Hernando School District Hosts Annual Safety Summit

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Brooksville - The Hernando School District hosted its fourth annual Safety Summit at Hernando High School June 6-10. The five-day event included almost 200 participants from the school district and local law enforcement agencies, including all Hernando County principals and assistant principals, local safety teams and the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

The purpose of the annual summit is to ensure all safety team members and school leaders are trained in current safety protocols, to provide meaningful learning opportunities and to foster strong team relationships for those who serve as emergency school responders for their campus.

Throughout the five days, participants attended a variety of workshops on topics of emergency situations, reunification, best practices in campus safety operations and updated procedures. The event was punctuated by two powerful and moving presentations by law enforcement officers and first responders.

Officer William Chapman, one of the first on scene at the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, shared his firsthand accounts of that harrowing day and the lessons that have contributed to stronger safety practices at schools throughout the country. Tom Czyz, former detective and SWAT team operator shared his expertise in active shooter situations and assailant response tactics.

The nation’s leading subject matter expert in K-12 active shooter attacks, Tom Czyz stated, “This event should be the national model for training school staff and law enforcement in security and emergency response.”

"This summit created an opportunity for law enforcement and school safety teams to collaborate and strategize on refining and enhancing safety procedures in our schools," said Jill Renihan, Director of Safe Schools for the district. "Following the recent tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, it serves as a reminder that this type of training and collaboration around safety measures remains necessary. There is no goal more important than keeping our schools, and the children and staff within them, safe."

"When we asked our community to help fund increased safety measures for our schools, they did so with their voices, their actions and their tax dollars because their children are in our care everyday," said John Stratton, Superintendent of Schools. "More cameras, locks and gates are important but, in a school emergency, no tool is more vital to a safe outcome than having well trained staff and a strong relationship with our first responders. The district Safety Summit helps us do both".