USM hosts first national conference on interscholastic athletics/after school safety, security

USM hosts first national conference on interscholastic athletics/after school safety, security

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - People from around the nation are in Hattiesburg this weekend for a first-ever summit on after school and interscholastic safety and security. It's being hosted at Southern Miss' Trent Lott Center by the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4).

The three-day event began Saturday with a panel discussion featuring administrators from Hattiesburg, Laurel and Lamar County schools.

The conference is focusing on six issues, including emergency operations planning, identifying risks and threats and building a safety/security-aware culture.

"You've got school resource officers here, you've got principals, you've got athletic directors and you've got superintendents here, all with the same charge," said Chuck Benigno, superintendent of Laurel Schools. "And that's what can we do to make sure that all events that happen, everyone enjoys the event but also has a safe and secure environment," he said.

"This group is bringing the focus to after-school activities, which are a huge part of the school community and the school life that is a much-needed and necessary topic to address," said Dr. Amy Banks, management and program analyst with the Center for School Preparedness, Office of Safe and Healthy Students, U.S. Dept. of Education.

This summer, NCS4 will publish a list of "best practices" to address the issues discussed at the summit.