Dr. Lou Marciani, director of the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) at The University of Southern Mississippi, came away from a White House-initiated panel discussion on gun violence encouraged by what he saw and heard.
Marciani participated in a White House event on Feb. 27 titled, “Taking Action: Creating Model Emergency Management Plans for Schools, Institutions of Higher Education and Houses of Worship.” The half-day discussion was held as a part of President Barack Obama’s plan to protect the nation’s children and communities by reducing gun violence.
“I felt like the Administration was very open to stakeholder feedback on developing model emergency plans,” said Marciani. “I stressed the importance of including annex emergency planning for the total school day. After-school activities affect 11 million boys and girls participating, as well as 336 million people coming onto high school campuses for events.”
More than 100 leaders from the faith, education, law enforcement, emergency management and mental health communities, as well as survivors of gun violence, participated in the event. Among the invitees was Natalie Hammond, a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., where 26 people – including 20 children – were killed in a shooting spree last December.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano moderated two of the three panels on the emergency management needs of schools, institutions of higher learning and houses of worship. The interactive discussions with leading experts in their respective fields focused on lessons learned from previous mass shootings and what should be included in the model plans currently being developed by the Obama Administration.
Marciani noted that NCS4 is working with the National Federation of State High School Associations and the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association to address safety and securing issues facing interscholastic athletic programs nationwide.
“We are currently working through the Mississippi High School Activities Association to do three feasibility studies at Oak Grove School District, Hancock County School District and Biloxi School District,” said Marciani. “We are gathering critical emergency management issues from the three districts in preparation for a national focus group to develop risk management training curriculum.”
Established in 2006, the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security was created to provide an interdisciplinary academic environment to further increase sport security awareness, improve sport security policies and procedures and enhance emergency response through evacuation, recovery operations and crowd management training.
For more information about NCS4 and the Sport Evacuation training course call 601.266.6183 or visit www.ncs4.com