Eagle will host forum to foster community conversation on school safety


PITTSFIELD — Amid a recent swirl of concern about school safety, The Berkshire Eagle will host a public forum next month to help foster a community conversation about the issue.

The "Panel Forum on Gun Violence, School Shootings, Gun Safety and Solutions" will offer participants the opportunity to hear directly about the experiences of educators, students and members of law enforcement about these issues and how they address them.

It will run from 6 to 8 p.m. March 14 at Barrington Stage Company's Boyd-Quinson Mainstage in Pittsfield.

Confirmed panelists include:

• Tom Nadolny, Farmington River Regional School District superintendent, principal of Farmington River Elementary School in Otis and firearms safety instructor;

• Roberta Sarnacki, Otis Police chief, parent, educator and firearms safety advocate;

• Barbara Malkas, superintendent of North Adams Public Schools and veteran Massachusetts school administrator;

• Bryanna McKearney, Taconic High School senior and co-coordinator of a recent school walkout;

• Abby Mooney, Taconic High School senior and co-coordinator of a recent school walkout;

• Jayme McGuigan, Miss Hall's School senior and Pittsfield resident.

Eagle Community Engagement Editor Jenn Smith will moderate the panel discussion and a question-and-answer session.

Information about how to talk to young people about violence and safety will also be made available to audience participants.

The date of the forum coincides with a national walkout day being planned a month after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., but Smith said the event will be focused on hearing different perspectives and will not be about taking sides.

Families, school groups and community organizations are particularly encouraged to participate in the discussion.

"These may be uncomfortable topics for some, but people need a chance to come to learn, talk and think about these issues together as a community," Smith said. "We're glad to have Barrington Stage Company's support in hosting this exceptional group of panelists and encouraging a thoughtful, civil and engaging countywide dialogue."


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