On Thursday, July 19, approximately 325 school leaders, administrators, communicators, student support staff (school counselors, school psychologists, school social workers, & school counselors), school resource officers, public safety officials, and first responders came together for a Crisis Preparedness, Response, and Communications Symposium at the Maxwell Regional Agriculture and Convention Center in Goldsboro. The theme for the symposium was “Responding to a Mass Violence Attack on Education Campus.”
The event hosted two high caliber speakers. Dr. Mike Clumpner, President & CEO of Threat Suppression, Inc., held a morning and afternoon session. Dr. Clumpner is a nationally known expert who has provided training for DEA, FBI, emergency management departments, institutions of higher education, school districts, and many others. The morning session focused on the history and profile of the adolescent school shooter. The afternoon session focused on attack actions and active shooter response. Retired Newtown Connecticut Schools superintendent, Dr. Joseph Erardi, served as the lunch Keynote. His presentation, sponsored by CrisisGo, addressed safety strategies and personal experiences after being hired as superintendent following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December of 2012. Following Dr. Erardi’s presentation, CrisisGo shared information about free communications tools that schools can use to help promote school safety.
“Our district began planning this training event following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in February,” stated Ken Derksen, WCPS Communications & Public Relations Officer. “The symposium offered attendees new information gleaned from the growing frequency of school shootings and offer strategies and best practices in crisis management for preparing and responding to attacks on an education campus.”
The event was hosted by Wayne County Public Schools in partnership with Wayne UNC Health Care, a major corporate and community sponsor of the event. Other corporate sponsors included: Piedmont Natural Gas, Mount Olive Pickle Company, CrisisGo, Brewmasters, Franklin Baking Company, Tri-County Electric Membership Corporation, Waylin Area Foundation, TA Loving Construction Company, Shumate-Faulk Funeral Home, R.A. Jeffery’s Distributing Company, SouthCo Distributing Company, Maxwell Regional Agriculture and Convention Center, Wayne Education Network, and Wayne Community College.
“Recognizing the potential impact that an attack on a local school would have on first responders and the emergency room staff at the hospital, we appreciate Wayne UNC Health Care’s partnership in helping our school district offer this event to participants at no cost,” adds Ken Derksen. “I would be remiss if I did not thank all of the other local corporate sponsors who helped make this event possible, with special appreciation given to Piedmont Natural Gas and Mount Olive Pickle Company for their high level of financial support.”
Participants represented public K-12 schools, charter schools, private schools, emergency management, and law enforcement agencies across Wayne County. The event had representatives from school districts, institutions of higher learning, and public safety officials across the region. School communications professionals across North Carolina were also invited, with some traveling as far away as Transylvania County Schools and Caldwell County Schools to attend.