Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Over 300 Attend School Violence Training in Wallkill, New York

On November 22, 2006 at Wallkill Senior High School in Wallkill, NY, over 300 teachers, principals, administrators and law enforcement personnel participated in a training event focused on school violence prevention.  The event was coordinated by the Wallkill Central School District under the leadership of Superintendent Anthony P. Argulewicz and Assistant Superintendents Kevin Castle and William J. Hecht.  Complimenting this collaboration was the Mid-Hudson Teacher Center which enhances teaching as a profession by responding to the needs of over 13,000 educators in Dutchess, Ulster and Orange counties.  Director Ralph Flood and Assistant Director Joe Pesavento, Jr. represented the Mid-Hudson Teacher Center at the event.

In addition to the educational leaders, Lt. Egidio F. Tinti of the Kingston Police Department, who heads 24 members of the Ulster County, New York SWAT team, directed the emergency response team which was represented by the following law enforcement agencies:
  • Kingston Police
  • New Paltz Police
  • Ulster County Sheriff
  • Town of Ulster Police
  • Rosendale Police
  • Town of Saugerties Police
  • Town of Shandaken Police

As the featured speaker, I was privileged to present "School Security, Character Education, Emergency Planning, Crisis Management, Lockdowns and Evacuations" to this receptive assembly. School violence demands a culture of preparedness and collaboration with the entire community with pillars of vigilance and leadership. The presentation emphasized:

  • The Culture of Violence
  • A Crisis of Leadership
  • U.S. Secret Service Safe School Initiative
  • Shattered Communities
  • The Gang Mentality
  • Terrorism
  • Alcohol and Drug Concerns
  • Inappropriate Gun Access
  • Internet Intelligence
  • Understanding Our Roles
  • Character Education
  • Bullying Prevention
  • Safety Policies and Procedures
  • Security Vulnerability Assessments
  • Crisis Management
  • Lockdown Procedures
  • Evacuations
  • Violence Prevention Resources
and concluded with a photo tribute to American military personnel who are in harms way and making great personal sacrifices for the treasures of freedom and democracy.

After the presentation, the SWAT team provided a realistic lockdown drill scenario at John G. Borden Middle School in Wallkill.  This drill simulated intrusion into the school by an active shooter.  It was preceded by a comprehensive briefing to the teachers, staff and administrators.  The drill gave all of its attendees a sense of the seriousness of preparedness and security awareness as well as the importance of maintaining control through leadership in situations that would be extremely chaotic and stressful.  The SWAT team leader, Officer Blaine Smith of the Kingston Police Department, assisted with the drill and its debriefing by handling questions and answers at its conclusion with School Superintendent Anthony Argulewicz.

The hope of America is its educators and law enforcement personnel working collaboratively to transform the culture of violence by taking back our country; community by community, school by school, classroom by classroom and student by student.

Visit the Wallkill Central Schools homepage:

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