If an active shooter or other emergency struck at a Warren County school, what should parents do to avoid making the situation worse? The answer is in a public service announcement video produced by students from Warren County Technical School.
A team of students from the county-run high school is winning praise for its project creating the video and a brochure for the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office on the role of parents in a school lockdown or shelter in place event.
“The assistance of students at Warren County Vocational Technical School has been invaluable in our efforts to secure the schools,” Prosecutor Richard T. Burke said, adding, “Their expertise has helped us get an important message out to parents so they can stay informed about the safety of their children.”
Burke was recently joined by Warren County Freeholder Director Richard D. Gardner and Freeholder Edward J. Smith at the high school for an unveiling of the video, which runs just under three minutes.
“The students did such a tremendously professional job. It was really exciting to see the work come to fruition,” Gardner said.
The project took about four months from initial script discussions to completion and involved a lot of hard work from the students, according to Patti Seugling, who teaches TV, Radio and Digital Media at Warren Tech. Seugling said seven of her students – Dana dePoortere, Kyli Engle, Sylvie Errickson, Matthew Figueroa, Anthony Godlewski, Sean Miller, and Julia Soares – created the video, while two students from Warren Tech teacher Vincent Fattorusso’s Graphic Arts program – Mary Kate Linn and Talia Wright – worked on the accompanying brochure.
The video includes Burke and retired Independence Township Police Chief Dennis Riley, past president of the Warren County Chiefs Association, discussing what parents should – and should not – do if they hear about an incident unfolding at their local school. The main message is to stay away and refrain from interfering, coming to the school, or even calling their child, as doing any of those things can hamper the official response or even put their child in graver danger.
According to Seugling, Riley and Burke provided an outline of the points they wanted to make, which she turned over to the students who then formulated a script, chose fonts for the graphics, and found stock images or took still images to be used in the video. For the video shoot the students traveled to the prosecutor’s office where they set up their equipment, including a makeshift teleprompter, recorded the two men, and then edited the multiple takes from three camera angles into the finished video, while others produced the brochure that accompanies the video.
“Though the video seems simple and straightforward, they really did a great job with what was not an easy task,” Seugling remarked.
The video can be seen on the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office website, www.wcpo-nj.us, in the “Prosecutor’s Blog” section at www.wcpo-nj.us/wordpress, as well as on the websites of many of the school districts in the county.