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Tuesday, December 18 News

Community Postings: Kupchick and Devlin urge awareness of Safe Haven Law, Fairfield's Lopez named to lead School Safety and Crisis Response Team

In honor of the third annual Safe Havens Awareness Day on April 4, State Reps. Brenda Kupchick (R-132) and Laura Devlin (R-134) are urging public education on the importance of this lifesaving bill.

“We have to continue to spread the word that the Safe Havens law exists, especially to a new generation of people who were too young to be aware of when it was first passed. We can help these often vulnerable women from making a devastating decision if they know they have an option to surrender a baby safely that they otherwise cannot care for. I am committed to assisting any individuals or local organizations in raising awareness of the law,” said Rep. Kupchick.

“The aim of this day of is to bring awareness to those who might find themselves in difficult situations with a newborn baby, that there are safe options available if, for whatever reason, they are unable to keep their infant child. This little bit a knowledge can be lifesaving by preventing abandonment,” said Rep. Devlin.

Since its passage in 2000, Connecticut’s Safe Havens law has saved 33 infants from abandonment and near certain death. The parents, too, of these infants have been saved from possible incarceration and a life overshadowed by the crime of neonaticide, committed in a moment of panic.

Paula Gill Lopez, PhD, has been appointed as co-chair of the newly formed School Safety and Crisis Response Committee by the Connecticut Association of School Psychologists (CASP). Geoff Millenson, School Psychologist for Stratford Public Schools and alumnus of Fairfield's school psychology program, will join Gill-Lopez as co-chair. The School Safety and Crisis Response Committee has been formed in response to recent national events and the needs of families, schools, and school psychologists. The committee's charge is to coordinate public and private response efforts to crises in the state.

Gill-Lopez is associate professor and chair of the department of psychological and educational consultation, and director of the school psychology program at Fairfield University’s Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions (GSEAP). As a certified PREPaRE trainer, a national crisis intervention program, Dr. Gill Lopez is a leading expert in school crisis prevention and response, and a member of the National Association of School Psychologists. She will be initiating contact with school districts and mental health organizations across the state regarding PREPaRE training.

The PREPaRe curriculum, developed by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), provides school-based mental health professionals and educational professionals with school safety and crisis management training. According to NASP, PREPaRE “is one of the first comprehensive nationally available curriculums developed by school-based professionals with first hand experience and formal training.” The training model incorporates guidelines from The U.S. Department of Education Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) and the Department of Homeland Security Incident Command System (ICS). PREPaRE Crisis Curriculum focuses on the five stages of a crisis: prevention, mitigation, protection, response and recovery.

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More than 80 men and women from the Reserved Officer Training Corps (ROTC) in the South Carolina Corps of Cadets are being recognized for their academic and military leadership and excellence.

The Citadel ROTC departments provide cadets with officer training during college to allow them to begin their military careers as officers after graduation. Through the departments, which include Air Force ROTC, Army ROTC, Marines ROTC and Navy ROTC, The Citadel is one of the nation's proven producers of top military leaders. This spring, more than 100 cadets are expected to commission to all branches of the military.

Annually, the departments nominate their finest cadets and active duty students for awards. This year's award recipients were honored on Thursday, March 29 in McAlister Field House.

During the ceremony, Matthew Coppola (Army) of Fairfield received the Military Order of the World Wars Award. The Military Order of the World Wars Award is presented to one member in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th class from each branch of service for their diligence in demonstrating military excellence and outstanding accomplishments during the year.

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