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Littleton officials at DHS Wednesday

by Merrie Leininger

Organizers of the School Safety Parent Symposium Oct. 20 want to stress to parents and other community members how vital it is for them to attend.

The program at Douglas High School will include keynote speakers Sheriff John Stone and Deputy Steve Davis of Jefferson County, Colo., who will speak on lessons they learned in the months after the shootings at Columbine High School and what other communities should look for to prevent such tragedies.

In addition, local law enforcement, juvenile and school district personnel will present what mechanisms have been put into place to prevent juvenile and school violence.

Organizers met Wednesday to solidify details for the symposium.

“Parents need to be involved. Some people suffer from the misconception that it couldn’t happen here, but the fact is it could happen here; it could happen anywhere,” Sgt. Stan Lamb said. “But if you have the information about what the school district and the sheriff’s office is doing, I think you will be in a better position.”

Douglas High School counselor Dori Draper said it’s not enough just for parents to come.

“The whole community is responsible for our kids,” Draper said.

Anyone who attends will be invited to sign up at the symposium to be a school volunteer. The more positive adult presence in the schools, the more likely students will be to come to them with their problems, officials said.

Volunteers are welcome at any of the district’s elementary and secondary schools.

Draper has organized child care at DHS during the program so parents with small children will be able to attend.

n Information for parents. The program, which is planned for 6:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m., at DHS will include break-out sessions that will allow parents to ask questions and get more detailed information.

The first session, “Signs and Symptoms of the Teen Avenger – What You Need to Know,” will include information gathered by sheriff’s office and school district personnel at a Western States School Safety Conference in Los Angeles this summer.

Douglas High School Principal Bev Jeans and Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School Principal Charlie Condron will describe the profile of a school shooter.

The second session, “Steps for Prevention- What You Need to Do,” will include information from Deputy Phil Lesquereux about rights and responsibilities parents have to know what their children are doing, who they are doing it with, and what is in their bedroom or vehicle.

“A lot of parents don’t think they can take things away from their kid. They think they will be intruding on their child’s rights,” Lesquereux said.

Parents will also learn how to help a child not be a victim of a bully and how to identify children that are bullies. Investigator Keith Logan will provide information about gang activity and juvenile violence the sheriff’s department is currently dealing with.

Personnel from Douglas County Mental Health, Juvenile Probation, the District Attorney’s Office and others will also be at the program to answer parents’ questions.

Transportation will be provided from the Lake. To make arraignments, please call Whittell High School Principal Howard Bennett at (775) 588-2446.