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Will County public officials examine students’ safety needs

jbt 030918PLAINFIELD – A group of Will County public officials met last week to examine how the community addresses the safety of students.

State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) applauded the efforts taken by community stakeholders to be proactive in preventing school violence. She was joined by several elected officials, school administrators and area police chiefs at the forum. 

“We need to work together to create a school atmosphere that promotes our children’s general well-being. Schools should be a safe place,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

The group discussed the use of School Resource Officers and Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton said he is studying the cost of giving all local schools their own SRO.

Joliet West High School has formed a group comprised of teachers, social workers and deans to identify changes in student’s behavior patterns. All school districts that participated cited their close relationships with community police departments.

“Providing open and honest discussions with our school communities makes us safer,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This meeting will help us continue to work together to ensure our children can focus on their education and feel secure in their schools.”

Other elected officials at the meeting include State Representatives Natalie Manley and Larry Walsh Jr., Crest Hill Mayor Ray Soliman and Romeoville Mayor John Noak.

School administrators include Dr. Cheryl McCarthy, Ilandus Hampton, Teresa Bibson and Brian Shaw of JTHS 204; Dr. Lane Abrell and Tom Hernandez of Plainfield 202; Laura Johnston of IPSD204; and Tamara Mitchell of Joliet Elementary 86.

The police chiefs include Brian Benton of Joliet, Jeff Burgner of Oswego, Aaron Klima of Shorewood and Mark Turvey of Romeoville.

“I’m pleased with the discussion at this meeting. Conversations like this allow us to come up with creative solutions in a changing world,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

Sen. Bertino-Tarrant

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49th Senate District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Associated Representatives: Mark Batinick; Natalie A. Manley

Committee assignments: Appropriations II; Education (Chairperson); Labor; Licensed Activities and Pensions; Transportation.

Biography: Lifelong educator; former Will County superintendent and secretary of Will County Regional Board of School Trustees; B.A., Illinois State University; MS, University of St. Francis; EdD., Loyola.