Clarion University will host a Safe Schools Summit from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 3.
Keynote speakers are Kristina Anderson, survivor of the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech, and Murrysville Police Chief Thomas Seefeld, incident commander at the stabbing attack at Franklin Regional School District. Mary Margaret Kerr, Ed.D., University of Pittsburgh, will be a guest speaker. She is author of "School Crisis Prevention and Intervention" and is co-founder of STAR-Center for Suicide.
"Incidents of mass violence have been on a steady increase in recent years," said Dr. Susanne Fenske, vice president of student affairs at Clarion. "As a forward-thinking institution of higher education, Clarion University chooses to be a thought leader in this arena."
Planning and preparation, in conjunction with mental health components, incident response, and a view of the survivor's perspective, offers attendees valuable insight to gain a broader understanding of the complexity of these acts of violence. It will also provide ideas for preparation/training for high-risk groups, tools to help identify possible warning behaviors, and suggestions for survivor support that can be vital after a critical incident.
"As a law enforcement professional with nearly 20 years in the field, I see this summit as a unique opportunity to examine different perspectives that can contribute to combating this national hazard," said Jason Hendershot, Clarion University Police chief. "After responding to the Western Psych Shooting in Pittsburgh in 2012, I learned firsthand that critical incident response training for law enforcement is not enough to adequately prepare for these types of threats.
Afternoon breakout sessions will benefit: K-12 teachers and administrators, police and law enforcement, first responders, mental health professionals and behavioral intervention teams. The speakers, along with campus and community experts, will lead the breakout sessions.
"By pulling together experts from around the campus in the areas of education, law enforcement, mental health and behavioral intervention, we are proud to offer a cohesive perspective to professionals who want to tackle this problem," Fenske said. "This event offers us the opportunity to open the door to meaningful conversations about the topic of keeping not only our university safe, but other universities and K-12 schools as well. Through this event, Clarion University hopes to make movement toward awareness and prevention in the areas of mental health issues and incident response."
Registration for the summit is $10 and includes lunch. For information or to register, visit www.clarion.edu/safeschools.
Anderson will also present a 6 p.m. lecture in Gemmell MPR that is free and open to the public.