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Local Superintendents to Talk School Safety at NKU Program

Northern Kentucky University is inviting the campus and community to talk about school safety at a panel on May 1. The College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) is hosting the event to address the number one concern raised by students in a recent class survey.

NKU Professor Dr. Sara Runge begins her intro to education class with a survey that asks her students to share their biggest concerns about becoming a teacher. This semester, close to 50 responses were about student safety and gun violence in schools. Dr. Runge realized the issue was more complex than could be addressed in her class, so she reached out to COEHS Dean Cindy Reed and Teacher Education Department Chair Roland Sintos Coloma.

“After Sara brought this pressing student concern to our attention, we knew it was time to address this issue on a larger scale. This panel discussion is not just for our teacher education students, but for the entire NKU campus and community,” said Dean Reed. “With this panel, we are taking a proactive approach and starting a comprehensive conversation about addressing school safety at all levels of education, from Kindergarten through college.”

NKU Police Chief John Gaffin will take part in the panel along with superintendents from three local school districts. Boone County’s Dr. Randy Poe, Covington Independent’s Dr. Alvin Garrison and Erlanger-Elsmere’s Dr. Kathlyn Burkhardt will discuss what their districts are doing to address school safety and share best practices.

“We conduct numerous emergency response drills at each school throughout the school year, parents are kept informed of concerns through an all-call system and social media updates are updated for the community. We continue to research and find the most beneficial ways to keep our students and staff safe,” said Poe.

“Safety is always a priority in Covington Independent Public Schools. We are constantly reviewing and updating our procedures to make sure that we are incorporating the most current information and training around school safety,” Garrison said.

Dr. Runge says educating future teachers about school safety starts with transitioning them to think from the perspective of a teacher. Current college students have grown up with active shooter drills as a part of their education experience, and Dr. Runge encourages the conversations on how to handle that as a teacher.

“They are expected to educate our students, love them, prepare them for the real world, and now they also have the responsibility of keeping them safe in an active shooter situation. That’s a lot for a first year teacher to deal with, and it’s a whole new thing to consider as teacher educators,” said Runge. “We have to ensure our future educators know the content and how to teach. We also have to make sure they understand the responsibility of being a teacher in this time of frequent school shootings.”

NKU’s School Safety panel is open to everyone. COEHS looks at this event as a first step that fosters follow-up discussions focused on developing recommendations to implement in area schools or as part of educator preparation program courses.

What: NKU School Safety Panel

When: May 1, 2018 from 3 - 5 p.m.

Where: NKU’s Mathematics Education & Psychology Center, Room 200

-Staff report

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