STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Safety in schools is at the top of everyone’s minds due to recent online threats of violence made to schools locally and nationally.
Monroe County Community Roundtable and Monroe County NAACP hosted a virtual town hall Wednesday night to address parents and students’ concerns. Community leaders, law enforcement and school officials discussed how to keep students safe.
Wednesday night’s roundtable began with a question submitted by a Stroudsburg High School student. It’s the question on everyone’s minds.
“The question is a very pointed one: ‘is there anything truly preventing any of our schools in Monroe County from becoming the next Parkland, Florida or Columbine, Colorado?’,” Pocono Mountain United Way president/CEO Michael Tukeva said.
Stroudsburg Area Superintendent, Dr. Cosmas Curry, said school officials are honing in on a common thread among the majority of school shootings to prevent it from happening here.
“Somebody knew and failed to report it, or an administration failed to act on it,” Dr. Curry said.
In a nutshell, learning from the patterns of events leading up to these tragedies. Prevention hangs on the school’s, and the community’s, ability to identify the signs and intervene before it’s too late.
“Deploy the necessary supports and services immediately. Oftentimes students know what’s going on. We have things like Safe2Say which is completely anonymous, but it comes down to the relationship you have with your administrator, with your teacher, with your classmates,” Pleasant Valley Superintendent Dr. James Konrad said.
Dr. Konrad emphasized building relationships of trust with students, emboldening them to report any concerns. Licensed social worker Prunella Harris says students, parents and staff need to pay attention to changes in behavior. School officials also talked about needing adequate mental health support for students.
“One thing that I do know is that you care about and love these kids and that has shown through with everything you all have said this evening, so my heart is warm as a mom,” Monroe County NAACP president Christa Caceres said.
Officials also discussed additional security measures such as clear backpacks or reinforced doors and they plan to continue this important conversation.