Position: Teacher Grant Facilitator
School: Broward County School District
School District: Broward County School District
City, State: Coral Springs, FL
Music that Describes Judy
Judy Bremner was nominated by her friend, Dawn Valli.
Ms. Bremner was a teacher at Sawgrass Springs Middle School in Broward County School District from 2005-2018. On February 14th, 2018, her world changed forever. During the school shooting at Stoneman Douglas, Ms. Bremner's school, a middle school that fed into the highschool, had also gone on lockdown. She had been barricading students behind the lab tables in case the shooter entered her campus, which was nearby.
Even though the shooter was finally captured, the panic was not over. There were children who were missing. One of them was a student who Ms. Bremner had taught the previous year. As the list of the deceased children and adults was revealed to the public, Ms. Bremner collapsed upon hearing his name. The student had lost his life helping fellow classmates escape. After the initial shock had worn off, Ms. Bremner sprang into action. She contacted a neighbor and friend of the student's parents to find out if they wanted the local VFW to attend his funeral in uniform, since he had wanted to attend West Point. This young man was a true hero.
At that point, Ms. Bremner decided she had to make a change in her career path, because this could never happen again. Although her decision to leave the classroom was bittersweet, she now serves in a role that can protect the lives of all students in Broward County. She now works for the District as the Broward STOPS Violence Grant Facilitator. In this capacity, she has facilitated the “Start with Hello” and “Say Something” curriculum to thousands of students in Broward County. Start with Hello teaches students to recognize social isolation and how to eliminate it by making connections. Say Something teaches students to recognize signs and signals of potential violence, especially within Social Media, and take that information to a trusted adult or report it anonymously through the SaferWatch, Fortify Florida App, or the Silence Hurts Hotline.
Since its implementation, the SaferWatch app has received 325 tips, with 11 of those tips containing information about potential acts of violence, which led to five arrests. The app has also had reports regarding three students who were contemplating suicide. This serves as proof that the programs are working. Ms. Bremner is clearly an ambassador for change when it comes to helping to solve the issue of school violence. She and her team, consisting of the Student Services Department, Grants Department, Office of School Climate and Discipline, and Mental Health Team at Broward County, are making headway in the fight for safer schools.
When asked why she left the classroom, Ms.Bremner's response was, “Because everyone has their ‘Peter,' and I vow to carry on his legacy. Something positive HAS to come out of all of this.”