Sheriff’s Office, Schools Partner to Promote School Safety
In-depth training provides tools to Sonoma County public and private schools to prepare for and mitigate violence at school
Nearly 300 public and private school educators attended an in-depth school safety training co-hosted by the Sonoma County Office of Education and Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office on Friday, Aug. 3.
Attendees included individuals from nearly every aspect of the educational system, including bus drivers, after-school providers, teachers, superintendents and more.
Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office and Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) organized two, four-hour long sessions to meet the desire of schools to do everything possible to prevent a tragic act of school violence—and to be prepared to respond quickly and effectively to such a situation should it occur.
Attendees said they left feeling empowered with concrete ways to respond and save lives.
“To me it’s important to know how to keep staff and kids safe, and this training was so much more than I expected,” said Mardi Hinton, school board president for Piner Olivet Union School District. Kim Kern, a principal at Piner-Olivet Charter School in the same school district, added, “It was so concise, comprehensive, and effective, it felt like 16 hours of training in four.”
Along with local fire agencies and police departments, the Sheriff’s Office gave educators concrete information including:
- Steps to take to prepare staff and secure facilities
- How to plan a response to an active shooter or other violent situation
- How to work with law enforcement and rescuers in the event of a crisis
- How to save lives and minimize injuries during a crisis.
As well, a survivor of the Las Vegas mass shooting shared a first-person account of how such a violent event unfolds. St. Joseph Memorial Hospital staff closed the training by presenting Stop the Bleed, which provides bystanders with knowledge and skills to provide critical initial response to stop life-threatening bleeding in emergency situations.
“SCOE appreciates the opportunity to partner with the Sheriff’s Office and public safety agencies from around the county to give schools the tools they need to be prepared,” said County Superintendent Steve Herrington. “Thanks to this effort, our schools will be starting the school year confident that they have the information and support needed to keep students safe.”
This training was part of a multi-tiered effort by SCOE to promote safe schools and healthy students. In addition, SCOE continues to provide training to and support to schools around student wellness and mental health. In April, SCOE hosted a Challenges of Youth conference to address bullying, social media, suicide prevention, student trauma, and more. This October, a special training for school leaders will focus on students’ social-emotional health and safety.
“Active shooter situations are terrifying for those involved. Understanding what to expect and how to respond keeps everyone in our community safer,” said Sheriff Rob Giordano. “We’ve worked hard with SCOE to help protect some of our most vulnerable community members - kids.”
While this training was specifically for educators, the Sheriff’s Office recommended that families and community members stay informed by signing up for emergency alerts at www.nixle.com and following the the Sheriff’s Office on Facebook (@sonoma.sheriff).