open lines of communication.”
“That is a big focus of what I’m going to be talking about,” said Dyer. “School safety is not all about putting locks on buildings. It’s about getting to know our students.” the school system
Panelists for the event include:
• Dawn Robinson, chair of the Cleveland Board of Education;
• Mark Gibson, chief of the Cleveland Police Department;
• Doug Moore, director of student services for the school system;
• Joy Hudson, director of special populations for the school system;
• Hal Taylor, director of operations for the school system;
• Kellye Bender, supervisor of elementary and counseling for the school system;
• Scotty Hernandez, school safety specialist for the school system;
• Eric Phillips, teacher at Cleveland High School; and
• Bobby Ruth, sergeant with the Cleveland Police Department.
Panelists will be answering questions submitted prior to the event. The public can submit questions via an online form available at www.ClevelandSchools.org.
Students with CHSLive, the school's broadcast journalism program, will broadcast the meeting online for those unable to attend in person. This broadcast can be viewed at www.CHSLive.com.
Dyer said this event is just one way the district is looking to improve school safety. He said he is in the process of meeting with the city schools’ principals to take a closer look at the safety measures needed for specific schools.
He noted the upcoming event will not focus on these specifics. However, it will focus on the goals for the district as a whole.
“We have a very comprehensive safety plan in place, and we do everything we can to make sure staff know what to do in the event of an emergency,” said Dyer. “It is constantly changing and shifting, however, because we are learning new ways to protect our schools.”
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