FBI, Homeland Security kick off Colorado School Safety Summit

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THORNTON, Colo. — On Thursday, hundreds of school safety personnel representing nearly every major school district in the state gathered for the Colorado School Safety Summit in Thornton.

“We are pretty much looking at everything,” said Dr. Christine Harms, director of the Colorado School Safety Resource Center. “How do we prevent these sorts of things? How do we respond when they happen? And how do we pick up the pieces afterwards to helps students?”

Gov. Jared Polis, along with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security officials, addressed the group Thursday.

Preventing the next school shooting was top-of-mind for attendees.

”I worry about it every day,” said Heilit Biehl, a threat assessment coordinator with Adams 12 Five Star Schools. ”It’s not as black-and-white as you anticipate.”

One of the lecturers was Dr. Mariya Dvoskina, an expert in school safety.

Dvoskina stressed the necessity of having school resource officers develop relationships with students.

“Violence changes and adapts — kind of like a virus — so we have to adapt along with it,” Dvoskina said.

Dvoskina also said a student does not automatically become a threat because they play violent video games. They are much more likely to be a threat if those games lead them to be desensitized to violence.

“We look at those desensitized behaviors — how is a person desensitizing themselves to violence?” Dvoskina said.

The safety summit continues Friday.

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