Knowledge, of course, emanates from a source and can spread much as a pond ripple. Such was the case at Patuxent Valley Middle School on Tuesday night, when three guest speakers spoke out on the topics of law enforcement safety, fire/EMT safety, and cyber/internet safety.
Addressing a small but engaged audience, this event was part of the 2015 Parent Empowerment Academy series that is put on at the Middle School. This particular program was co-sponsored by a local community service organization, the Continental Societies (Southeast Howard/Laurel Chapter).
The gathering, held in the school's media center, included parents, the speakers/subject matter experts, the Continentals, school staff (most notably BSAP Liaison Marcus Nicks), and Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary (MD-13).
Those fortunate enough to attend were able to participate in timely discussions. The school's resource officer, Officer Laurita Cofield, did an excellent job fielding questions regarding law enforcement interaction strategies, stressing the importance of mutually respectful dialogue between citizens and police officers.
Mr. Brian Proctor, MFF/NREMT - Public Relations Specialist from the Office of the Fire Marshall, Howard County Fire and Rescue, delivered an insightful presentation that included several valuable fire safety tips. Remember - it's always good to have a pan lid handy to put out small kitchen fires. The cabinet above the stove caught fire? That is more of a conflagration and unless you have a fire extinguisher IN HAND, it is best to leave. Quickly.
Finally, let's call him "Mr. Smith," from a Department that rhymes with Bomeland Decurity, spent a few minutes discussing privacy and Internet usage. It was a more technical presentation on such matters as encryption but it included some common-sense reminders regarding not giving out identifying information online and that everything put online remains online, for all intents and purposes, forever. And yes, that includes social media. Also, Mr. Smith's children were in attendance and they put on an impromptu karate demonstration at the end of his talk.
Overall, it was an informative program for parents and students alike. Having the three distinct fields represented in one event was a smart concept. It would be a good idea for such a program to be replicated at other schools in Howard County, and beyond.
Stay tuned, as more will follow.