Editor's note: The following is a press release from the Norfolk District Attorney's office.
National and local experts on school safety issues – ranging from violent intruder defense strategies and protecting schools from explosives to the more subtle violence of bullying in cyberspace and in middle school – came together with more than 150 local educators and police at District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey’s 2012 School Security Summit this week.
The seven from Norwood who attended came away with news that the town is receiving a School Security grant from DA Morrissey: $2,000 to purchase hand-held two-way radios and to develop a frequency for the schools to use in emergency communication. Grants to 21 school systems were funded from assets seized from drug dealers by law enforcement and forfeited during court proceedings.
“We are doing all we can to make Norfolk County’s schools as safe as possible and we appreciate Norwood’s strong partnership,” District Attorney Morrissey said after the Summit, attended by police officers Paul Murphy and Jamie Mahoney, high school deans Andy Garczynski and Sean Powers, and Principal Matt Ehrenworth, Housemaster Brian Meringer and Ann Mitchell from the Coakley Middle School.
“Tragic, deadly events in other areas of the country have taught law enforcement and school officials valuable lessons on what works and what does not to keep students safe,” District Attorney Morrissey said. “We were able to use monies confiscated from and forfeited by drug dealers to bring in experts from as far away as Texas to talk about the very real threats students face, and hopefully provide local officials with additional tools to avoid those problems.”
Greg Crane from Response Options in Burleson Texas presented on best practices on violent intruders; Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Senior Special Agent Jessica Gotthold from New Jersey spoke about protecting schools from those threats; attorneys Matthew MacAvoy and Michael Joyce from Marshfield provided guidance on information sharing among school districts and law enforcement. A trio from Deana’s Educational Theater in Wakefield previewed “Girl Chat,” a play they perform at schools across the region to explore, and help mitigate, middle school bullying and violence.
“We also took the opportunity to announce the new bullying and cyber-bullying resources that we have developed with the Norfolk Advocates for Children, which school departments can access at no cost,” Morrissey said. “It is our hope that every school in every one of our towns is a little bit safer today because so many schools and police joined us in this effort, and came away with additional resources.”