Manhattanville Hosts School Violence Prevention Symposium

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Manhattanville College in Purchase will host the free school violence prevention symposium on Feb. 26.
Manhattanville College in Purchase will host the free school violence prevention symposium on Feb. 26. Photo Credit: File Photo

PURCHASE, N.Y. – Manhattanville College is set to host a roundtable discussion with several expert panelists entitled “School Violence Prevention Symposium: Are Our Schools Safe?” due to the Dec. 14 tragic school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

“We consider ourselves partners with school districts and other agencies within the region,” said Shelley Wepner, dean of the school of education at Manhattanville. “We feel that we’re all in this together and we want to do as much as possible to make sure that all of us are as aware as possible so that we can do what’s best by our children.”

The Feb. 26 event will focus on school security “from local, state and national perspectives,” plus “mental health concerns, educational law and how to empower and heal our communities,” a press release said.

It will be led by five doctoral candidates in the school of education and feature six distinguished panelists from throughout New York and Connecticut, including lawyer Frederick Dorsey, mental health expert Brian Farragher, North Salem Central School District Superintendent Kenneth Freeston, South Orangetown Central School District Superintendent Kenneth Mitchell, security expert Joseph Russo, and Michael Sellet, the regional safety coordinator for Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES.

The panel was put together by Renee Gargano, coordinator of Applied Researching Field Work for Manhattanville’s doctoral program in Educational Leadership, the doctoral students, and representatives from Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES.

Gargano spearheaded the event after Manhattanville College president Jon Strauss signed the College Presidents Gun Violence Initiative, which pledged to lead a campus discussion on gun violence.

“They worked together to really decide what would be an appropriate symposium and who would be really critical panelists to have for the symposium,” said Wepner. “I’m in awe of the distinguished panel that is going to come together and cannot wait to hear what they have to say. They complement each other in terms of what they will bring to the symposium.”

Questions will be asked by the five doctoral candidates to the panelists, then audience questions and closing remarks from Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES District Superintendent James Langlois.

Wepner said people will receive “a greater level of awareness of what already is being done and what can be done at schools from multiple perspectives.”

“Reflecting, Rebuilding, Revitalizing” is the slogan for the free and open event to the public. It will take place in the West Room of Manhattanville College’s Reid Castle from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and refreshments will be served.

In order to attend, those interested must RSVP to linda.putorti@mville.edu no later than Feb. 19. The event’s snow date is Thursday, April 4.

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