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Stanly educator attends safety, security event

School personnel are charged with keeping millions of children safe during the school day. To assist regional school systems in developing active shooter response plans, Gardner-Webb University partnered with Atrium Health, Charlotte Fire Department, Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security to provide a free forum.

Held at the GWU Charlotte Center Oct. 12, “Protecting Our K-12 Students” gave principals, teachers, counselors and administrators the opportunity to hear the latest research and dialogue with public safety and security professionals.

Among those in attendance was Whitney Pratt, a school counselor with East Albemarle Elementary School.

The keynote speaker was Bryan Warren, corporate security director with Atrium Health and a consultant to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Warren received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from GWU in 2012. He also holds a Master of Business Administration and has more than 29 years of healthcare security experience.

He presented findings from the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center, which examined 28 mass shooting incidents in 2017. These attacks were acts of workplace violence, domestic violence, school-based violence or terrorism.

“Similar themes were observed in the backgrounds of the perpetrators,” Warren noted. “Over three-quarters of perpetrators made concerning communications and/or elicited concern from others prior to carrying out their attacks.”

After Warren’s remarks, a panel featuring Maj. Steven Brochu of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, Chief Kent Davis of the Charlotte Fire Department and District Commander Wilfred Horrach of the Department of Homeland Security answered questions related to trainings, drills, mental health awareness and communication. The discussion was moderated by David Rhew of the N.C. Public Transportation Association.

“We are honored to provide a forum for school leaders to collaborate with members of local and government agencies in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County to enhance student safety,” shared Catherine Burr, associate provost for Adult and Distance Education, who helped coordinate the program. “Our partnership with expert panelists enhanced the discussion focused on educational safety in our community.”