Free Virtual School Safety Forum Oct. 16 Covers Host of Hot Topics: COVID-19, Social Justice, Child Trafficking

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September 21, 2020 by HCDE Communications

Virtual School Safety Forum 2020 set for Oct. 16 addresses social justice, COVID-19 precautions, school safety hot topics, human trafficking, cultural awareness, mental health and more. Hosted by Harris County Department of Education’s Center for Safe and Secure Schools and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the forum features national presenters along with local experts who are hosting breakout sessions.

The free, eight-hour event is hosted on Zoom from 8 a.m.-4:45 p.m. and features vendor showcases from 8-8:30 a.m. and 4:15-4:45 p.m. Register at

Michael Dorn, president of Safe Havens International, is morning keynote. His presentation centers on developing trends in school emergency preparedness and recommunicating school safety. Districts take away tangible, actionable tips to bring them up to speed on emergency preparedness measures and steps to protect robust technology systems.  Carly Posey, mission director for I Love U Guys Foundation, talks about lessons learned from Sandy Hook and COVID-19. Her discussion includes heartfelt stories of Sandy Hook Elementary and ways to reassemble the school community and secure trust and safety. The foundation is a national advocate for school safety.

Breakout sessions include the following:
• Hot topics in school safety with Dorn, featuring a question-and-answer discussion with the presenter and school staff
• Trauma 101 with Sharif Charles and Nicole Milton of the Center for School Behavioral Health at Mental Health of America Greater Houston as they discuss trauma classroom strategies
•Human trafficking and keeping students safe with Christa Mayfield, director of prevention, Unbound Houston
• Best practices for social justice in schools presented by Charles A. Barrett, psychologist, Loudoun County Public Schools. Barrett also presents on systemic racism and police violence and the implications for promoting possible outcomes for students
• Online predators and cybersecurity for the online learning environment, a discussion with Gary Spurger, manager –Harris County Sheriff’s Office High Tech Crime Division.
The School Safety Forum, now in its third year, is a mainstay for area educators and school safety officials throughout greater Harris County, said Julia Andrews, director for the Center for Safe and Secure Schools.

“As COVID-19 joins school security as being an issue of utmost concern to school districts, this forum continues to gain support and visibility among school security experts and area educators,” Andrews said.

The forum is funded through the Student, Teachers and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Grant which is designed to improve school security by providing students and teachers with the tools they need to recognize, quickly responded to and help prevent acts of violence.

More details about the speakers and schedules may be found on the registration page at

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