The University of Southern California (USC) is presenting a first-of-its-kind, live online summit to discuss school violence and to forge new ideas and conversations that advance school safety.
Steaming live on Oct. 24, the USC National Safe Schools Digital Summit is designed for online viewers, including students and families, teachers, school administrators and staff, policymakers, journalists and all who have a stake in school safety.
“Addressing school violence is a national imperative,” said Dr. Erroll Southers, Director of USC’s Safe Communities Institute. “We do not understand enough about why young people commit violence, about how to better secure the places where they learn, and about how we develop solutions that can keep them safe. The National Safe Schools Summit advances these conversations and moves us toward a new understanding of school safety.”
Using any connected device, viewers can visit the event website—usc.edu/safeschools—and watch the Summit for free and with no registration requirement. The Oct. 24 Summit live-stream begins at 8:30 AM PT/11:30 AM ET, and the first panel begins at 9 AM PT/12 PM ET.
“Journalists and the public as a whole need to keep in mind that these school violence events can cause long-term physical and mental trauma,” said Summit Honorary Chair Terence Shepherd, news director at the public radio outlet WLRN News. “The mental health issues in particular can be far-reaching—for the entire community, including students, teachers, parents and neighbors.”
The Summit will feature three panel discussions:
Panel 1: Students are the Nation’s Greatest Asset: Students from schools affected by violence will share insights into their experience, their concerns, and the role they can play in supporting a safer school environment. The panel will be moderated by award-winning actor Denzel Whitaker (Black Panther, The Great Debaters), and panelists include students who survived shootings at Virginia Tech and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“School safety is an issue overlooked by many,” said Jake Glacer, a senior at Marjory Stoneman High School and a Summit panelist. “We realize the problem but do very little about it. Students and adults alike need to take a more serious approach to school security.”
Panel 2: There is No Profile for School Security: A panel of public safety and public health professionals will discuss trends in school violence, best practices for creating a more secure campus environment, and the innovative approaches that can enhance school safety.
“Instances of violence in schools across the country reveal to us, painfully, that we have not met the challenge of creating safe places for students to learn and for their educators to work,” said panel moderator Robert Boyd, the Executive Director of the Secure Schools Alliance. “Addressing safety and security threats in schools is a moral imperative and more must be done. The USC Summit is an opportunity to learn, listen and identify new approaches for enhancing school safety.”
Panel 3: When a School Shooting is the Story: Journalists who have covered school violence will explain how editorial decisions are made, exploring the considerations and challenges that affect news coverage.
“No journalist relishes covering school violence, but our readers want to know what happened and how they can prevent the same thing from happening in their community,” said reporter and editor Lindsay Powers, also a Summit panelist. “When we have a journalistic platform, we can amplify these discussions and find meaningful ways to keep our kids and towns safer. I hope the conference accomplishes the same goal: keeping our kids safe, and guns (and other weapons) out of schools.”
Each panel will conclude with a brief Q&A discussion, drawing questions from the online audience via social media. Using the hashtag #USCSchoolSummit, viewers can join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.
Explore the Summit’s website – usc.edu/safeschools – to read more about the panelists and to view the live event on Oct. 24.
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