Historic event will bring together the nation’s renowned school safety experts, thought leaders, and school-based crisis survivors to Houston, March 29-30, 2019

Newtown, Conn. – Feb. 28, 2019 – Safe and Sound Schools, a national school safety non-profit founded by Sandy Hook parents, today announced it will host the National Summit on School Safety on March 29-30, 2019. The event, co-hosted by Region 4 Education Service Center, will take place at the Region 4 ESC McKinney Conference Center in Houston, Texas.

The National Summit on School Safety is the premier gathering of the foremost authorities on school safety. The intensive, interactive two-day conference will cover the key areas essential to comprehensive school safety with inspirational keynotes, leadership round tables, workshops, and hands-on learning activities.

Featured speakers include Alissa Parker, co-founder of Safe and Sound Schools, Dr. CJ Huff, retired superintendent of Joplin Schools, and Michele Gay, co-founder of Safe and Sound Schools.

“This first-ever event truly spans all areas of school safety to provide the most comprehensive coverage of safety issues our schools face today: mental and behavioral health; school climate and community; health and wellness; operations and emergency management; physical environment; and school law, policy, and finance,” said Michele Gay, co-founder and executive director at Safe and Sound Schools. “By bringing together the nation’s experts in each of these disciplines, the National Summit on School Safety offers actionable takeaways, tools, and resources school communities can start implementing immediately.”

Featured speakers at the 2019 National Summit on School Safety include:
● Michele Gay & Alissa Parker, Sandy Hook Mothers and Co-Founders of Safe and Sound Schools
● Dr. CJ Huff, education advocate and retired superintendent of Joplin Schools
● Frank DeAngelis, Retired Principal of Columbine High School
● Patrick Ireland, Columbine Survivor
● Lisa Hamp, Survivor of the Virginia Tech Shooting and School Safety Advocate
● Dr. Lina Alathari, Chief of the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center

“We are witnessing a renewed focus on school safety efforts and more demand for the programs and resources we provide,” said Gay. “This Summit is an extension of Safe and Sound School’s mission to educate and empower all stakeholders, and ultimately, ensure the safest learning environment for our youth.”

For more information about the Summit, sponsorship opportunities, or to register, visit the website.

Summit Partners
Crime Stoppers of Houston (Premier Partner), Allegion, Amulet Ballistic Barriers, Axis Communications, Campus Safety Magazine (Media Partner), CrisisGO, The Hackett Center for Mental Health, H&H Medical Corporation, Huper Optik Security Window Films, Johnson Controls, NaviGate Prepared, PBK, Raptor Technologies, Scholar Chip, and Status Solutions.

About Safe and Sound Schools
Michele Gay and Alissa Parker founded Safe and Sound Schools in 2013, following the tragic deaths of their children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Safe and Sound Schools works with school communities and mental health, law enforcement, and safety professionals to create and ensure the safest possible learning environment for all youth. The non-profit organization delivers crisis-prevention, response, and recovery programs, tools, and resources, backed by national experts, to educate all members of the school community, from students and parents, to teachers and administrators, to law enforcement and local leaders. Winner of the 2015 New England Business Association Innovation Award for nonprofits, Safe and Sound Schools continues to answer the growing needs of school communities with custom programs, assessments, and training, reaching schools in every state in the country. For more information, visit safeandsoundschools.org.



Media Contact:
Azia Celestino
Safe and Sound Schools

For most us, February 14th marks Valentine’s Day to celebrate with loved ones, but for many in Parkland, Florida, it is the day that marks the tragic loss of 17 innocent lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Anniversaries of trauma are difficult days. They evoke intense emotion and bring back traumatic memories from the tragedy.

It is sometimes anticipation of the anniversary that is worse than the actual day. This is not meant to say that the anniversary is an easy day, by any means. However, anticipation of the anniversary builds over time, so it lasts longer than the actual anniversary day.

Anticipation of the anniversary holds a lot of unknown. How will the day go? Will I be able to get out of bed? Will I be able to keep it together?

The anniversary and the time leading up to the anniversary is a time to pause and process your emotions. Recovery from trauma is a process. It takes time to move through the stages the grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Not everyone will experience all stages, and the order you go through them can vary. Recovery usually requires painful emotions be thoroughly processed. Journeys after trauma and loss will be different for everyone.

February 14, 2019 marks one year since 14 innocent students and 3 innocent teachers lost their lives to gun violence. It marks one year of nightmares and flashbacks for the surviving students, teachers, the MSD families, and the larger Parkland community.  It marks one year since a tragic Valentine’s day, where many started the school day like any other, left forever changed by mass violence.

To those impacted by the shooting, you may feel a rush of overwhelming feelings as you reflect on the past year and look ahead to next.Tragic flashbacks running through your head and you can’t seem to get away from your emotions. Outside pressure for what you will do or how you will mark the day may be overwhelming.

Pause. Breathe, and breathe again. These feelings are normal. If you wait a little longer and focus on your breathing, the uncomfortable emotions will eventually pass. When the sun rises on February 15, 2019, the first anniversary of the worst day of your life will pass too. It may feel like a weight has been lifted from your chest.

As you continue your recovery journeys, I send my thoughts, prayers and a few words of advice from a fellow survivor: Don’t compare your experiences. Make self-care a priority. Be kind to yourself.  Be patient with yourself. And remember, breathe.

Author: Lisa Hamp, Virginia Tech Survivor