University at Albany Hosts NYS Comptroller’s First Statewide Roundtable on School Safety
Albany, NY (December 6, 2019) – Just before Thanksgiving, New York State’s Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli convened his office’s first statewide roundtable on School Safety on the UAlbany campus.
The roundtable brought together urban, suburban and rural teachers and leaders, higher education officials, educational organizations, school facilities experts, and members of law enforcement to have a practical discussion about how to make schools and colleges across New York safer.
DiNapoli commented, “At the University of Albany, I met with some of the most respected New Yorkers in this field to discuss how our schools can provide children and faculty with a safe and supportive learning environment. This includes examining safety planning and protecting students from harassment.”
Held in the Hall of Fame Room at UAlbany’s SEFCU arena, the group discussed the multiple threats to ensuring safe and secure learning environments for students of all ages. While school shootings are a pressing concern, there are many other threats such as bullying, cyberattacks, and extreme weather events that now need to be addressed.
A common theme of the discussion was that school safety is a community-wide issue and requires all of the groups around the table to work collectively to move the agenda. It was clear that working in collaboration with one another, addressing mental health, and keeping in mind the diversity of New York State when creating policy, training, and resources are shared priorities.
Dr. Jason Lane, Dean of UAlbany’s School of Education, discussed UAlbany’s strategic position, to play a leadership role in this space. “As the home to New York’s first public teachers college [the School of Education] and the nation’s first College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security, and Cybersecurity, UAlbany has the resources and connection to effectively bring together the varied stakeholders, consider the impact of safety protocols on student learning, and support New York in being a leader in this space.”
Home to experts in the fields of emergency preparedness, mental health, P-20 education, public health, cybersecurity and social work, the University at Albany is leading the way in addressing this critical concern for all New Yorkers. UAlbany’s School of Education and College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security, and Cybersecurity have partnered on the development of a statewide School Safety Institute. This Institute will engage in pioneering research to understand how issues of safety affect student learning as well as provide cutting-edge workshops, seminars and trainings, all with an aim to continue the Comptroller’s leadership in engaging a broad community of stakeholders.
In August, UAlbany hosted more than 150 community leaders, first responders, school personnel, medical and mental health professionals, among others, for a two-day, no-cost to attendee interactive program. This Summit provided an opportunity for all those with a vested interest in protecting children and young adults to gain hands-on experience with emergency preparation, response and recovery. The second annual Summit will be held in summer 2020.
At the roundtable, the University was represented by Ms. Sheila Seery, Vice President, Government and Community Relations; Mr. Clifford Kim, Director of Government Relations; Dr. Jason Lane, Dean, School of Education; Dr. Christy Smith, Assistant Dean, School of Education; Dr. Jennifer Goodall, Vice Dean, College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security, and Cybersecurity; Mr. Jayson Kratoville, Interim Director, National Center for Security and Preparedness; and Ms. Fern Mills, undergraduate student in Human Development.
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli on School Safety