M.A. Ferguson-Rich
Ohio.com correspondent

The Hudson Board of Education approved a $5,000 contribution to Community First, on behalf of the new Keep Hudson Safe Initiative, at its meeting this week.

Hudson resident William Cushwa made a presentation where he outlined the history of the initiative prior to the vote.

In February of 2013, a Keep Hudson Safe Forum was held at the high school, and about 150 people met to discuss concerns in the aftermath of the Connecticut shootings.

 Cushwa said that the forum pulled together citizens, city services, and both public and private schools to work towards safer Hudson schools and a safer community.

A plan of action was formulated at that meeting, Cumshaw said, and it was agreed that it would have to be a sustained, long-term effort.

The group has met regularly since February, and its current priority is the creation of a stand-alone website providing resources and information in the areas of mental health and wellness.

A second goal is to enhance the current Safe Schools Helpline.

It is not the group's intention to duplicate the services being offered by the helpline, but to create a wider base and include the entire community, not just those connected with the schools.

Cushwa explained that the initiative wishes to be involved in National School Safety Week in the fall, by perhaps hosting another forum and obtaining speakers.  They also intend to conduct activities in February for Mental Health Week.

 The initiative is seeking funding from private individuals, the city and the district.  They are under the 501 (c) 3 umbrella of Community First, so donations are tax deductible.

 Council member Patricia Engelman said that this is truly a community effort, and that the most successful approach to keeping our communities safe is to apply the maxim "if you see something, say something."