‘Safe & Loved’ Former Officer, Marine Promotes School Safety

Don Shomette is pictured presenting his “Safe & Loved” workshop before school administrators and law enforcement officials on July 12 at the LoGuidice Educational Center.

Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES hosted guest speaker Don Shomette for a course focused on his renowned “Safe & Loved” approach to ensuring school safety. The course is centered on improving school safety, academics and culture.

Shomette travels to hundreds of schools along the East Coast to transform and improve school safety by engaging with the audience and students. By evaluating how schools operate, Shomette addresses areas of strengths and weaknesses throughout the districts and directly focuses on correcting any issues.

As a former police officer, Marine and school resource officer, Shomette shares his experiences in many instances. He naturally connected with the audience as a man of many stories and anecdotes.

“People would be happy by the end of the day. So for me, what it changed was I never looked at safety as it being a standalone again. Safety is actually very holistic,” Shomette said. “If you’re succeeding academically, your safety will be better. If your culture is good, your safety will be a good thing. If your teachers are engaged, happy, and feel supported, there will be better school safety.”

This course was an excellent opportunity for Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES to establish further the positive culture implemented at every BOCES location. Teachers, principals, counselors, administrators, and more attended Shomette’s course July 12.

Shomette emphasized a crucial aspect in his presentation – for schools to become safe and nurturing places, students must feel confident in trusting the environment that fosters positivity and love.

“When I talk about safety, I’m thinking of physical safety, but I’m also thinking of emotional safety,” Shomette said.

Shomett’s visit to the LoGuidice Educational Center falls on the heels of E2CCB’s launch of its Anonymous Reporting System in association with Sandy Hook Promise. The “Say Something” program has been introduced at the majority of its component school districts and launched at all eight BOCES educational sites in May. The rollout of the Say Something-ARS was the first BOCES-led initiative of this scale in New York state.

The program is a preventative step toward decreasing violence. It is designed to teach students in grades 6-12 the life-long skills that will help them identify at-risk individuals in school and within the community.


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