October 18, 2019 by HCDE-Texas
Concerns over implementing new mental health initiatives in schools and general care for school safety brought approximately 240 educators to Harris County Department of Education Oct. 15 for the School Safety Forum. The event hosted by the Center for Safe and Secure Schools and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) supplied international and local speakers on topics ranging from mental health to gang violence to emergency operations planning. Those included Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, renowned psychologist Scott Poland and emergency preparedness expert Michael Dorn.
Many administrators attended to learn more about mental health and compliance with Senate Bill 11, a bill supported by Gov. Greg Abbott as an effort to prevent school violence and protect Texas children.
“The bill better prepares and equips schools to handle security threats and provide resources to support the mental health of students and staff,” said CSSS Director Julia Andrews. “The center is committed to helping our area districts with school safety concerns.”
Superintendent James Colbert Jr. welcomed the administrators and safety experts as the forum opened:
“I ask you to find something purposeful out of what you learn today so that we can all be proactive at trying to prevent some of these problems,” Colbert said.
Assistant principal Raymond Lowery from Alief ISD said he came to the forum to learn about what the community is doing overall to keep schools safe and what kind of preventative measures are in place to help him gage where his campus stands in terms of school safety enhancements. He left reassured about his campus and district’s social and emotional learning efforts and safety updates. His testimonial: https://youtu.be/RxB5_gBs-ek
Tina Seamon, Katy ISD assistant principal, complimented the quality of information she took away from the forum. Her testimonial: https://youtu.be/-GcCy2dqqu4
“Not only were the speakers full of knowledgeable information, we also heard from Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez,” she said. “He shared his passion for wanting to help not only students and their parents, but the entire community.”