Members of local school communities and preparedness partners participated in a training session last week to learn how to best respond in crisis situations.

Educators, emergency-responders, school officials and even high school students attended the workshop held at the EMS Public Safety Complex in Howell Township. The seminar focused on school crisis management and ensuring seamless reunification and recovery procedures between parents and their children. The event was led by Dr. Melissa Reeves and Executive Director and Founder Michele Gay of the Safe and Sound Schools initiative. Gay tells WHMI the goal is to help prepare stakeholders for the unexpected.

The multi-disciplinary teams were proposed with real-life scenarios and participated in exercises, discussing what they felt was the best course of action. Gay brought a perspective to the seminar as a once-public school teacher, as well as the mother of one of the children who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Following the tragedy, Gay and another affected parent founded Safe and Sound Schools in 2013 in hopes of empowering and educating other communities.

In order to build schools’ safety and security, Gay feels those involved in a school crisis must be aware of available resources and of one another beforehand, so they are not faced with it for the first time at the crisis site. Gay says she was impressed by the number of stakeholders and the various groups that turned out for the workshop, as it speaks to their dedication for protecting the area’s schools and children. Pictured left to right; Dr. Melissa Reeves, Jennifer Kramer with the Livingston County Department of Public Health and Michele Gay. (DK)