More than 100 community members took part in a conversation April 12 about school safety at a joint forum hosted by LakewoodAlive in partnership with the Lakewood City Schools and the City of Lakewood. The forum included the announcement of some new safety initiatives in the works.
The event included six panelists who addressed various aspects protecting students’ safety and well-being. Panelists included Superintendent Patterson, Mayor Summers, Lakewood High students Brian Donahoe and Angie Amato, adolescent psychiatrist Molly Wimbiscus, and Lakewood Police active shooter expert Pat Fiorilli. The panel fielded questions from moderators Joe Lobozzo, a Lakewood High Social Studies teacher and Lakewood High senior LaNiqua Jones. Questions from the audience were taken at the end of the two-hour forum.
Superintendent Patterson, Mayor Summers and Investigator Fiorilli emphasized the extensive collaboration between the City and Schools in planning and preparing for crisis situations at our school buildings. This includes on-site training for SWAT teams in District buildings, providing active shooter training for our staff, giving police personnel ID access to all our buildings and sharing security camera footage.
Students spoke of the desire for more guidance and training for themselves, particularly in non-classroom areas of the school but expressed feeling generally safe at school.
Dr. Wimbiscus addressed ways parents can help their child navigate and cope with the emotional minefield that our students are often coping with in today’s world. She also shared the myriad of ways that the District is working with mental health professionals to address the needs of our students, including housing the Cleveland Clinic Medical Clinic at Lakewood High School.
Some news coming out of the forum included:
- The District is working on sending livestream feeds of its security cameras directly to the Lakewood Police Department
- The City hopes to provide more School Resource Officers for the District, particularly at the middle schools
- The Lakewood Police Department will be holding a parent meeting on September 27, 2018 to share information regarding active shooter training for all students in the 2018-2019 school year.
City and District officials also emphasized that the two organizations are continually evaluating the effectiveness of safety strategies in place and that the great working relationship between the two entities serves to further fortify efforts to keep our students and staff safe.