Panel on gun violence to focus on keeping communities safe

  • Anne Thalheimer, of Holyoke, who is a survivor of a school shooting and affiliated with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, speaks during a vigil held in the wake of the Florida shootings Feb. 14 at First Congregational Church of Southampton, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Saturday, February 08, 2020

HATFIELD — In 1992, a student at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington shot and killed another student and a professor with a semiautomatic assault rifle.

Anne Thalheimer, now a Holyoke resident, survived the shooting and now raises awareness about gun violence. She will be delivering the keynote speech at “Beyond Gun Laws: A Conversation about Keeping our Community Safe and Preventing Violence,” a free event at Hatfield Elementary School on Feb. 11 at 6:30 p.m.

Hosted by HEADS UP — Hatfield Embraces Acceptance and Dismantles Stigma — the event features a panel discussion about school gun violence moderated by Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan.

The panel “aims to address the complexity and nuance around responses to mass shootings and the issue of community safety,” a statement reads.

Panelists include Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa, D-Northampton, Hatfield Police Chief Michael Dekoschak, Heather White, associate area director of the Massachusetts chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and Josh Miller, a professor at Smith College School of Social Work. Ava Carter-Meo, a Smith Academy student, will also speak about the effect of school shooter drills.

Greta Jochem can be reached at gjochem@gazettenet.com.