PTA councils announce speakers for safety forum

PTA councils in Madison and Huntsville have finalized plans for a public forum on school safety.

Madison and Huntsville PTA councils will present their School Safety Forum on Jan. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Columbia High School auditorium, 300 Explorer Blvd. in Huntsville.

At the forum, a panel of safety experts, child psychologists and other speakers will discuss appropriate conversations with children about safety, along with the relationships between school systems and police departments.

The panel includes Sgt. Stacy Bates, Huntsville Police Department; Kim B. Dew, licensed professional counselor, Cornerstone Counseling; special agent Chris Hendon, FBI; Dennis James, director of student services, Madison City Schools; Al Lankford, director of campus security, Huntsville City Schools; and Chief Larry Muncey, Madison Police Department.

The forum was scheduled due to heightened concern after the mass murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14, 2012, along with ongoing efforts by local school administrators and municipal officials to confirm safety provisions on school campuses.

The Sandy Hook tragedy has “weighed heavy upon our hearts and minds,” Sonja S. Griffith said. Griffith serves as president of the Madison City Council of PTAs. Students from Sandy Hook elementary will not return to their former school but have returned to class at a different location.

Griffith said that support efforts are underway for the children in Newton. She has received suggestions from the National PTA and the Connecticut PTSA. Groups in Madison County may consider organizing a ‘Fundraiser for Sandy Hook Elementary School’ with a walk-a-thon, spirit day, pajama day or other event.

Individuals can submit questions to the panel or ask for more information about the forum by emailing madisoncitypta@gmail.com.

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