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‘Lessons from Tragedy’ to discuss school safety, preparedness

OSWEGO — “Lessons from Tragedy: A Conversation on School Safety and Preparedness” will feature the retired principal of Columbine High School and a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting who then created a national support foundation, at 5 p.m. March 1, at SUNY Oswego.

Kristina Anderson
Kristina Anderson

The event in Room 101 of Lanigan Hall is free and open to the public, with doors opening at 4:45 p.m.

With more than 50 million students enrolling in schools from kindergarten to high school while another 20.5 million attend colleges and universities across the country each year, organizers hope the discussion led by Frank DeAngelis and Kristina Anderson will highlight ways to improve school safety and enhance student experiences.

DeAngelis served as an educator for the Jeffco School District in Littleton, Colorado, since 1979. A national-level speaker for Safe and Sound Schools, he has addressed numerous professional and school audiences on the topic of recovery after a school-based tragedy, some of it rooted in his own experience during the 1999 mass shooting at his school.

Frank DeAngelis
Frank DeAngelis

He has visited, consulted and assisted school communities across the country following incidents of violence and tragedy, including Platte Canyon, Chardon, Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook.

He recently received the Jefferson County Lifetime Achievement Award and the Gandhi, King, Ikeda Community Builders Award.

DeAngelis retired in June 2014 after 35 years at Columbine, and presently serves as a consultant for safety and emergency management for the Jeffco School District, as well as speaking and consulting both nationally and internationally.

Anderson founded the Koshka Foundation for Safe Schools, a non-profit dedicated to helping local community and school stakeholders work together to prevent, respond and heal in the aftermath of school violence, after becoming one of the most critically injured survivors from the 2007 Virginia Tech tragedy.

Shot three times, Anderson returned to graduate from Virginia Tech with a degree in international studies and foreign languages, and is now a resource to school administrators, teachers and students within higher education and K-12 schools regarding violence prevention initiatives and ways to increase individual personal safety awareness.

The Koshka Foundation also partners with law enforcement agencies and first responders to provide educational presentations on surviving an active shooter from a survivor’s perspective, and best practices in incorporating lessons learned.

Jaclyn Schildkraut of Oswego’s department of public justice, a published and recognized expert on the topic of mass shootings, serves as chief organizer. Previously, Schildkraut brought Michele Gay, co-founder of Safe and Sound: A Sandy Hook Initiative, to campus to address this issue.

“I am confident that their experiences will bring a plethora of additional information to help supplement Michele’s talk and continue this discussion about school safety and prevention from two different perspectives — as a school administrator and student, both of whom experienced this extreme form of tragedy,” Schildkraut said.

Schildkraut has begun reaching out to many professionals and organizations that could benefit from attending, with success.

“We have a great list of guests that already have confirmed attendance, including members of law enforcement, town supervisors, principals and superintendents, and other safety and security personnel in various sectors,” Schildkraut added.

Light refreshments will be served.

Free parking is available for this event in any employee lot (near Lanigan Hall, Culkin Hall and Marano Campus Center); visit oswego.edu/parking for more information and a parking map.

For more information or for persons requiring accommodations to attend the event, contact Schildkraut at 315-312-3404 or [email protected]