Back To School: Student Safety Is Top Priority In Hallandale Beach

By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper

August 18, 2022

This week, schools opened around our State. It was wonderful going out to Gulfstream Academy K-8 and attending their Community Resource Event. The new/old Principal Carlton Campbell (he used to be the Principal of Hallandale High over 15 years ago) and his staff put together an amazing event with the help of our City and many partners.

In addition to Parks and Recreation, our PAL Volunteers were out signing up students. The Hepburn Center was also signing up and arranging transportation for our After School Tutorial Program. This program actually partners directly with the School to ensure that our curriculum matches the curriculum of the School. It’s a great way to have your students work on homework rather than simply going to daycare to play. Plus, the kids do get a chance to enjoy the amenities OB Johnson Park has to offer.

Smatts Tennis School was in attendance and gave away 5 scholarships. Broward College Legal Aid, Early Learning Children’s Coalition, Mental Health Partners, Insurance Providers, Family Central, Hispanic Unity and many other County wide Programs were on hand.

I also had a chance to meet up with a surprise visitor, Principal Howard from Hallandale High. He too has been busy opening the school. The Hallandale High Marching Band provided opening ceremony entertainment. As always, the students were amazing.

Hallandale Beach students can attend school right within our boundaries. We are fortunate to have resources including a Preschool Teacher Training Center right here that also provides daycare. Our local schools like many others are truly in need. They are always looking for volunteers, donations and corporate partnerships. As the saying goes it takes a village.

Student Safety

With School Violence in the back of every parent’s mind, I was there to reassure every child and parent that our City’s Police Department is committed as always to safety. We also had two officers in attendance as well as our Fire and EMS paid students a visit. We do have SRO's stationed at the schools. More importantly, we continue to invest in High School Active Shooter Training right in our Schools.

Commissioner Michele Lazarow and I had the unique honor and privilege to attend the High School Active Shooter Training before break. Not only did we attend, we participated. It is simply amazing and inspiring to see what our officers do on a day to day basis to keep us all safe.

We all need to do our part. Last year, we sent a loud message that we will not tolerate School Violence. School Bullying will not go unanswered by Our Police Department. While schools are separate entities, they host all of our children. As a Commission, we take the oath to protect our City and all of its inhabitants very seriously.

The last incident at the School was an internal breakdown of all communications. The responsibility does fall on the shoulders of the Principal. We are very fortunate that they have replaced the Principal with a 30-year Veteran. This does not mean there is no work to be done. Parents and teachers need to work together. If your student needs help, they need to ask for it. Teachers need to make sure they are tuned into all of their students.

Bullying is really sad and it will never go away. We all know or have been bullied at one time or another. Violence is not the solution and that needs to be taught. Parents make sure you know what your kids are doing online and on their phones. Phones are a privilege you grant. If they are not being respected, take them away. If your child is a victim you need to report incidents to a Teacher, Principal or an SRO.

Last meeting, I recognized and declared the month as Suicide Awareness Month. If you see something you need to say something. There are signs. We often see them, but do not say or do anything. Get to know your kids’ friends. If they need mental help, get it for them. If you cannot afford it, there are many resources. A new helpline has been established, “988” is the three-digit, nationwide phone number to connect directly to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. By calling or texting 988, you’ll connect with mental health professionals with the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. https://www.fcc.gov/988-suicide-and-crisis-lifeline

It was alarming to hear that the large amount of deaths by suicide in children are with guns here in Florida. Gun Violence is real and getting worse. The Suicide Prevention Organization has been distributing gun locks but also bumper stickers. If you think about it, it’s right on point. “IT IS EASIER TO CHILD PROOF YOUR GUN THAN BULLET PROOF YOUR CHILD." Please keep your guns locked. Keep them up and away from your children. Illegal guns will be out there, but how many senseless deaths does it have to take, due to parents letting their kids access firearms?

As always, I am available for your questions, concerns and ideas to help make our City a better place. Please feel free to reach out to my office at: (954) 457-1318. On my cell/text at: (954) 632-5700. Or email me at: jcooper@cohb.org