Second Annual Institute for School Safety held at WCSU’s Connecticut Center for School Safety and Crisis Preparation

During the week of August 7-11, The Connecticut Center for School Safety and Crisis Preparation housed at Western Connecticut State University hosted the Second Annual Institute for School Safety on the university’s Westside campus. The daylong presentations provided a forum for discussion among professionals and highlighted the importance of a multidisciplinary team approach to school safety. The five-day conference featured seminars on student mental health, threat assessment, suicide prevention/postvention and more.

Among those in attendance were representatives from Connecticut school districts, law enforcement, hospitals and mental health providers. State Sen. Julie Kushner (D-24) also stopped by.

“Today, I had the opportunity to get an insider’s view of the valuable work being done by the Connecticut Center for School Safety and Crisis Preparation at Western Connecticut State University,” Kushner said. “I attended the final day of a week-long training for educators, law enforcement and school resource officers. Like so many in our community, my views about gun violence prevention were greatly impacted by the Sandy Hook school shooting. Keynote speaker Michele Gay shared her story of how families’ lives were changed forever in December of 2012. Ms. Gay founded Safe and Sound Schools, an organization dedicated to educating and reinforcing best practices to keep our schools safe, particularly for kids that have special needs – those that are ‘especially special.’ I’m proud to have led the effort to secure funding for Connecticut Center for School Safety and Crisis Preparation. I strongly believe our state’s most precious commodity, our school kids, will benefit from the investment we are making in data-driven safety measures, and coordination of resources to deal with crises when they happen.”

Conference topics included “School Safety and Security Facility Assessment” taught by William Turley, Manager of Training and Exercise, School Safety Program Lead for the State of Connecticut Department of Emergency Services & Public Protection, Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security; “Cybersecurity” taught by David Palmbach, Cyber Security Advisor for Connecticut (Region 1) for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA); “Social Media Awareness and Documenting Digital Threats” taught by Trooper First Class James White, Connecticut State Police and CT Statewide DARE Coordinator; and “School Threat Assessment and Behavioral Analysis Threat Assessment” taught by Special Agent Marc LaFrance, FBI New Haven and Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) Coordinator Statewide. For a complete list of seminars and instructors, visit

 Feedback from those in attendance during the week highlighted the importance of the information being presented.

Christopher Mader, Assistant Principal of Region 8, said, “The sessions organized by the Center for School Safety and Crisis Prevention were well organized and expertly facilitated. I left with many ideas and an increased capacity to continue to enhance school safety in my district.”

Simsbury Police Department School Resource Officer Todd Kushman added, “This course was amazing and important to have between law enforcement and school staff. We need to be closer to being on the same page in order to handle situations in a more effective and productive manner. The CT Center for School Safety and Crisis Preparation has been an incredible resource for myself as an SRO. This allows me to hear from other SROs and school districts regarding common issues and ways to handle situations in a productive manner.”

Robert Killackey Jr., an educator at Norwalk Public Schools and a Preparedness Consultant, said, “The Student Threat Assessment and Threat Behavioral Analysis education and training at WCSU hosted by the Connecticut Center for School Safety and Crisis Preparation was exceptional. Having an experienced FBI Special Agent talk us through the concepts, facilitate discussions, and provide resources (written, online, and, if needed, advisory) helped deepen the collective understanding of the audience (law enforcement, social workers, mental health professionals and educators). From its inception, the CT Center for School Safety and Crisis Prevention at WCSU has been building both the confidence and capability of our schools and first responder communities in dealing with all hazards that could impact our school communities. It is a state focal point for invaluable education and training in preventing, responding to and recovering from school incidents.”

Robert Fuller, FBI Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Field Office, said, “We thank Western Connecticut State University for hosting this important collaborative training. Here in Connecticut, we pride ourselves on our great working relationships with local, state and federal law enforcement partners as well as the safety professionals in attendance at this training. The sharing of intelligence, best practices and updated strategies are crucial to providing the best protection and prevention of violent crimes within our public educational facilities and beyond.”

To learn more about the Connecticut Center for School Safety and Crisis Preparation, go to or contact WCSU Public Relations at

Submitted by Danbury, CT

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