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Symposium Supports School Safety and Security
Symposium Supports School Safety and Security
Posted on 10/20/2021
The safety and security of students and staff always takes priority in Buncombe County Schools.Featured Photo: BCS Assistant Superintendent Joseph T. Hough introduces the 2021 Safety Symposium.

By: Benjamin Rickert

BCS Communications Dept.

The safety and security of students and staff always takes priority in Buncombe County Schools.

On Oct. 19, administrators from every school gathered with law enforcement and health care partners for the biannual Safety Symposium, held at Weaverville’s Brookstone Church. The event prepared school and community leaders to prevent and respond to safety issues of many types, with mental health at the forefront of this year’s topics.

“Buncombe County Schools continues to keep safety as the number one priority,” said BCS Assistant Superintendent Joseph T. Hough. “The symposium invites all of our school system partners to work together to continually improve the safety and security of our learning environments.”

During Wednesday’s event, keynote speakers - including Dr. Dominique Honeycutt of MAHEC - dove into tough national topics like depression and suicide, offering professional insight into the early warnings of a mental health emergency. Breakout sessions offered more focused discussion around mental health, and Principal Meg Turner shared lessons learned during last year’s remote evacuation scenario at Charles D. Owen High School.

“In the years between symposiums, the school district conducts an actual remote evacuation of one of the schools to a partnered community facility,” explained Hough. “We also continue to make capital, training, and operation changes recommended by TRC security assessments. TRC conducted its safety survey in 2019.”

While the symposium topics were heavy, school leaders were encouraged by the improvements this year’s gathering supported.

“It was a valuable time for our staff and partners to prepare for challenging scenarios and promote solutions for the wellbeing of our community,” Hough added.

    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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