Orange County's Response to Sandy Hook Plays Out at School Safety Conference TODAY

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Photo by flickr user Arturo Sotillo
School should be a place to learn and play, not duck from gunfire.

Orange County school and law enforcement officials want the public to know they have been working on strategies to combat school shootings, and they will further get the word out this afternoon by recognizing a cop and school administrator who have been doing something about this sick element of modern life.

Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and Orange County Superintendent of Schools Al Mijares will present awards to the administrator and law enforcement official after Hutchens speaks about the School Assessment Project at 1 p.m. during the fifth annual Safe Schools Conference at the Wyndham Anaheim Resort (formerly the Crowne Plaza) in Garden Grove.

The Sandy Hook tragedy prompted Hutchens, Mijares and other law enforcement and education officials to launch the project, which aims to collect information from every school in Orange County to help ensure the safety of all students. School emergency plans, evacuation routes, maps and other details that will be provided to first responders during school emergency situations are among the data being collected.

"It is critical for local law enforcement agencies to work in collaboration with our schools in creating emergency plans and performing practice drills," Hutchens says in a statement announcing the conference. "The data collected in the School Assessment Project coupled with mitigation activities offers the best protection for the schools in our county."

"Student and staff safety is the number one priority at all school events, on campuses, and especially in our classrooms," Mijares adds. "Therefore, it is our collective responsibility to protect the welfare of our students at all times."

The work being done to implement the School Assessment Project is what is earning the recognition being given to the pair at the conference, where topics include dropout prevention, bullying/cyber bullying, gang intervention and prevention, law enforcement and safe schools, legal issues, alcohol and other drugs, building a positive school climate, triage training for nurses and crisis response.

Oh, for the days we could worry solely about the three R's.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!



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