D.A.R.E. America http://www.dare.org Empowering Children to Lead Safe and Healthy Lives Wed, 01 Oct 2014 02:25:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Law enforcement and school officials address school safety http://www.dare.org/law-enforcement-and-school-officials-address-school-safety/ http://www.dare.org/law-enforcement-and-school-officials-address-school-safety/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 02:21:41 +0000 http://www.dare.org/?p=15864 This week law enforcement agencies and school officials across four states are gathered in Biloxi to review safety plans and help improve safety and schools. (Photo source: WLOX) From WLOX 13. BILOXI, MS (WLOX) – Schools are supposed to be safe places for teaching and learning. Unfortunately these days students are sometimes caught in the middle […]

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This week law enforcement agencies and school officials across four states are gathered in Biloxi to review safety plans and help improve safety and schools. (Photo source: WLOX)

From WLOX 13.

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) – Schools are supposed to be safe places for teaching and learning. Unfortunately these days students are sometimes caught in the middle of things such as violence, bullying, drugs, or gang activity.

“It’s very important that departments work proactively so they have the planning in place and processes in place to be able to react effectively to situations going on in schools today,” the International Association of Chiefs of Police Project Specialist Sabrina Rhodes said.

WLOX.com – The News for South Mississippi

Law enforcement officials from Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia and Alabama have come together in Biloxi with school officials to look over their plans and make changes if needed to ensure schools are as safe as possible.

“We deal with student confrontations on a daily basis and those confrontations can be verbal to the point of physical,” Biloxi Public Schools Director of Student Services Glenn Dedeaux said.

Dedeaux said having school resource officers on campus is a big help in deterring violence and crime.

By reviewing their own plans and looking at others, police believe they can leave with an even better plan of action for any situation. (Photo source: WLOX)

By reviewing their own plans and looking at others, police believe they can leave with an even better plan of action for any situation. (Photo source: WLOX)

“That police presence at the schools is very helpful in making sure students are safe and students feel safe when the school resource officer is there,” Dedeaux said.

Biloxi schools also have a close relationship with the Biloxi Police Department.

Sgt. Jackie Rhodes said, “It’s very important to keep the communication going between the schools, between the police, between the fire department, ambulance services, hospitals, so if something happens at a school we are all on the same page.”

By reviewing their own plans and looking at others, police believe they can leave with an even better plan of action for any situation.

“We are hoping they will have a couple of solid things they can take back to their jurisdictions to be able to look at how they can better improve their school safety on their campuses,” Sabrina Rhodes said.

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‘Staying Safe in Cyberspace’ talk for parents set http://www.dare.org/staying-safe-in-cyberspace-talk-for-parents-set/ http://www.dare.org/staying-safe-in-cyberspace-talk-for-parents-set/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 02:10:32 +0000 http://www.dare.org/?p=15861 The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Computer Crimes Unit will be presenting an in-depth presentation on Internet safety for parents at Westwood Regional High School in Washington Township on Oct. 9. From Cliffview Pilot. “Staying Safe in Cyberspace – Internet Safety for Parents,” is “a comprehensive examination of today’s Internet and the dangers that lurk inside […]

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The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Computer Crimes Unit will be presenting an in-depth presentation on Internet safety for parents at Westwood Regional High School in Washington Township on Oct. 9.

From Cliffview Pilot.

“Staying Safe in Cyberspace – Internet Safety for Parents,” is “a comprehensive examination of today’s Internet and the dangers that lurk inside chat rooms, instant messages, e-mail and blogs,” organizers said.

It begins at 7 p.m..

The presentation is an integral function of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Computer Crimes Unit, which “hopes to raise parents’ awareness of online predators and the dangerous content that is only a mouse-click away from their child’s grasp.”

It includes “vivid graphics and streaming video clips” in showing “the seedier side of the Internet,” followed by a discussion of ways parents can protect their children.

“Protecting them on the World Wide Web, a truly unregulated atmosphere, is a tremendous task that needs to begin at home, where children are indeed most vulnerable,” Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said.

Molinelli’s detectives look to both detect and deter Internet crime — in part, by including educational initiatives.

“It is their hope that by having skilled, well-versed computer crimes Investigators, coupled with parents armed with a working knowledge of the Internet and its pitfalls, the children of this County are well-protected while exploring the World Wide Web,” the prosecutor said in a release..

EVENT INFO: Washington Township Officer Heather Castronova (201-664-1140).

MORE INFO about Internet Safety: Lt. Jason Love (201-226-5525 orJLove@BCPO.net) or Educational Outreach Coordinator D/Sgt. John DeVoe (201-664-2346 x1152 or JDeVoe@BCPO.net).

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Students to host PeaceJam conference against violence and bullying http://www.dare.org/students-to-host-peacejam-conference-against-violence-and-bullying/ http://www.dare.org/students-to-host-peacejam-conference-against-violence-and-bullying/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 01:50:19 +0000 http://www.dare.org/?p=15858 Participants at an anti-bullying rally hosted by PeaceJam Southeast Conference last year raise their hands in support of a speaker on the steps of the Old Capitol. (Photo: Michael Schwarz/Special to the Democrat ). From Tallahassee Democrat. For the sixth year in a row, the struggle for peace in schools will continue with student-centered discussions […]

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Participants at an anti-bullying rally hosted by PeaceJam Southeast Conference last year raise their hands in support of a speaker on the steps of the Old Capitol. (Photo: Michael Schwarz/Special to the Democrat ).

From Tallahassee Democrat.

For the sixth year in a row, the struggle for peace in schools will continue with student-centered discussions in Tallahassee.

Next month PeaceJam Southeast will host its annual Slam, which serves a prelude to the actual PeaceJam Conference in the spring. Students will learn how to engage in service projects and lend their voices to the community during the Slam.

The Slam serves as the kickoff for PeaceJam Southeast, said affiliate director Rody Thompson.

“The Slam is very basic,” Thompson said. “What is PeaceJam? We look at various issues identified by PeaceJam as global issues. There are also a few identity-development topics. Who are you and what do you bring to this program?”

This year’s Slam, which takes place at 8 a.m. Oct. 24, is on a Friday for the first time in the event’s history. Thompson said she’s hoping to see almost 400 students at this year’s Slam. Both the Slam and the annual conference are open to students in eighth through 12th grade.

“We’re going to have a larger crowd than usual,” she said. “It’s mostly youth from Leon County, but we’re going to have people from Miami, Pensacola, Jacksonville and others from around the state. It should be a pretty fun opportunity to connect and make some friends and see PeaceJam is all over, not just in one school.”

PeaceJam Southeast is based at Florida State University at the Center for Leadership and Social Change. About 75 students from the university assist each year with the conference.

Since 1996, PeaceJam has battled against all forms of violence, including bullying. Leon County Schools has been a partner with PeaceJam for years, and frequently lends it students to help out with the program’s anti-bullying message.

Last year, district divisional director Rocky Hanna spoke during an anti-bullying rally held at the Old Capitol during the conference.

“Bullying has changed,” Hanna said last year. “There’s the physical part and then there’s social media. Jurisdiction for schools when it comes to bullying has changed. Kids can be bullied or harassed on their cellphones or on social media. It is an added responsibility for the schools; some would say it’s none of the school’s business.”

The state defines bullying as “inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress.” School districts already have to adopt policies prohibiting bullying and other harassment in schools. The House in 2013 passed HB 609, which means cyberbullying — online harassment through social media — is included under the state’s anti-bullying law.

The House bill extends protection from bullying when it is done using computers connected to the Internet. The bill had been amended to clarify that bullying using computers off school grounds has to “substantially interfere with or limit” a student’s in-school activities to be covered. It’s also covered if it disrupts the educational process. Sixteen other states’ anti-bullying laws already address cyberbullying.

Of course, PeaceJam’s goals include more than just putting an end to bullying.

The conference typically include well-known speakers who are advocates of nonviolence. Last year’s speaker was Oscar Arias Sanchez, who used to be president of Costa Rica. Sanchez was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his efforts to end violence in Central America. This year’s Nobel laureate will be announced at the end of the Slam.

The spring conference draws anywhere between 500 and 600 students, Thompson said. The event lasts all weekend.

“This is a large and comprehensive weekend,” she said. “The students who are coming have been preparing all year. There are students literally all over the world doing this. Students are coming from every Tallahassee high school as well as a few middle schools.”

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Community Safety and Info Night to be Held Thursday http://www.dare.org/community-safety-and-info-night-to-be-held-thursday/ http://www.dare.org/community-safety-and-info-night-to-be-held-thursday/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 01:41:21 +0000 http://www.dare.org/?p=15855 From Londonderry News. A Community Safety and Information Night will be held on Thursday, October 2, 2014, from 6 until 8 PM. The event, held in the Londonderry High School Cafeteria, will be an informational forum on substance misuse and mental health issues. The evening will be an interactive, informational program for students, parents, school […]

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From Londonderry News.

A Community Safety and Information Night will be held on Thursday, October 2, 2014, from 6 until 8 PM. The event, held in the Londonderry High School Cafeteria, will be an informational forum on substance misuse and mental health issues.

The evening will be an interactive, informational program for students, parents, school staff, and the community at large. It will provide an opportunity to learn about this growing problem, have questions answered, and hear what steps are being taken to address these issues.

The Greater Derry Public Health Network, the Londonderry Police Department, and other community partners will host the event. The forum will include health professionals, law enforcement, mental health professionals, and representatives from diversion programs and community organizations.

For more information contact the Greater Derry Public Health Network Regional Prevention Coordinator, Pam Santa Fe, at pamsantafe(at)derrynh.org or call 603-845-5541.

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Coon Rapids, school district renew contracts for police liaison http://www.dare.org/coon-rapids-school-district-renew-contracts-for-police-liaison/ http://www.dare.org/coon-rapids-school-district-renew-contracts-for-police-liaison/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 01:30:25 +0000 http://www.dare.org/?p=15851 From ABC Newspapers. The city of Coon Rapids and Anoka-Hennepin School District 11 have renewed agreements to bring police liaison officers into elementary, middle and high schools. The Coon Rapids City Council approved renewal of the two contracts for the 2014-2015 academic year on Sept. 16. One is for police liaison officers at Coon Rapids […]

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From ABC Newspapers.

The city of Coon Rapids and Anoka-Hennepin School District 11 have renewed agreements to bring police liaison officers into elementary, middle and high schools.

The Coon Rapids City Council approved renewal of the two contracts for the 2014-2015 academic year on Sept. 16.

One is for police liaison officers at Coon Rapids High School, Crossroads Alternative High School and Coon Rapids and Northdale middle schools as well as presenting the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program as part of the fifth-grade health curriculum at Adams, Eisenhower, Hamilton, Hoover, Mississippi, Morris Bye and Sand Creek elementary schools.

According to Capt. Paul Ireland, Coon Rapids Police, the department has operated the school liaison program since 1974, while the DARE program began back in 1989.

DARE is taught by police officers in the classroom to promote self-respect, self-worth and give young people the ability to say no to drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

The 2014-2015 contract, through which the school district will pay the city $182,388, is a 2 percent increase over the prior contract, Ireland told the council.

The second contract covers a police liaison officer at the district’s River Trail Learning Center at L.O. Jacob School, which is a full-day special education program for K-12 students who have a disability, current individualized education plan, or IEP, and significant emotional or behavioral needs.

The River Trail contract totals $72,173, also a 2 percent increase over the 2013-2014 year.

The purpose of the contracts is to:

–Promote crime prevention in district schools.

–Provide drug abuse education.

–Coordinate activities between the school district, criminal justice system and social services.

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‘Officer Batman’ seeing program through to end http://www.dare.org/officer-batman-seeing-program-through-to-end/ http://www.dare.org/officer-batman-seeing-program-through-to-end/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 01:25:08 +0000 http://www.dare.org/?p=15847 Officer Dan Simcox hands a diploma to Chans Strickland during the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program graduation ceremony at Diley Middle School Friday, Sept. 19. From ThisWeek Community News. In his final year on the force, a Pickerington police officer known throughout the community for his action-hero nickname continues to teach school kids about the […]

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Officer Dan Simcox hands a diploma to Chans Strickland during the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program graduation ceremony at Diley Middle School Friday, Sept. 19.

From ThisWeek Community News.

In his final year on the force, a Pickerington police officer known throughout the community for his action-hero nickname continues to teach school kids about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco, drugs and bullying.

Friday, Sept. 19, Pickerington Police Officer Dan Simcox reflected fondly on activities at Diley Middle School that began before classes even started that day.

By 7:30 a.m. that day, more than 200 Diley students had shuttled in to graduate from “Officer Batman’s” two-week Drug Abuse Resistance Education course.

The program, which is provided by the Pickerington Police Department in each of the Pickerington Local School District’s three middle schools, is held before classes start because funding constraints led the school district to eliminate its sponsorship of DARE prior to the 2011-12 school year.

“I couldn’t let it go,” Simcox said. “That’s why I do it before school.”

Simcox estimated the police department spends about $5,000 to $10,000 each year to provide DARE.

That and support from local businesses such as United Skates of America on Refugee Road, which hosts DARE skating parties and provides 50 cents to the local program from the admission fees of every student who attends the parties, has allowed DARE to continue to be offered in Pickerington schools.

Much of the rest of the job has rested on Simcox’s shoulders.

He’s led the DARE program since 2000, and this will be his final year doing so. He is preparing to retire in 2015.

He became “Officer Batman,” in part because of his case-solving prowess and because he traditionally dresses as the character while handing out candy at Pickerington City Hall each Halloween.

But Simcox also took on the moniker in hopes his message would resonate with students.

“I told them that when you get to high school, you probably will forget my name, but you won’t forget my nickname,” Simcox said. “They call me ‘Officer Batman.'”

Over the past 15 years, Simcox has sought to evolve his DARE teachings to address issues impacting local students during their formative years.

Now, the two-week class he takes to Diley, Harmon and Toll Gate middle schools includes education about tobacco, alcohol, inhalants, street drugs and bullying.

Simcox and the police department also host a DARE Night, in which students and parents recount what was instructed during the voluntary program.

“I know the program works because I get these calls from parents that say, ‘Hey, I quit smoking because of your program,’ ” Simcox said.

“They say they had to quit because they couldn’t smoke around their kids anymore.

“Also, (parents) faithfully bring their kids (to DARE classes) every morning at 7 o’clock.”

Simcox said the more time he puts toward DARE each year, the more state grants that trickle to the police department.

In addition to United Skates of America and parents and businesses that have donated money for DARE T-shirts and pencils, he noted Lindsay Honda of Columbus has helped him spread his message with a donated DARE car with customized logos.

Simcox said the daughter of the Linday Honda owner “went through the program and every three years he gives me a new one.

“It’s a Honda Civic half painted with a (Pickerington High School Central) Tiger and half painted with a (Pickerington High School North) Panther.

“Everyone is familiar with that DARE car.”

Simcox said he works to gain students’ trust as a way to provide life lessons, as well as to provide confidential help to families struggling with drug and alcohol issues.

When he retires next year, he said, it won’t be any easier to step away from the program as it would’ve been to let it fade away when cuts were announced in 2011.

To fill the void, Simcox said, he’ll likely seek opportunities to speak to youths about tobacco, alcohol, drugs and other issues that affect them, or work with a drug prevention and awareness group, such as Tyler’s Light.

In the meantime, Officer Batman said he’s enjoying his last go-around, and he soaked up the fact that more than 200 students had just volunteered to complete his two-week, early-morning tutorial.

“That’s sort of like a record for that school,” Simcox said.

“That’s a good way to go out.”

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West Michigan students can benefit from new statewide school safety initiative, officials say http://www.dare.org/west-michigan-students-can-benefit-from-new-statewide-school-safety-initiative-officials-say/ http://www.dare.org/west-michigan-students-can-benefit-from-new-statewide-school-safety-initiative-officials-say/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 05:40:02 +0000 http://www.dare.org/?p=15843 Attorney General Bill Schuette Wednesday, Sept. 24, announced OK2SAY, a new hotline and student safety initiative available to Michigan students this 2014-2015 academic year. From www.mlive.com. GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A new student safety reporting system — OK2SAY — was recently rolled out to help reduce violence in Michigan schools and West Michigan school and security […]

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Attorney General Bill Schuette Wednesday, Sept. 24, announced OK2SAY, a new hotline and student safety initiative available to Michigan students this 2014-2015 academic year.

From www.mlive.com.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A new student safety reporting system — OK2SAY — was recently rolled out to help reduce violence in Michigan schools and West Michigan school and security leaders see its benefits.

Last year, Attorney General Bill Schuette, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and state lawmakers announced plans to develop the anonymous safety reporting system that enables students to confidentially report potential harm or criminal activities aimed at students, teachers, staff or other school employees.

On Wednesday, Sept. 24, Schuette held a press conference about the system, which began this month across the state.

The OK2SAY system would allow students to report tips on potential school violence 24-hours a day, 7 days a week via a phone hotline (1-855-565-2729), through a text to 652729, emailing ok2say@mi.gov, or through the website, www.mi.gov/ok2say.

Upon receipt of a tip, specially trained OK2SAY operators at the Michigan State Police will address the immediate need and, as necessary, forward the information to the appropriate responding agency or organization.

Retired Kent County Sheriff’s detective, Charlie Brown, who is the director of security for the 8,000-student Rockford Public Schools, said the reporting system is a “very proactive idea.” He said the system can be particularly helpful in districts without a security detail and where the staff haven’t established relationships with their students to get information.

“This is just another layer of safety,” said Brown, who has eight officers in the middle and high school buildings, and rotates officers in the elementary buildings. “Our No. 1 goal is to communicate with students on a level that they trust and believe in us.”

Rockford Superintendent Mike Shibler said the district has received numerous tips over the years because of the rapport district security officers and the staff have with students. He said every district should strive to have those types of relations to help avoid violent and other serious incidents, not only rely on the new system.

OK2SAY will operate as an early warning system in schools to prevent tragedies before they occur. Created as a result of the Student Safety Act (183 PA 2013), the program focuses on early intervention and prevention.

“Our students learn best in a safe environment, but dangerous behaviors threaten to disrupt our schools, and in the worst cases, take the lives of our students,” Schuette said. “OK2SAY will create an early warning system in our schools and communities to stop tragedies before they start.”

“We cannot sit and wait for the next Columbine or Sandy Hook. We must be proactive to ensure our kids are safe, both inside and outside the classroom. If even one child is saved, this program will be a success.”

A 2002 study of school violence by the U.S Secret Service and Department of Education indicated that in more than 80 percent of incidents, someone other than the perpetrator had prior knowledge of a planned attack.

State officials anticipate OK2SAY will log tips on a variety of issues involving student safety, including: weapons possession, bullying, substance abuse, and suicide threats. Schuette noted that other states have had successes with similar programs.

“OK2SAY gives students a way to break the culture of silence by confidentially reporting anything that threatens their safety or the safety of others,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the the Michigan State Police. “OK2SAY is one more way we are working together to improve school safety and prevent school violence.”

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School safety experts stress preparation http://www.dare.org/school-safety-experts-stress-preparation/ http://www.dare.org/school-safety-experts-stress-preparation/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 05:32:57 +0000 http://www.dare.org/?p=15840 From Wicked Local Lexington. Photo from Wikipedia. Lexington, MA – When it comes to school safety, preparation is paramount, experts say. “School safety and security procedures and protocols are constantly evolving,” said state Secretary of Education Matthew Malone. “What we’ve been able to do is to flash a light on best practices around a framework of […]

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From Wicked Local Lexington.

Photo from Wikipedia.

Lexington, MA – When it comes to school safety, preparation is paramount, experts say.

“School safety and security procedures and protocols are constantly evolving,” said state Secretary of Education Matthew Malone. “What we’ve been able to do is to flash a light on best practices around a framework of how to think through preparing for school safety and security emergency issues. So when you think about what to do in times of crisis, we’re agnostic on what model to follow, but we were very clear that you must have a model.”

Whether it’s mass shootings at Columbine or Sandy Hook, or the murder of a teacher at Danvers High School, each safety crisis offers a chance to re-evaluate existing procedures.

“With each tragedy, for a lot of school organizations, there has been a lot more emphasis on having an evaluation done than there used to be,” said Michael Dorn, executive director of the nonprofit Safe Havens International, which has consulted on school security across the country and the world.

Massachusetts recently assembled a task force to examine school safety and security procedures statewide. The group’s report, which includes 29 recommendations, was released in July. The recommendations are not mandatory, but some could eventually become required through future legislative acts.

“What we’ve learned in the process we’ve engaged in developing this report is that planning is everything,” Malone said.

The report breaks recommendations down to the state, district and site level. Some key recommendations include putting a school resource officer in every high school, employing at least one school psychologist for every 700 students, having just one public entrance in schools and providing more state funding for training and safety resources.

“I think it was really helpful,” said Tom Scott, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents. “We’ve been asking for some time to have something like this so everyone had a way to compare. Before, there was really not any clear sense of what we should be doing or not doing. Now we have so much more data and information to compare.”

Teamwork and training

In recent years, there has been a greater emphasis on taking a collaborative approach to school security, an approach the report endorses.

“What we view as our role is to essentially force folks out of silos and work together in addressing our most pressing need, how we protect our kids and make sure everyone is safe and secure in a school environment,” Malone said.

According to Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, personal violence can be just as much a hazard as high-profile school attacks.

For 16 years the Middlesex Partnerships for Youth has brought the district attorney’s office, school officials, mental health experts and counselors together for the annual SECURE conference. These conferences focused on the complex issues that combine to affect the safety of others; peer pressure bullying, possible substance abuse, physical violence all have an impact on the safety of others.

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Security grants to help with school safety http://www.dare.org/security-grants-to-help-with-school-safety/ http://www.dare.org/security-grants-to-help-with-school-safety/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 05:18:42 +0000 http://www.dare.org/?p=15837 From The Northern Virginia Daily. Photo by Edward Kimmel. School districts in Shenandoah, Frederick and Clarke counties will have greater security measures at schools as a result of grant money awarded by Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Established by the 2013 General Assembly in the aftermath of the Dec. 14, 2012, mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School […]

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From The Northern Virginia Daily.

Photo by Edward Kimmel.

School districts in Shenandoah, Frederick and Clarke counties will have greater security measures at schools as a result of grant money awarded by Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Established by the 2013 General Assembly in the aftermath of the Dec. 14, 2012, mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the School Security Equipment Grant program will allow for security upgrades in 373 Virginia schools and other buildings, according to a news release.

Shenandoah County was approved for $54,589, Frederick for $4,562 and Clarke for $67,223. Each district has agreed to kick in 25 percent matching dollars.

At Shenandoah schools, security door lock systems added to elementary and high schools this summer reduce entry points for employees during the course of the day, said Superintendent Jeremy Raley.

“Each employee will be provided with a card. The card is their badge, also,” he said.

The cards track “who is in and who is not in the building,” he said.

The School Board paid for upgrades through its Capital Improvement Fund, and Raley said having close to an additional $55K will offset the cost and allow for more improvements later.

“We’ve worked hard in the last 18 months … but there are still additional needs,” he said.

Clarke and Frederick counties plan upgrades during the current school year.

In its grant request, Clarke County identified visitor badge systems at middle and elementary schools, two-way radios, cameras and stronger entrance security. The district requested $89K for improvements, according to Superintendent Chuck Bishop, and with matching funds has almost reached that goal.

Frederick County applied for $100K for security cameras at middle schools and the Middle School Alternative Program at Dowell J. Howard School in Winchester, and electronic access entrances at schools, according to Steve Edwards, coordinator of policy and communications for schools.

“We only got a little over $4,500,” he said.

Last year’s grant awarded the district a little over $34,000, which was used to install a new buzz-in entry system at elementary schools and at Northwestern Regional Education Programs, located at the Senseny Road School.

Districts qualified for grant money based on those deemed most in need of modern security equipment, schools with relatively high numbers of offenses and those with equipment needs identified by a school security audit.

“As far as how the state divvied the money up, I have no idea,” Edwards said.

Warren County, which did not receive grant money this year, already requires visitors to buzz in for entry to schools and uses electronic visitor badge systems with photo identification capacity.

Bishop, who joined Clarke County schools this summer, said security in the Northern Shenandoah Valley is “far ahead” of what it was in his previous district of Augusta County.

Still, he said, “I think we always have to be as proactive as we can be. You never know when you’re going to have an incident.”

Edwards agreed, saying vigilance is important no matter how secure schools are. The “human element” is a necessary addition to what security cameras offer, and individuals who learn of a plan to harm anyone at school should notify an adult as soon as possible.

“There’s no one thing that can be done necessarily to ensure the safety and security of a school. It’s a multifaceted approach,” Edwards said.

“You do your best on a daily basis …, but I don’t think you ever get to the point where you can say unequivocally that nothing can happen in our schools. But we work hard on a daily basis to make sure that nothing happens.”

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Members of state AG office lead Internet safety program at Keystone Oaks http://www.dare.org/members-of-state-ag-office-lead-internet-safety-program-at-keystone-oaks/ http://www.dare.org/members-of-state-ag-office-lead-internet-safety-program-at-keystone-oaks/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 05:08:10 +0000 http://www.dare.org/?p=15834 From Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Do you know your child’s passwords for their social media accounts?” Philip Little asked a small audience attending a presentation on children’s activities online and on smartphones. Mr. Little, education and outreach specialist with the state attorney general’s office, gave an overview of popular social media sites at the event, held last […]

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From Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“Do you know your child’s passwords for their social media accounts?” Philip Little asked a small audience attending a presentation on children’s activities online and on smartphones.

Mr. Little, education and outreach specialist with the state attorney general’s office, gave an overview of popular social media sites at the event, held last Thursday at Keystone Oaks High School.

Also taking part were Anthony Marmo, deputy state attorney general; District Judge Blaise Larotonda; Keystone Oaks resource officer Aaron Vanatta; and Christina Hostutler of Outreach Teen and Family Services in Mt. Lebanon.

State Rep. Dan Miller, D-Mt. Lebanon, hosted the discussion. “Issues like these are something that transcend everybody,” Mr. Miller said.

It can take up to 48 hours to go through legal channels to get children’s passwords, Mr. Little continued, and that can be too late.

“We all know the first 48 hours are critical,” he said.

The passwords are used to access popular sites like Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and ask.fm. Mr. Little said Facebook has lost popularity among children and teens because their parents use it.

He gave a quick description of those popular sites:

• “Snapchat is photos and video with a twist,” Mr. Little said of the phone-based application. The “snaps” or photos self-destruct in 10 seconds or less. However, he pointed out that because the images can be screen-captured, they are never really gone.

Snapchat has more than 70 million users and gains about 10 million more each month.

“Once something is done digitally, it’s going to be there forever,” Mr. Marmo said.

With Snapchat and all other social media phone applications and websites, Mr. Little said it is important to check privacy settings to limit access to personal information posted.

“Unfortunately not everyone’s who they say they are online,” he said.

• Instagram is another popular phone application with more than 200 million users.

“It has a lot of Facebook-like qualities,” Mr. Little said. “You can like and comment on photos.”

He advised parents to make sure their kids’ posts are private and that the geographical locator is disabled on the application. Also, he said it is important for kids to log out of their Instagram accounts when they are finished, especially if they are lending their phone to a classmate who may take a photo and post something without them knowing.

 

Turning off the geographical locator on Twitter is also a good idea, Mr. Little said. If the locator is not currently disabled, he said it is not too late.

“You can click ‘delete all location information’ and it will go away on all the tweets,” he said. “It’s a good way to keep your child safe.”

• Tumblr is a customizable blog-style website where people can share pictures, links and short messages. About 194 million Tumblr blogs are online.

People can ask questions on someone’s page on Tumblr. Mr. Little said it is wise to limit who can do so and to eliminate allowing anonymous questions. It is with anonymity that a lot of cyber-bullying occurs, Mr. Little said.

• Ask.fm is a “major problem among middle school and high school students,” Mr. Little said. Used properly, followers can ask questions and receive answers, he said. However. students are using the site to cyber-bully one another.

“People are sending hateful questions,” he said. “It can get very graphic and downright rude.”

Mr. Little said it is nearly impossible to figure out which student at school is bullying a child because the site is completely anonymous.

The bullying issue at Keystone Oaks is twofold.

“With smartphones, computers and gaming, bullying is constant,” Mr. Vanatta said. He said the bullying is done online outside of school, and in school it sometimes turns physical.

“It’s a good thing that Facebook is dying out,” he said, adding that when it was popular a few years ago, students would post long comments bullying one another.

“With Facebook it was never ending,” he said.

Ms. Hostutler added that it is often a struggle to get kids to give up their smartphones even for a short period of time. She said it is important that kids put them down for family dinners and homework.

“If the child is not responsible enough to self-monitor, the parent should take it away,” she said.

The audience for the presentation was small, which Mr. Miller noted.

“For every one parent here, there’s 10 parents who needed to be here,” he said.

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