On Centre: Penns Valley | Schools partner for safety discussion

mcarroll@centredaily.comMarch 18, 2013 

The Penns Valley school district is inviting residents to join in on a county-wide discussion in April focusing on school safety.

Penns Valley has partnered with the Bald Eagle, Bellefonte, State College and Philipsburg-Osceola area school districts and Penn State on a forum that will be steamed live online and in each of the communities.

Experts will discuss how community advocates and researchers can collaborate to prevent tragedies in schools – like the one in Newtown, Conn., that claimed the lives of 20 young children and six school employees.

Also joining the conversation is John-Michael Keyes, who along with his wife started the I Love U Guys Foundation after their daughter was killed in a school shooting.

The foundation gets its name from one of the last texts their daughter sent after a gunman entered her Colorado high school in 2006, held seven girls hostage, and ultimately shot and killed the Keyeses’ 16-year-old.

Since then the pair have worked tirelessly to help schools and communities prepare for emergencies and help prevent the worst from happening again.

John-Michael Keyes will spend the day April 1 in the Penns Valley school district, talking with officials about safety, then will take part in the forum at 7:30 p.m. at the Outreach Building on the University Park campus.

He will be joined by a experts from Penn State and the community. Randy Rockey, the Centre County Director of Emergency Management, Rebecca Bywater, the manager of Threat Assessment and Community Education for Penn State’s University Police and Public Safety Department, Brian Bumbarger, director of Penn State’s EPISCenter and Karen Bierman, a distinguished professor of psychology at Penn State, make up the panel.

“We encourage all to attend and better understand the critical role everyone plays in helping our schools become safer places,” Penns Valley officials said in message that went out to parents late last week.

Residents in Penns Valley can do so by attending the live streaming at the high school auditorium, watching online, or registering to watch the event in person on the Penn State campus. The deadline to register is March 27.

Questions can also be submitted in advance to http://wc_community@outreach.psu.edu.

Matt Carroll writes about news from the Penns and Brush Valley regions. He can be reached at 231-4631 or mcarroll@centredaily.com.

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