Fitch honors victims at safety assembly

« Austintown Neighbors

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Superintendent Vincent Colaluca told the students about the different precautions the school has always taken for stopping any criminal activity at their safety assembly. The schools have eight police officers on campus at all times, and they have two other staff members trained in law enforcement.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Lieutenant Tom Collins spoke at Fitch's safety assembly. He listed the different school shootings that have had an impact on the nation as well as the school shootings in Ohio to show that these events can happen anywhere.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Principal Chris Berni had Fitch's teachers and staff stand to be recognized during the school's safety assembly. He wanted to thank them for their hard work and dedication to the students.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Junior Gia DiRenzo read the names of the 17 people who were killed at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 at Fitch's safety assembly. She was joined by members of the student council. They led a moment of silence to commemorate the victims.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Austintown Fitch High School had a safety assembly in their gymnasium on March 14 to talk about safety and commemorate those who died in the Stoneman Douglas shooting. Pictured, Principal Chris Berni welcomed the students and spoke about safety.

By ZACK SHIVELY

zshively@vindy.com

Austintown Fitch High School honored the victims of the Majory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and talked about safety in their school with an assembly on March 14.

The school practiced their evacuation drill and met in the gymnasium for the assembly. During the drill, they had school staff drive trucks to blockade the road entrances to the school, as they would do during an actual event. The assembly featured speakers from student council, administration and campus safety.

The assembly began with principal Chris Berni speaking to the students. He talked about how tragic the events were and how the school focuses on keeping the students safe. He said the thing he loves about young people in the country today is how passionate they are about causes.

Junior Gia DiRenzo of the school’s student government read the names of the seventeen people killed in the shooting at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 14. The school then took a moment of silence to commemorate the victims.

DiRenzo said she was honored to be able to lead something in memory for the victims.

“Students at Fitch should know that something like that could happen anywhere,“ she said. She also said the students as a whole need to be more aware of the precautions taken to stop and prevent a shooting.

Superintendent Vincent Colaluca spoke more about school safety and thanked the Fitch and middle school student councils for helping facilitate the conversation about safety at the schools.

He spoke about the precautions the school has taken for safety. They have a system that scans the licenses of guests to the building. They also have police officers in all the buildings, a patrol officer, two resource officers, a D.A.R.E. officer and two other staff members with backgrounds in law enforcement, totaling to 10 people with police training on the campus at all times.

He said Austintown is committed to student safety. They have a safety committee to talk about different avenues for ensuring safety. They also have a safety hotline and urge students to report anything suspicious or if a student needs help in any way.

Lieutenant Tom Collins then spoke. He listed the names of other school shootings that made national news, such as the ones at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech. To speak to DiRenzo’s point that these events can happen closer to home, he read a number of high school shootings in Ohio.

He told the students that the police force trains for an active shooter situations through a simulation. He also explained that the students need to help take preventative measures with the safety hotline.

Berni finished out the assembly by having the teachers stand to be thanked by himself and the students. His wife teaches at the middle school, so he gets to see how much care and preparation goes into daily planning. He wanted to thank them for their work and dedication, especially under the circumstances of events like those in Parkland.

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