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School Safety And Technology

School Safety And Technology

Michael Dorn and Sonayia Shepherd (School Safety Analysts) gives expert video advice on: How can cell phones impact school safety?; How can digital cameras impact school safety?; How can computers pose a threat to school safety? and more...

How can cell phones impact school safety?

Well the first obvious, instinctual feeling that people have is one can use a cell phone to call for help. However, in schools, we see cell phones being a little disruptive and texting as well, because a lot of times information gets out and it's not accurate. What can happen and we've seen this happen often, is that when you get too many people on their cell phones or texting at one time, it can bog down the system. And in that case, it can be very damaging. If used correctly, it can promote school safety if the administrator's using it to call for help. So that's the important thing about cell phones.

How can digital cameras impact school safety?

Digital cameras can be used to film or take pictures of your HVAC systems, and a lot of times, depending on the threat, especially in a biological incident such as an Anthrax incident, there may be a need to turn off your HVAC systems. Not a lot of people in the schools know how to do that, so a school can use their digital cameras by taping, filming or taking a picture of the shut-off valves for the HVAC systems and getting your maintenance to show them how to do that and to write that down and put it next to the picture. I mean, put it with their plans, so that anyone in the school can perform that function if need be. Also, a good way that digital cameras can be used is for mapping, as they can be used to take pictures of parts of the school that may pose a hazard. They can be used for example if there is graffiti on the school. You should take a picture of it and then remove it, so that you have evidence of that graffiti so that you can take it to your local gang awareness group and ask them what type of gangs are in your school. So they can be used in a variety of ways.

How can computers pose a threat to school safety?

Computers can pose a threat if filtering systems are not adequate. A lot of times what we see is filtering systems on school computers filter out pornography. However, schools should look at their filtering systems to ensure that it filters out gang sites, that it filters out hate groups sites, that it filters out sites that can show people how to make bombs and in sites that are inappropriate that directly relate to violence not just pornography. If students are not monitored, it can pose a threat because information can get out about the school that the school may not necessarily want out. It's important that students on computers are monitored and that filtering systems are adequate.

What steps should schools take to protect students from online predators?

Schools should definitely talk to parents about cyber threats. Schools should monitor students. They should monitor student activity online. There are a lot of organizations that are out there that can help schools in developing programs that promote safe surfing, that promote students' educational awareness of people out there that may pose a threat to the student, and also educating the students on what to look for. Educating them on sites to stay away from, educating them on how to blog appropriately, how to chat appropriately, and show them the signs and symptoms of people who may not be appropriate on the other end of the computer. But the real point here is to monitor students and to monitor their activities. Look at the sites they are going to, look at the people they are talking to on line, and to have that input with parents. To forge a relationship with parents and to talk to parents about monitoring their child's behavior on line.