The state of student safety

District administrators are under immense pressure from parents to keep their children safe and are investing money in school safety initiatives. Communities have shifted from the belief that “it can’t happen here,” to doing everything they can to prevent it from happening.

Twenty years ago, the concerns about student safety were about preventing classroom misbehavior, physical bullying, fighting, and drugs. Now, it’s much more complex and the stakes are higher. We are literally talking about life and death issues for our students. What has changed in recent years to explain this increase in personal self-harm, suicide, and school violence?

Related content: 6 reasons we’re using a student safety platform…Read More

Districts are using tech to prevent school violence

School violence regularly occupies news headlines, turning students into activists as they demand gun control and call on lawmakers and education stakeholders to drastically improve school safety.

This disturbing trend, including the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and the Nov. 14 shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif., has prompted many districts to turn to technology solutions to put an extra layer of safety measures in schools.

Tools that monitor social media for threats, anonymous reporting systems, and databases to track and identify potentially preventable patterns among shootings are growing in popularity as educators recognize the importance of technology in preventing school violence.…Read More

6 tools to support school safety efforts

As teachers and students return to school across the country, thoughts range from nervous excitement to worries about how to keep school buildings–and the people in them–secure.

Last year’s school shooting in Parkland, FL sparked a massive movement, including student lie-ins and protests, focused on gun control and the irrefutable point that students should not have to worry about injuries or death when walking in school hallways or sitting in classrooms.

As students at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School pointed out, they aren’t the site of the first school shooting, and unfortunately, they didn’t expect to be the last. In fact, shortly after the Parkland shooting, another school shooting occurred in St. Mary’s County, MD. And earlier this month, a male high school student in Oklahoma stabbed a female classmate, allegedly because she declined to go out on a date with him despite his repeated efforts.…Read More

SEL should be an easy sell for U.S. schools and districts

In light of tragic events that have put a spotlight on school safety issues, it’s more important than ever to understand the value of students’ social and emotional learning (SEL). While many districts have started conversations about SEL and its correlation to student success, it’s time to start acting.

The majority of students face daunting socioeconomic and emotional pressures. An alarmingly high number of students experience trauma at home, and their attitudes towards learning can vary due to these outside factors. In fact, studies show that up to 60 percent of all high school students are “chronically disengaged” from their own learning.

Our constantly evolving digital world is another factor that plays into student achievement. Cyberbullying has become more and more common, and a remarkable 20 percent of middle school students reported seriously contemplating suicide in a survey conducted by the Cyberbullying Research Center. Although these statistics are frightening, districts are finding ways to implement support into curriculum to avoid these and other tragedies.…Read More

How Seminole County Public Schools keeps 66,000 students safe every day

Today, more so than ever, school administrators must be prepared for all types of emergencies, and to do this, they need help. Of course, you can’t be 100-percent prepared since an emergency is unexpected and things change. However, there are ways to ensure your school is as prepared as it can be, so when the time comes everyone knows what to do to help mitigate the situation.

In schools, active shooter incidents typically come to mind first, based on the news headlines we see daily, but there are a lot of other incidents to prepare for. For example, regular emergency responses that take place include:

• Medical emergencies such as a heart attack, lethal allergy, seizure, or critical injury
• Fire in a chemistry lab or cafeteria
• A missing student
• Violence against teachers or amongst students
• Illegal substances or potential weapons on site
• Non-emergency injuries…Read More

Blackboard launches New Learning Experience platform

Integrated platform enables personalized learning, streamlined communication with family and community engagement, and unified workflows

Blackboard has launched a new K-12 platform for districts and schools that brings together institutions, parents, teachers, and learners in an integrated approach that addresses fundamental requirements for student success including school safety and security, family and community engagement and personalized competency-based learning.

Blackboard’s offering combines multiple products, integrations, and professional services that can be deployed individually or as a comprehensive solution.

Technologies include: Blackboard Mass Notifications™ (formerly Blackboard Connect™), Blackboard Web Community Manager™ (formerly Blackboard Schoolwires™), Blackboard Mobile Communication App™ (formerly Blackboard Parentlink™), Blackboard Social Media Manager™ (formerly Sociability™), Blackboard Collaborate™, Blackboard Blackboard Open Content (formerly xpLor), and a choice of Blackboard’s leading learning management systems: Blackboard Learn™ or Moodlerooms™ and their mobile apps for students and teachers.…Read More

Reducing school emergency response times with X-ray vision

Recent high-profile school emergencies have brought school safety to the forefront of the national conversation once more. Across the country, communities are debating the merits of a wide range of solutions, from staffing schools with armed guards and arming teachers, to instituting video monitoring of school buildings and grounds.

Cellular phone use in schools is prevalent, and some parent groups advocate for use of this popular technology because it can ensure mobile communications both indoors and outdoors. Most cellular emergency systems link student cell phone numbers and school eMail addresses together in order to broadcast emergency alerts. However, cellular coverage often varies by school district, and cellular technology cannot adequately locate mobile phone users indoors.

Video surveillance is another popular security enhancement to schools. Video has long been used to monitor school grounds, offering superior situational awareness to help first responders address emergencies. Cameras serve a dual purpose by capturing video footage during emergencies, and by deterring violence. However, CCTV systems do require ongoing staffing and can be costly for smaller schools.…Read More

The latest innovation in bulletproof school gear

A Marion, Ohio, man has designed what he believes is a desk uniquely suited to protect students from intruders, the Huffington Post report. Dave Hollenbach, a graphic artist, says he may have the first patent pending for a bulletproof desk that could grow with students throughout the years. The desk is adjustable by height, so that students can take it with them from kindergarten through commencement, WBNS-TV reports. The model protects students from the ground up, and it can double as a bunker if used with bigger desks, according to the outlet. The desk can can withstand up to 30 rounds of shots from a handgun and an assault rifle and could cost up to $700…

Read the full story

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Duncan: Hard to teach kids scared of being killed

“The vast majority of teachers don’t want guns in the schools,” Duncan said. “They want more social workers, counselors, mental-health services, after-school programs.” (Albert H. Teich / Shutterstock.com)

Too many students worry more about being killed by a gun than learning in the classroom, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said on Jan. 17, as he cautioned that firearms alone do not make schools safer.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Duncan said he understands the urgent concerns over school safety in the wake of last month’s shooting in Newtown, Conn., which left 20 students dead. He called the 23 executive orders that President Barack Obama signed Jan. 15 a move in the correct direction but emphasized that they alone were not enough.

“This was only a first step. We need a lot less children being shot dead. We need a lot less children living in fear,” he said, urging leaders to listen to teachers.…Read More

Share With 911: Empowering the school community to keep kids safe

Sharewith911 may just be the best solution I’ve seen for improving school safety, says Christopher Dawson for ZDNet Education. And it’s incredibly simple, leveraging ubiquitous classroom and consumer technology. I took a lot of flack before the holidays when I called on schools to roll out simple, low-tech physical security measures to improve student safety in the wake of the Newtown school shooting. Although a number of readers thought I was politicizing a tech blog (I wasn’t), the article was important, in my opinion, because it addressed the idea that school safety doesn’t have to be all about ID cards or RFIDs integrated with student information systems. Instead, as with all things in education, we need to look at the most effective tools and solutions, regardless of their technical wow-factor (or lack thereof). More importantly, though, the article led the folks at Share With 911 to reach out and tell me about the new service they’re rolling out this year. Share With 911 is brilliant, both in its simplicity and its game-changing ability to empower both school staff and emergency personnel to quickly and proactively act and communicate in a variety of emergency situations…

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Leaders eye school safety plans after Connecticut attack

“It’s just very difficult to be able to … eliminate all those risks,” said Rick Johnson, superintendent of the Mahomet-Seymour Community Schools in Illinois.

The mass killing inside a Connecticut elementary school has educators across the country reviewing their school security measures, reassuring parents, and asking, “What if?”

“Every principal will be going through their own protocols, the things they do on a daily basis to protect their students and staff,” said Dr. Will Keresztes, associate superintendent for student support in the school system in Buffalo, N.Y.

Amid grief and condolences for the 20 children fatally shot Dec. 14 by a gunman in Newtown, Conn., school leaders nationwide sent eMails, text messages, and phone recordings assuring parents and children their schools are safe, while acknowledging the difficult balancing act in keeping that promise.…Read More

School safety resources from the eSN archives

Here are some resources from the eSchool News archives that might help.

In the aftermath of the terrible tragedy in Newtown, Conn., that claimed the lives of 20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, school leaders are re-examining their school safety measures and procedures.

Here are some resources from the eSchool News archives that might help. (To read these stories, click on the headlines.)

Columbine’s lessons still sharp, a decade later…Read More