Session Descriptions

Beyond Tragedy: Response and Recovery Following a School-Based Crisis

Alissa Parker, Co-founder, Safe and Sound Schools

Alissa shares her personal perspective on the Sandy Hook School response and recovery efforts. Based on her own experiences, those of victims, survivors, first responders, community leaders, educators, families, and children in the Sandy Hook and Newtown community, Alissa outlines the challenges, successes, and lessons learned in the aftermath of tragedy and loss to better prepare others to respond and recover from emergencies, crisis, and disaster. She shares insights on emergency notification, communication, death notification, protection of victims and victims’ families, mental health needs and services, media management, and financial considerations, as well as other issues surrounding the response and recovery efforts within Sandy Hook and Newtown.

Collaborating for Safety and Security

Melanie Moss, TASB Management Services (Moderator)
Magdalena Denham, Sam Houston State University
Chief William Edwards, Hutto ISD
Captain Reynaldo Garza, San Antonio Fire Department
Paul McLarty, Clear Creek ISD
Elaina Polsen, Clear Creek ISD

Collaboration is the foundation for effective and efficient response to disasters of all types. Building partnerships with local law enforcement, fire, and other community partners before disaster strikes is essential to creating safe, health, and secure learning environments. This expert panel made up of school, law enforcement, fire, and emergency management officials will discuss lessons learned as well as best and proven practices in developing and maintaining a collaborative, safe, and secure school.

Recalibrating the School Response to Student Threats

Haley Turner, Walsh Gallegos Trevino Russo & Kyle P.C.

Campus strategies for safety and security have historically been thought of in terms of building access, visitor policies, and lockdown procedures. This session will explore the other side of safety and security – mental health.  This presentation will focus on student threat assessments and the proactive steps schools can take to ensure that a threat never becomes a reality.

Law Enforcement Perspectives on School Security

Joy Baskin, TASB Legal Services (Moderator)
Lt. Gary Connella, Texas Commission on Law Enforcement
Sgt. Jeff Ferry, Luling Police Department
Lt. William McCauley, Austin Community College
Chief Craig Miller, Dallas ISD

This panel with law enforcement officers from around the state will offer a unique opportunity to ask the officers questions about security options and coordination on school campuses. The moderator will ask timely questions about how best to coordinate investigations and responses to school incidents. Bring your questions, and we’ll save time for audience participation.  

School Threat Assessment Overview

Cynthia Marble, Sigma Threat Management Associates

Threat assessment is recognized as the current best practice for preventing school-based and workplace violence. Senior Consultant Cynthia Marble provides an overview of the Safe School Initiative and how threat assessment procedures are used to investigate threats and other disturbing behavior in schools. She also reviews the step-by-step procedures to assess the threat, and develop and implement plans to reduce risk and help maintain school safety.

Increasing School Safety through Design

Sean Connor, Pfluger Associates
Shevis Moore, TASB Organization & Planning Services

This session will review current safety design requirements and best practices. Presenters will also share several entrance designs to consider when enhancing visitor management capability and preventing unwanted access.

The State Response and Expectations:

Keeping Texas Students Safe

Mary Lynn Bunkley, Office of the Texas Governor, Greg Abbott

This session will cover the major topics outlined in Governor Abbott’s School Safety Action Plan and the resources and support available to districts to implement the plan. There will also be an opportunity for the audience to provide suggestions on ways the plan can be improved and implemented.

Safety and Security in Texas Schools

Kathy Martinez-Prather, Texas School Safety Center

The Texas School Safety Center serves as the central clearinghouse for school safety information related to training, research, and technical assistance for K-12 schools and community colleges throughout Texas. This presentation will provide an overview of the training and resources the center provides to Texas school districts, along with key training priorities this upcoming school year in support of the governor’s school safety recommendations.