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Sandy Hook parent, Michele Gay, to share lessons learned from tragedy 

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The Security Industry Association (SIA), in cooperation with the Congressional School Safety Caucus, will host an important panel discussion on “Securing America’s K-12 Schools.” Safe and Sound Schools’ executive director and co-founder Michele Gay will be among the expert panelists discussing how communities can come together after a tragic loss and improve school safety. Gay will share her personal experience of losing her daughter, Josephine Gay. As a former teacher and involved parent, Gay will share the lessons learned from Sandy Hook, focusing on how it has positioned her to help school communities prevent and better prepare for school safety issues.

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WHO

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Michele Gay is joined by three other panelists: Guy Grace, Director of Public Safety for the Littleton, Colorado, school district, Robert Quinn of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and David Woodward of the Indiana Department of Education.

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U.S. Capitol Visitors Center
HVC-201
East Capitol St. and 1st St.
NEWashington DC

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017 at 12 p.m. ET during the SIA GovSummit public policy conference.

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INTERVIEW & PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES

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Michele Gay is available for interviews and photos. Please contact Martha Gonzalez Corona at mgonzalezcorona@safeandsoundschools.org to coordinate a time.

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To attend as registered press, contact Mickey McCarter, SIA communications manager, at mmccarter@securityindustry.org or 301-804-4704. Lunch is provided.

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About Safe and Sound Schools

Safe and Sound Schools is a non-profit organization founded by the parents who lost their children during the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. Winner of the 2015 SBANE New England Innovation Award for nonprofits, Safe and Sound Schools is dedicated to empowering communities to improve school safety through discussion, collaboration, planning, and sharing of information, tools, and resources. To get involved, visit www.safeandsoundschools.org.

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Many of our Safe and Sound Schools are already out for summer and my kids are literally counting the days until school ends here.  I have just about finalized our summer trips, camps, and activities, but there is one thing that still has me panicked a little.

Free time.

Yes, I said it. And I’m not the only one thinking it.  Our lives are highly structured during the school year between school, sports, music, art, church, family and social obligations.  What will my family do with the gift of their free time this summer?

I am picturing berry picking, swimming, reading (actual books), and playing games together.  But the reality is that each one of us is likely to spend a great deal of this newfound free time with our smartphones, laptops, and gaming devices.  So how do I help my family make the most of their free time, balancing time online and off?  And how do I ensure that the time they spend online is safe as well as fun?

We reached out to one of our favorite online safety resources, the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) for a list of tips and helpful resources for fun and safe summer online…

 1. Develop a family contract for online and electronic use. While a safety contract is great for kids, it’s also helpful for parents. In fact, for each set of rules, parents will have to make a set of promises, too. We believe online safety is a partnership, and it works better when parents and their children are in it together.

2. Monitor online usage and contacts. It’s good practice to friend and follow your kids on social media, but don’t stalk them. You can still protect your kids from the harms of the Internet while respecting their online space.

3. Be a good digital role model. Kids learn a lot from their parents, so model the type of behaviors you’d like to see your kids pick up. Curb you own bad digital habits, know when to unplug and show your kids how to collaborate and create online.

4. Share the screen. Spend time online together learning what interests your child and talking about what you discover and want to avoid along the way.

5. Spot trolls and temptations. We are in trying times online. Bad behavior such as cyberbullying, doxing, swatting and online harassment have made headlines. Fake news stories are in the forefront and online trolls have become increasingly more popular. It is important to teach your kids how to spot these trolls and instances of fake news. Educate them on reliable news sources and have them understand that just because something is on the internet, doesn’t necessarily make it true.

Some resources to check out…


Learn more about FOSI
FOSI offers a range of resources including the 7 Steps to Good Digital Parenting, Three Teachable Moments and Cleaning Up Your Digital Footprint tools.

Happy Fathers’ Day! Today is that one day a year where many of us wake up to homemade gifts, cards and under-cooked pancakes–which, under the circumstances, probably taste fabulous!

 It’s been almost five years since we lost our youngest daughter Josephine Grace at Sandy Hook School. The happiness of this day is always tinged by a feeling of loss and the pain of missing her.

As dads we are our family’s protectors, and our kids know that when their world seems difficult, we will be there for them. We fix broken bikes, build cool stuff and talk about strategies for handling the mean kid at school. Becoming a dad makes us all more aware of the dangers in this world. Before kids, we didn’t have much to worry about and protect; as fathers we have the most precious things in the world–our kids.

I’ve had many pre-dawn conversations with myself regarding what I could have done to protect my daughter Joey on that terrible day. When she was killed, I was at work 150 miles away. People tell me not to be hard on myself and that there is nothing I could have done. For my part, I never imagined that my child’s elementary school could be a place of danger and horror.

Each day we send our children off to school in the care of educators, administrators and public safety people. We have met many of these people; they are dedicated professionals who care about our children.  But the system is not perfect and as we have seen many times since Sandy Hook, there are gaps where someone with evil intent can cause harm.

In the partnership of administrators, educators, public safety people and parents, each of us plays an important role. As parents we are responsible for getting involved in our child’s school to ask tough questions, offer ideas and ensure that the school community is embracing a strategy for safety appropriate for the world we now live in. As dads we often find it’s easy to leave it to mom to handle the school matters; but we dads are an important part of the solution, an important part of the team. Come to the Safe and Sound website, become informed, and if you aren’t already, get involved at your kid’s school. When it comes to school safety, it takes all hands—dads included

God Bless all fathers today and every day.

Bob Gay

One County One Protocol’ Program Presented to School Safety Specialists

Learn more: Chesterton Tribune

School’s out, sun’s out, and for many families, it’s time to gear up for camp…