SU, Community Partners Keeping Schools Safe

2013-01-28
By Stacy Howard
safeschools13lg
Photo Credit: Chris J. Taylor

Seattle University recently welcomed hundreds of local high school students to campus along with top SU and city leaders for a school safety conference. While the conference had been in the works for months, the importance of maintaining a safe and secure school environment for communities nationwide has received added emphasis, given the December tragedy in Connecticut.

In this first annual Impact! Safe Schools event, SU President Steven Sundborg, S.J., Seattle Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith and Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Jose Banda kicked off the day by addressing the importance of students becoming leaders in their schools and assuming shared ownership of problem solving issues.

SU Psychology Professor Dr. Samuel Song says when students act as leaders engaging in school activities to promote crime prevention and anti-bullying, the results effectively create and improve a safe environment. Through his extensive academic expertise in the field of youth violence, Song specializes in prevention of children exposed to violence.

Students were inspired and motived by several guest speakers, including: SU Head Men’s Basketball Coach Cameron Dollar, SPD Assistant Police Chief Nick Metz, UW Women’s Basketball Coach/Broadcaster Adia Barnes and Radio DJ Tony “B” Benton.

“We are going to talk about how to spot, and stop violence,” said Nick Metz, SPD assistant chief. The student leadership conference is a first step towards enhancing student leadership skills while raising consciousness about safety, he added.

“To be a leader, you must have integrity,” Coach Dollar told the students, regarding anti-bullying in their schools.

In addition to hearing words of wisdom from guest speakers, the students, community leaders and law enforcement officials discussed strategies and collaborated to design school action plans. The plans will be implemented and SU and its community partners will continue to work with the students to stop bullying and violence.