Morrissey awards grants to Canton, Blue HillsBy Canton Citizen
National and local experts on school safety issues — ranging from violent intruder defense strategies and protecting schools from explosives to the more subtle violence of bullying in cyberspace and in middle school — came together with more than 150 local educators and police at Norfolk County District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey’s 2012 School Security Summit last week.
Seven from Canton and four from Blue Hills Regional attended and came away with news that both the Canton Public Schools and Blue Hills will receive school security grants this year. Canton will receive $2,000 for hand-held radios for high school personnel to communicate with one another and Canton police in emergencies. Blue Hills applied to use $2,000 to buy the DVR and hard drive system needed to enhance their existing security camera system. The grant money will come out of assets seized from drug dealers by law enforcement and forfeited during court proceedings.
“We are doing all we can to make Norfolk County’s schools as safe as possible, and we appreciate Canton’s strong partnership,” Morrissey said after the summit, which was attended by Canton High School Principal Derek Folan, nurse leader Janet Donnelly, Police Chief Ken Berkowitz, School Resource Officer Chip Yeaton, Superintendent Jeff Granatino, and adjustment counselor Donna Creed Bauman.
Superintendent James Quaglia, Assistant Superintendent Michael Barrett, Dean of Students Thomas Cavanaugh, and Jill Rossetti attended from Blue Hills.
“Tragic, deadly events in other areas of the country have taught law enforcement and school officials valuable lessons on what works and what does not to keep students safe,” Morrissey said. “We were able to use monies confiscated from and forfeited by drug dealers to bring in experts from as far away as Texas to talk about the very real threats students face, and hopefully provide local officials with additional tools to avoid those problems.”
Greg Crane from Response Options in Burleson, Texas, presented on best practices on violent intruders. Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Senior Special Agent Jessica Gotthold from New Jersey spoke about protecting schools from those threats, and attorneys Matthew MacAvoy and Michael Joyce from Marshfield provided guidance on information sharing among school districts and law enforcement. A trio from Deana’s Educational Theater in Wakefield previewed “Girl Chat,” a play they perform at schools across the region to explore and help mitigate middle school bullying and violence.
“We also took the opportunity to announce the new bullying and cyber-bullying resources that we have developed with the Norfolk Advocates for Children, which school departments can access at no cost,” Morrissey said. “It is our hope that every school in every one of our towns is a little bit safer today because so many schools and police joined us in this effort and came away with additional resources.”
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