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U.S. attorney announces school safety summit

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia education and law enforcement officials are slated to discuss ways to prevent school violence during a February school safety summit created by U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin's office.

The summit will be Feb. 6 in Charleston at the Culture Center, according to a news release. The summit has two goals, Goodwin said in the release.

"First, how do we identify potentially violent situations in schools and handle them before something bad happens," Goodwin said. "Second, what should our schools and first responders be doing to prepare in case the unthinkable comes to pass?"

The summit comes in response to calls for more school safety following the recent mass murder of 20 elementary students and six teachers at a school in Connecticut.

Starting at 9 a.m., the summit will include several speeches from safety and education experts followed by panel discussions.

Retired Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, a former psychology professor at the U.S. Military Academy and a U.S. Ranger, will speak at 9:30. His nonfiction work on the psychology of violence was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and he helped in the response to the Columbine High School and Virginia Tech mass shootings, according to the news release.

New state Superintendent of Schools Jim Phares will also speak during the morning portion of the summit.

There are three different topics for each of the afternoon panels. One will consider identifying and addressing potentially violent situations. Planning by school and law enforcement officials in the case of an emergency is the topic of another panel.

The third looks at the "perspective" of students, teachers, counselors, law enforcement and school officials in regard to handling an emergency.

Mark Manchin, director of the state School Building Authority, is one panel speaker. Officials from the state Department of Education, Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety and the state police will also take part in the panels. 

Other agencies partnering in the event include the state Division of Justice and Community Services, the state Center for Professional Development and Cabell County Schools.

Anyone is allowed to attend. Those who want to attend need to register at www.wvsafeschools.org.

Contact writer Dave Boucher at 304-348-4843 or david.boucher@dailymail.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/Dave_Boucher1.

 


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