Are Security Measures Scaring Or Preparing Kids And Adults For A School Shooting?

ONE school shooting is too many!  What are schools across the country doing to improve school safety?  How are children handling school preparedness?  Do students feel safe in school?

In response to recent school shootings, school security measures may actually be doing more to scare kids than protect them. It’s worth examining the notion that in our attempt to prepare and secure our schools, we might be overlooking some basic steps schools can take to improve safety that don’t terrify kids.

Security suggestions should include:

  1. Police and other first responders take regular tours of school grounds so that they become familiar with building layouts.
  2. Use apps available to alert teachers and school leadership about potential threats.
  3. While protecting students’ rights, set up a collaborative environment where parents, staff and kids are free to report any troubling behavior or potential incidents.
  4. Fund more qualified counselors and social workers to help with student mental health issues.
  5. Train staff in threat assessment management.
  6. Invite experts to evaluate the safety of school buildings themselves. Take into consideration entrances and exits, fenced areas, secured doors, fire code rules, cameras, how visitors gain access (ID, sign in, etc.) and mandatory school safety training for all staff.
  7. Emergency procedures must be clear and simple, rehearsed and practiced.

Rather than live in fear and create anxiety for kids, be prepared, be ready!

FERPA and Social Networking

School district personnel need to ask the question:  Is your use of social networking FERPA compliant?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.  The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.  You can read more about FERPA at their website.

There are things schools may disclose with or without consent of parents or eligible students but it is important to know the distinction.

Teens are heavy users of social networking and do not seem to be overly concerned about giving out sensitive personal information. Yet educators must be vigilant about releasing personal student data.

Nothing we do on the web is private.  Find out about what’s protected under FERPA. Share some scenarios or guidelines that will help facilitate discussion and understanding amongst colleagues and parents.

Social Media ~ Impact on Learning

Does social media impact learning?  Let’s look at the positive and negative impact of social media on learning.

Positive impact for learning ~ digital communications skills that need to be mastered including texting, tweeting, and Instagramming can be strengthened.  Students are more willing to complete assignments when they can use technology to research and share information, communicate or create ideas.

Using social media can foster collaborative community learning environments.  Students have options for creating authentic, creative work through blogs, YouTube, or podcasts – just to name a few.  It is yet to be seen whether or not social media can improve grades.

Negative impact for learning ~ Using social media can cause overstimulation and lack of focus, cyberbullying and plagiarism, distraction to the point of failure, poor decision-making leading to a negative digital footprint, and lack of adequate cyber security to protect students.  In addition, students unable to navigate platforms and operating systems find themselves at a disadvantage.

When it comes to students using social media, the impact on learning can be both positive and negative.