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Parkland, Florida officials to brief Onondaga County School Safety Task Force on safety initiatives

Solvejg Wastvedt
WSKG News (file photo)

It was a year ago Onondaga County’s School Safety Task Force issued a set of recommendations meant to help schools stay safe, and the group is still working.

The Syracuse City School District is one district that’s taken the recommendations to heart. Porter Elementary School Principal Jennifer King-Reese said staff and students have embraced the safety training they’ve undergone in the past year.

"It’s important that our students feel safe, and our staff feels safe, and our families feel they are sending students to schools where safety is of the utmost priority," she said.

Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick said each school chooses what recommendations work for them, and he believes the task force has made a drastic improvement in the way people think about safety.

Going forward, there are new initiatives still coming online. For example, this school year is the first time the Extreme Risk Protection Order goes into place. It’s a newly created mechanism that allows school administrators, among others, to take guns away from people likely to hurt themselves or others.

“We’re going to over the next several weeks, training them on what to look for, how to apply for it, and if necessary, how to reach out to the DA’s office for assistance," said Fitzpatrick

Onondaga County Sheriff Gene Conway said meetings for the group are continuing.

"So that we can continue to discuss ideas that are out there, that we can bring experts in from other areas of the country that have experienced a critical incident and we can learn from them," said Conway.

Officials involved in the Parkland, Florida school shooting will share their perspective with the task force at a meeting Friday.