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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of West Virginia

Thursday, January 17, 2013

U.S. Attorney's Office To Host School Safety Summit On February 6th

Educators and law enforcement to address practical steps against school violence; Pulitzer-prize nominated expert and author to speak

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - United States Attorney Booth Goodwin today announced that the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of West Virginia will host a Summit on West Virginia Safe Schools on Wednesday, February 6, 2013, beginning at 9 a.m. at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. The summit will bring together educators and law enforcement officials, who will jointly consider practical steps to prevent and prepare for school violence. Dr. James Phares, West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, will speak at the summit's morning session.

The summit will feature a morning address by internationally recognized scholar, author, and speaker Lt. Col. Dave Grossman (ret.), an expert on the causes of mass shootings and school violence. Lt. Col. Grossman is a former nominee for the Pulitzer Prize in non-fiction for his work on the psychology of violence.

In addition, three panels of experts from around West Virginia will address issues in school safety. Following the summit, participants will develop a written set of school safety recommendations for the education and law enforcement communities.

"The goal of this summit is to answer two very practical questions," said U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin. "First, how do we identify potentially violent situations in schools and handle them before something bad happens? Second, what should our schools and first responders be doing to prepare in case the unthinkable comes to pass?"

"The tragedy last month at Sandy Hook Elementary was heartbreaking, and it's still very much on all our minds," Goodwin continued. "This summit is a chance to develop specific steps that we can take, right now, at the local level, to prevent school violence and to be as prepared as possible. I invite anyone who's interested in safer schools to join us on February 6 and participate in the discussion."

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman (ret.), a former West Point psychology professor and U.S. Army Ranger, is a leading expert in the field of human aggression and the causes of violence and violent crime. He has presented papers before the national conventions of the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Lt. Col. Grossman has been involved in the response to numerous school shootings, including the tragedies at Columbine and Virginia Tech. He will speak to summit participants at 9:30 a.m.

Three panels of experts from around West Virginia will address an array of issues related to school violence. The first panel will focus on how to identify and address potentially violent situations. The second will concentrate on planning by schools and by law enforcement agencies for what to do if violence occurs. The third will emphasize the perspectives of those on the front lines of these issues: principals, teachers, counselors, law enforcement officers, and students.

Participants in the three panel discussions will include Mark Manchin, Executive Director of the West Virginia School Building Authority, as well as representatives of the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, and the West Virginia State Police.

The Summit on West Virginia Safe Schools is being co-sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety and the West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services.   The Summit is also being held in partnership with the West Virginia State Police, the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Center for Professional Development, the West Virginia School Building Authority, and Cabell County Schools. 

The February 6th summit is open to educators and law enforcement personnel, and to the public. Individuals interested in attending may register at Seating is limited, so those interested are encouraged to register well in advance.

For questions regarding the Safe Schools Summit, please call Deanna Eder at: 304-345-2200 or 800-659-8726. 

Updated January 7, 2015