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McAuliffe announces 16th annual School and Campus Safety Training Forum

virginiaGovernor McAuliffe announced that educators and law enforcement officials from all corners of Virginia, as well as 12 other states and the District of Columbia, will convene in Hampton on August 1 for the 16th annual School and Campus Safety Training Forum.

Sponsored by the Center for School and Campus Safety of the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), the Forum will be held at the Hampton Roads Convention Center from August 1-3, and is expected to set a record for attendance, with nearly 1000 participants.

Speaking about the Forum, Governor McAuliffe discussed the importance of a safe and secure learning environment: “Creating a safe and constructive learning environment is essential to ensuring our students have the tools to succeed. This forum gives our educators across the Commonwealth the opportunity to exchange knowledge, distribute resources, and develop safety adequate protocols for our educational institutions. School and campus safety will continue to be one of the top education priorities for my administration, as we seek to take progressive steps in improving student safety throughout Virginia.”

Also attending will be Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran and Secretary of Education Dietra Trent. Praising DCJS’ Center for School and Campus Safety for its leadership in promoting school safety, Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran said “The Center has been widely recognized, both here in Virginia and nationally, for its good work. There isn’t a more important time to train on this issue than now. Increased attendance at this conference indicates the passion our dedicated professionals possess on these topics.

Virginia Secretary of Education Dietra Trent added, “For real learning to occur, students have to feel safe in their schools and on campus. So a big part of our responsibility to provide good educational opportunities is to assure that schools and campuses are capable of maintaining security by offering the type of training and information available at this Forum.”

Keynote speakers this year include parenting and bullying expert Rosalind Wiseman, counselor and educator Dr. Jesse Jackson III, juvenile court judge and author Steven Teske, legal expert John More, Chaplain Greg Young of the FBI, psychologist Dr. Michael Fowlin, suicide prevention specialist Dr. Scott Poland, motivational speaker Jim Harris, attorney Kathy Mehfoud, and wellness expert Dr. Linda Hancock.

The Forum will feature over thirty workshops addressing a variety of topics relevant to stakeholders seeking to assure the safety and success of schools and campuses. Workshop speakers include local, state and national experts in: bullying and suicide prevention; trauma informed care; prevention of discipline disparity; school climate improvement, emergency planning and communication, cultural diversity, and other key safety topics.

DCJS Director Fran Ecker noted that the Center for School and Campus Safety offers a comprehensive program of training and technical assistance throughout the year, of which this Forum is just one part. “We are committed to serving as the primary source of services and information to help Virginia’s schools and campuses maintain safe and secure learning environments and we see this Forum as a key part of that effort,” said Fran Ecker, Director of the Department of Criminal Justice Services. “It provides an excellent opportunity for those who attend to learn from experts in many areas, and to network and share their own ideas and experiences.”

DCJS partners in sponsoring the Forum this year include the Office of the Attorney General, and the Departments of State Police, Alcoholic Beverage Control, Education, Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, Emergency Management, Fire Programs, and Health.

DCJS plans and carries out programs and initiatives to improve the functioning and effectiveness of the criminal justice system.  This includes distributing federal and state grant funding; providing training and technical assistance to agencies throughout the criminal justice system; setting and enforcing minimum training standards for law enforcement and other criminal justice personnel; regulating the private security industry in Virginia; and conducting research and evaluations.