SCOE, Sheriff's Office Host Safe Schools Conference
More than 200 educators from Sonoma County attended an in-depth school safety conference on Thursday, Sept. 26. The event was hosted by the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE), in partnership with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.
Attendees included individuals from nearly every aspect of the educational system, including teachers, school office staff, school resource officers, superintendents, and more. The training covered multiple facets of school safety, from how to foster social-emotional learning and positive school climate as prevention measures, to how to work with law enforcement in the event of an active shooter, to how to save lives in an emergency.
SCOE hosted the conference as a follow-up to a School Violence Preparedness & Response training that was coordinated along with the Sheriff’s Office last fall. More than 300 educators attended the 2018 training over the course of two sessions, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.
“More than ever, we are hearing from educators that they wish to have the tools and resources to be prepared to respond to an act of violence on their campus,” said Steve Herrington, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools. “We hope that this training can both help schools build safe, positive school cultures, as well as save lives and minimize harm should the unthinkable occur.”
“As a parent, I understand that school safety weighs heavily on the minds of students, parents, and educators. We expect our kids to be safe at school. Our training helps educators have the tools needed to keep kids as safe as possible if an active shooter situation occurs,” said Sheriff Mark Essick.
This year’s day-long conference began with introductions by Herrington, District Attorney Jill Ravitch, and Assistant Sheriff Jim Naugle.
The Sheriff’s Office then led a session on emergency planning and response, which included information from a number of county agencies. A session on school site safety featured the perspectives of school resource officers from several Sonoma County schools. Gary Sigrist, a nationally known speaker, consultant, author, and expert on emergency preparedness, then provided information on social-emotional safety and how positive school climate can be used to prevent acts of violence. The conference concluded with a presentation on Stop the Bleed, which provides educators with life-saving techniques they can use in the event of a violent attack on campus.
A representative from St. Joseph's Health was on hand to provide each school site that attended with at least one trauma kit, which can be used to help staff "stop the bleed."
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, socoalert.org, and following the Sheriff’s Office on Facebook (@sonoma.sheriff).
Community members can empower themselves by watching the six-minute video about how to survive an active shooter.