Thanks to the use of handheld smart phones and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, we can all share and distribute information quickly. Events like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting and the recent deadly shooting rampage at Umpqua Community College, underscore how important it is to get information about a potential tragedy before it happens. Gun violence in or around schools has become a national debate concerning school and student safety and the need to revise school safety plans and guns laws are not enough.
Anonymous communications can help to avert a tragedy
The U.S. Department of Education and Secret Service states that for over 81 percent of violent acts or planned events that occur, someone knew about it ahead of time. From most accounts bullying, cyberbullying and/or student depression issues continue to be drivers in school shootings or violent events on and off campus. Anonymous alerts or anonymous communications by students to school officials can be a helpful deterrent to stopping a violent campus event before it happens. It is alleged that prior to the Oregon College shooting various posts were made to social media by the shooter in the days leading up to the campus shooting.
Bullying and student depression
Over 160,000 students stay home every school day due to bullying, according to the National Association of School Psychologists. Student depression among teens and college students is believed to be the leading cause of self-harm and suicide, limiting academic performance and attendance in the classroom. More than ever, young K-12 students and college students have more to contend and deal with in a fast paced social media driven world.
Students are the best source
Students are always monitoring their social media posts and reading what other students post, they can play a significant role by placing anonymous or non-anonymous reports directly to school officials about something they see or hear. School security options today are typically around what happens during or after a crisis. School security cameras catch bullying, harassment, vandalism, theft, security risks as they are happening. Students can be an early warning system for school officials by using their mobile devices to capture social media posts that concern them and send them to school officials.
By T. Gregory Bender
Copyright © 2015 T. Gregory Bender. All rights reserved.