When you think of the United States Attorney’s Office, you think of serious crimes, indictments, and big-time jail sentences. You certainly don’t think of school safety.
Not so in South Carolina. For the past 19 years, the South Carolina U.S. Attorney’s Office has taken a strong leadership role in promoting safe schools, school violence prevention, and school crisis – emergency preparedness. And they’ve done so each and every year with a special statewide series of workshops on a wide range of school safety topics.
I had the opportunity to return to South Carolina recently as the keynote speaker for a four-city-in-four-day workshop tour of this beautiful state. The U.S. Attorney’s Office once again partnered up with the South Carolina Department of Education, South Carolina School Resource Officers Association, South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Association, Carolinas Institute for Community Policing, and related colleagues to take national and state-level speakers to four regions of the state.
This year’s series was particularly fun for me as I spoke at one of their early-on programs back in the mid-1990s. It is hard to express how rewarding it is for me to see true, meaningful partnerships at the federal, state, and local level. Everyone was focused on making each and every day a fresh and successful event for that day’s participants.
I spent a good deal of time and a couple meals getting to talk with Kevin McDonald, the Acting U.S. Attorney for South Carolina and First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the past three years in that office. Kevin is a very kind, soft-spoken, sincere, and intelligent professional who makes you feel right at home. You leave knowing that he has a sharp legal mind with an accompanying heart of sincerity and passion about his mission.
Kevin describes the recent school safety workshop series in this video:
It is especially rewarding in today’s world of budget cutting to see a school safety partnership, like this one in South Carolina, sustained on an annual basis for 19 straight years. It was clear that local educators and law enforcement appreciate this effort, which is coordinated by Becky Plyler, the dynamic Law Enforcement Coordinator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office who has coordinated this particular project since its on-set.
Tomorrow, I’ll share “Part 2” of my conversation with Kevin.
Meanwhile, what multi-agency and multi-level partnerships for school safety do you have in your school community?
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