Representatives from nine-area school districts in Montgomery County will come together today to discuss school safety and other education issues on the anniversary of the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
The public forum is hosted by the Dayton Unit NAACP and will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. today at the Dayton Public Schools Community Room, 115 S. Ludlow St.
Panelists include Richard Gates, Jefferson Twp. Local Schools superintendent; James Schoenlein, Kettering City Schools superintendent; Susan Gunnell, Huber Heights City Schools superintendent; Thomas Henderson, Centerville City Schools superintendent; Lori Ward, Dayton Public Schools superintendent; Kyle Ramey, Oakwood City Schools superintendent; Gerald Cox, director of staff and student services for Trotwood-Madison City Schools; Tony Thomas, assistant superintendent for Northmont City Schools; and Dave Jackson, superintendent for Northridge Local Schools.
The forum moderator will be Albert Jordan, retired Dayton schools principal and chairman of the NAACP’s education committee.
The questions will focus mostly on school funding, academic performance and school safety, Jordan said.
On Dec. 14, 2012, a gunman opened fire inside Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., killing 20 children and six adults. The incident reignited the country’s discussion on gun control.
Even though the local area hasn’t experienced a situation to the height of what took place at Sandy Hook, local school officials still need to be vigilant when it comes to keeping their students safe, according to Jordan.
“I assure you that when the situation at Sandy Hook took place, I bet every principal sat down and started wondering, could that have happened in my school? What can I do to make sure it doesn’t happen in my school? ” he said.
One of the top priorities a school should have is to ensure a student is in a safe environment to learn, said Derrick Foward, NAACP president.
“Too many of our nation’s children have been victims of the unthinkable horror of massive school shootings,” he said.
Foward and Jordan said they believe the school officials represented at the forum can learn from each other, regardless of their academic ranking with the state.
“It’s always important to try and get better as a team,” Jordan said. “It’s just as important to understand why you’re winning, as it is for you to understand why you’re losing.”