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Niagara-Wheatfield High School holds school safety forum

Fri, Apr 27th 2018 07:00 am
Student leaders at Niagara-Wheatfield High School came together to organize a Town Hall style school safety forum on April 19 for juniors and senior students.
The students, Kierston Klidonas, Brianna Walker, Olivia Gonyea, Alaina Bailey and Meaghan Gleason, along with their advisers, Ryan Coyne (Student Council), Angela Porter (Interact Club) and Beth Pyskaty (National Honor Society) invited members of the local law enforcement, emergency medical services, school district and government to take part in the discussion.
The invited guests were:
Law enforcement
•Chief Frank Previte (Lewiston Police Department)
•Lt. Kurt Schmitt (New York State Police)
•Chief Deputy Michael Dunn (Niagara County Sheriff's Office)
•Grand Jury Bureau Chief Claudette Caldwell (Niagara County District Attorney's Office)
Emergency services
•Emergency Management Director Jonathan Schultz (Niagara County Emergency Services)
•Fire Chief Rob Hoover (Sanborn Fire Department)
School district
•Superintendent of Schools Daniel Ljiljanich (Niagara-Wheatfield Central School District)
•High School Principal Michael Mann (Niagara-Wheatfield High School)
•School Resource Officer Robert Rougeux (Niagara-Wheatfield Central School District)
•Safety Specialist Leon Szczerbinski (Orleans/Niagara BOCES)
Government
•Sen. Robert Ortt (New York State Senate)
•Chairman of Public Safety David Godfrey (Niagara County Legislature)
Each of the guests spoke about the subject and then the student leaders posed questions about how to keep the school safer. Topics ranged from metal detectors in school and the use of cell phones during an incident. Ortt advised students if they noticed a classmate with mental health issues who appeared to be a threat to themselves or others that they have an obligation. "It is your job to speak up."
Both Mann and Ljiljanich talked about how to keep themselves safe in a classroom in case a shooter was in the school. Everyone on the panel stressed not using a cell phone.
Previte pointed out that they must keep quiet to protect themselves. "If someone with bad intentions comes into the school they will normally pass a quiet room and move one to one where they hear noise. I know it's parents' and friends' instinct to call when they hear of an event, but when your phone goes off, it alerts the shooter where you are."
Mann was pleased with how the forum went. "Judging from the overwhelming positive feedback that we have received from our faculty members and student body, today's assembly program was a huge success. It raised public awareness about school safety, and put many people's minds at ease knowing that district administrators, law enforcement, emergency service providers and government officials are working in concert together to ensure their safety."
From left: Chief Frank Previte (Lewiston Police Department), Lt. Kurt Schmitt (New York State Police), Chief Deputy Michael Dunn (Niagara County Sheriff's Office) and Grand Jury Bureau Chief Claudette Caldwell (Niagara County District Attorney's Office), Emergency Management Director Jonathan Schultz (Niagara County Emergency Services), Fire Chief Rob Hoover (Sanborn Fire Department), Superintendent of Schools Daniel Ljiljanich (Niagara-Wheatfield Central School District), High School Principal Michael Mann (Niagara-Wheatfield High School), School Resource Officer Robert Rougeux (Niagara-Wheatfield Central School District), Safety Specialist Leon Szczerbinski (Orleans/Niagara BOCES), Sen. Robert Ortt (New York State Senate) and Chairman of Public Safety David Godfrey (Niagara County Legislature).

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