OSWEGO – While teachers, administrators and community members all rallied around the inaugural Oswego Middle School Safety Summit, it was a core group of students that served as the catalyst for change.
Following the February tragedy in Parkland, Florida, OMS eighth graders Bella Koproski, Grace Stephens, Allyson VanBrocklin and Caitlin Munger approached Principal Mary Beth Fierro about addressing school safety at the middle school level.
Up until then, much discussion about school safety around the country had centered on high schools, so the girls wanted to be sure their young voices were heard.
Although student safety has always been a focus of the Oswego City School District, the student-inspired summit welcomed new ideas and conversation.
A few dozen seventh and eighth graders from a wide spectrum of the OMS student population, guidance staff members, security officer, administrators, Board of Education President Aimee Callen and both local and county dignitaries all came together to have deeper discussions on safety.
Summit members split into small groups, shared what they enjoyed about the school and then answered questions about safety.
Some students defined safety as how comfortable a person feels in their surroundings and others shared what they felt were a student’s role in school safety, among additional related topics.
Superintendent Dr. Dean Goewey said it was great to see groups of students join together and partake in important conversations.
Fierro told the students that some of the minor issues would immediately be addressed, while others required additional follow-up communications.
She said she plans on hosting the safety summit again next school year.