College of Education > News and Publications > 2019: 04-06 news > School security chief topic at Penn State Directors Academy

School security chief topic at Penn State Directors Academy

Campus/school safety takes time, involves multiple stakeholders and requires many people to engage to develop an effective safety and emergency plan that is brief, specific and flexible, members of the Penn State Personnel Professional Development Center (PPDC) learned at a recent conference in State College.

Campus/school safety takes time, involves multiple stakeholders and requires many people to engage to develop an effective safety and emergency plan that is brief, specific and flexible, members of the Penn State Personnel Professional Development Center (PPDC) learned at a recent conference in State College.

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Lorrie Rodrigue, superintendent of the Newtown Public School District in Newtown, Connecticut, spoke at the recent Directors Academy on School Safety conference at Penn State.
School superintendent Lorrie Rodrigue and security director Mark Pompano, each from
the Newtown Public School District in Newtown, Connecticut, site of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in December 2012 in which 20 children and six adults were killed, delivered that message to the Directors Academy on School Safety.

The Rodrigue-Pompano presentation on "The Four C's of School Safety: Challenges, Complexities, Comprehensiveness and Community" offered their experiences and knowledge related to school safety and leadership through the lens of security perspectives. 

They discussed comprehensive emergency planning, collaboration, training and school-based emergency plan practice. Practical points included having a communication plan, chain-of-command, emergency management strategies and systematic building security to include visitor management and school access procedures. 

Pompano shared the 10 rules to school security and the planning process used in the Newtown School Security Plan. The multiple-complex supports for student assistance and behavioral health services in the Newtown Public Schools and broader community also were critical aspects addressed in school safety planning.

School safety became a national concern with the Columbine (Colorado) High School and Sandy Hook Elementary tragedies. Continued threats of school violence have prompted states to pass legislation and policy directives to ensure school safety measures. Pennsylvania’s response to school safety resulted in Act 44 of 2018, which mandates the appointment of school safety and security coordinators, and establishes school safety training for school entity employees, among a number of other items.

The event served as a model for school emergency planning efforts with capacity building regarding Act 44 for career and technical education centers and school districts in the commonwealth.Michael Harvey, professor of education (workforce education and development), and the PPDC coordinate the annual Penn State Directors Academy.

Penn State’s College of Education Workforce Education and Development program and the PPDC are providing central Pennsylvania career and technical education (CTE) administrators with Act 44 leadership professional development.

Steven Watson, director of planning, design and properties for the Office of the Physical Plant; Conal Carr, director of housing operations; and Mark Rameker, senior director of residence life, addressed Penn State's security measures during a presentation titled "A Wide-Angle View: Penn State University.

They provided significant insight into safety and security for Penn State and key application for local schools under PA Act 44 and focused on the many organizations and entities involved at Penn State in campus safety. That includesadministration, police and public safety, emergency management, physical security, Office of Physical Plant, housing operations and residence life as critical partners. They said the plan must be updated often and with training and professional development offered for all stakeholders. 

The Penn State Directors Academy is an annual retreat exclusively for the executive vocational directors of career and technical centers, high schools and state correctional institutions in central Pennsylvania. It is coordinated by the PPDC, which provides teacher preparation, online resources and in-service program that prepare Pennsylvanians to meet professional standards as career and technical educators.

Through these programs, participants may earn state teacher certification and become eligible to teach technical career programs in career and technical schools in the state.