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BCS Focuses on Safety, Security
BCS Focuses on Safety, Security
Posted on 09/24/2020
Tony Pustizzi, president of safety consulting firm Four Star Strategies, gave a firsthand account of his role as chief of the Coral Springs Police Department during the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida.By Tim Reaves
BCS Communications Department

As we return to in-person instruction, BCS continues to place safety and security for students and staff at the forefront of all operations.

On Wednesday, leadership from across the district joined Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office school resource officers (SROs) at the annual BCS Safety Symposium, held at Biltmore Church in Arden. Tony Pustizzi, president of safety consulting firm Four Star Strategies, gave a firsthand account of his role as chief of the Coral Springs Police Department during the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida. He detailed the police response and, crucially, described security and response protocols that could prevent or mitigate a similar attack.

“It was great to be able to participate in this presentation with our school administrators and staff yesterday,” said SRO Supervisor Lt. Kelly Ball. “As SROs this is a clear reminder to us the importance of our routine training in active shooter situations and that our ultimate goal is to protect the students and staff, and respond to the immediate threat. I am hopeful the teachers and administrators were able to take away some key points of simple safety measures to implement in their schools and classrooms that ultimately could save a student’s life, and help them be better prepared in a crisis situation.”

The symposium comes at an important time, as BCS has just completed district wide security assessments and is addressing the recommendations that have been made by TRC Consulting, a nationally recognized provider of security solutions.

“No matter how well you may think you have planned for safety and security, you can always do better,” said BCS Assistant Superintendent Joseph Hough. “We can never be 100 percent satisfied. Chief Pustizzi's experience with the events of Stoneman Douglas allows us to analyze our best practices with this horrible event and assess areas that we may not have given enough attention. Any plans we create, we have to supervise and refine those processes to ensure they are the very best they can be.”

“It was a very powerful reminder of the importance of school safety at every level, not just high school,” added Pisgah Elementary School Principal Jeanann Yates. “Mr. Pustizzi instilled the urgency of evaluating our current procedures and determining areas to strengthen.”

    Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin, shanon.martin@bcsemail.org, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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