State education department hosts school safety summit | #schoolsaftey

Most educators will tell you that before you can educate, a student must feel safe in their environment. That was part of the discussion at the state’s Education Department’s School Safety Summit on Thursday.

“From the western part of the state out to Long Island,” said Senior Advisor For Student Support Services Kathleen DeCataldo, “many people came in teams, so they brought school resource officers, local law enforcement.”

What You Need To Know

  • NYSED hosts it’s second School Safety Summit to provide information and resources to school personnel from across the state
  • Topics touched on include lockdown drills and equity as a preventative approach to school safety
  • Experts say educators need to think beyond the physical element when addressing school safety 

All were there for training, information and resources on topics related to emergency response planning and creating safe and supportive learning environments in school districts.

“We did a presentation on lockdown drills 101,” DeCataldo said. “How to do those in a trauma-informed manner.”

Another topic was equity as a preventative approach to school safety.

“When we talk about school safety, we have to move beyond just this physical element,” said Edward Fergus, an expert in urban education and policy.

The Rutgers University professor spoke to the large group about issues surrounding racial, ethnic, linguistic and gender disparities in education.

“We have kids for a very short amount of time to really nurture their development,” he said. “And part of what they’re getting to practice with us is their identities.”

While not always at the forefront when school safety is discussed, Fergus says developing an understanding of these issues is a critical component.

“As adults, we are pouring in ideas about identity,” he said. “And we have to be conscious about how we create caring and supportive environments so they can do that well.”

It’s something state education leaders are hoping this group takes back to their respective school districts.

“I want them them to be thinking about all the different ways they need to work on making their schools a safe haven for their students and staff and their school families,” DeCataldo said.

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