After a very cold and very early start on Sunday morning with a 3 hour delay due to frozen airplane systems and frozen lines (meaning no hot coffee on a very cold plane!), I finally made it to the 25th annual National Youth At-Risk (NYAR) Conference in Savannah, GA. http://coe.georgiasouthern.edu/nyar/
The NYAR conference started with a very motivating and uplifting keynote from Keith Brown – Mr. I’m Possible. http://www.keithlbrown.com/
Mr. Brown reminded everyone that we can make a difference – a huge difference for all youth if we do that little bit extra and if we do not let negativity discourage us from doing the right things. You really have to hear Mr. Brown speak…his passion is contagious.
The Georgia Southern National Youth At-Risk Center was approved in March 2013 and their focus includes:
Youth-At-Risk signifies the urgency and seriousness of societal “risks” faced by today’s youth and is distinct from “at-risk youth.” The NYAR Conference and new Center focuses on the “risky” conditions that threaten youth’s well-being which include a range of factors including poverty, racism, drugs, school violence, gangs, bullying, negative peer pressure, negative school climate, lack of relevant curriculum, passive instructional strategies, disregard for individual learning differences, ineffective discipline systems, low teacher expectations, unqualified teachers, inadequate counseling, teen pregnancy, sexual harassment and dysfunctional home life.
Awareity is proud to be a part of the National Youth At-Risk Conference! Stay tuned for related news that will be great for schools and at-risk students…
Article originally posted on Corrections.com
What does a School Resource Officer (SRO) do all day? Do they just stand in the hallway at school waiting for violence to occur? Should schools be spending their limited funding on SROs?
These are questions, Safety and Security Coordinator for Bradley County Schools, Scotty Hernandez often receives. And NO, the SROs are not twiddling their thumbs. To the contrary, these officers are heavily involved in student activities, classroom lectures, after school events, discipline and more.
Bradley County is one of the school districts fortunate enough to have an SRO in each of their school buildings. But, it was sometimes challenging to describe to the public how the SROs were being utilized and just how much of a difference they were making in the overall school community.
Bradley County recently turned to Awareity’s TIPS (Threat assessment, Incident management and Prevention Services), a web-based risk and prevention platform. The TIPS platform is successfully being used in multiple school districts across the United States to more effectively identify, prevent, and intervene in threatening behaviors. TIPS provides an easy online solution for all students, parents, faculty, staff and community members to safely (and anonymously or confidentially) report concerning behaviors, suspicious incidents, and general safety/security concerns to the right school staff and SROs.
“TIPS is a tool to be utilized by school administrators and law enforcement to increase awareness of student safety and concerning behaviors within our schools,” said Hernandez. “This tool has the potential to help law enforcement and school personnel to detect, deter, and disrupt unwanted behavior and or criminal activity.”
Incident Reports made through TIPS are reviewed by school administrators at each school and by the SRO. Reports can also be securely and safely shared with SROs at other school locations in the event of bullying between students at different schools, harassment on the bus, students transferring to other schools, etc.
Since TIPS was implemented in August of this year, one of the most valuable uses of TIPS has been by the SROs themselves. SROs have taken advantage of the incident management platform to keep track of over 400 reports, ranging from daily log activities, custody issues, juvenile citations and many other activities relating to Student Safety. Hernandez met with the SROs and said, “Your daily activities should tell a story of how you are an integral part of the school team and a contributor to the learning process. Every day you are helping create and foster a safe and secure working and learning environment”.
Guidance counselors often call upon an SRO to assist in conflict mediation efforts. Parents may seek information from an SRO if they suspect their child is using drugs or alcohol. Many times students just want someone to talk to about problems they are experiencing, and an SRO fills the role of a caring adult in the school building who works to find positive and proactive solutions for young people. In addition SROs work to educate students in crime prevention and personal safety through programs like DARE.
TIPS make it simple to view and track who has done what regarding any particular incident or student. SROs can log their daily activities and share any information they feel is relevant with SROs at other schools in the district. TIPS is saving SROs valuable time in their busy schedules as they can more easily review related incidents involving students and securely access all information in one central location.
An SRO supervisor stated “My SROs love using TIPS as a way to share information across the district. And it’s an easy way for me to print reports for statistics and analytical purposes for my department”.
Funding for TIPS in Bradley County Schools is through a Safe Schools grant
In my 30+ years of performing risk, vulnerability and threat assessments, I have always advised my clients to be really careful with whom they hire to for “maintenance and cleaning crews”. This news about the Target data breach validates my advice.
According to news reports, the hackers that pulled off one of the largest and most expensive data breaches ever, did so by stealing/hacking credentials from Target’s HVAC subcontractor. Once the hackers had the HVAC subcontractor credentials, they had access to Target’s network and were able to place their sophisticated malware…and you know the rest of the story.
This ‘Connecting the Dots’ wake-up call is for retail, financial, healthcare, government, education and others who work with personal, credit card, medical and financial data.
Is your organization connecting all the right dots? Does your organization have the right tools for all the right departments – Risk, IT, Facilities, Security, Compliance, Privacy, Threat Assessment and others –to connect all the right dots?
A friend of mine recently shared this link to an anonymous note with me:
I wonder how many teachers go home at the end of the day drained from dealing with bullying directed at them?
I wonder how many students go home drained at the end of the day drained from dealing with bullying?
In talking to my friends who are teachers, they are getting tired of dealing with bullying related problems in their classroom because it takes time from their teaching and because it has a negative effect on every student’s ability to learn.
I think it is time to start implementing solutions that can solve bullying problems because if the students can a make teacher feel like this, I can’t imagine how kids getting bullied must feel. Leading schools are taking a proactive stance with more than just talk.
Click here to learn more about how these schools are proactively solving and preventing bullying and related incidents.
Bullying has been going on since people set foot on this planet and people have been writing about bullying all the way back to Cain and Abel. So why does bullying still exist and continue to escalate?
Why has bullying escalated to a level that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] declared bullying a “significant health problem”?
Bullying exists and bullies exist in nearly every school, nearly every college and nearly every organization. Evidence is overwhelming and it is time to accept the facts and admit status quo bullying approaches are not working, are not solving and are not preventing bullying.
Why is bullying still in existence and why is bullying still escalating?
Because most anti-bullying and bully prevention programs are not solving bullying problems and not getting to the root of bullying issues at the individual level [aggressor, target, bystander, etc.]. Instead most programs and campaigns [see below] are focused on reactive approaches that do not solve multi-faceted bullying, social and behavior problems:
If these programs and campaigns were working, how could bullying become a nationwide “significant health problem”?
Shouldn’t we be solving bullying issues and helping children/students learn how to take proactive and proven actions to prevent bullying? YES! [After all, children are not born bullies, they learn to bully.]
SOLVING any problem [math, psychology, science, athletics, etc.] requires a process. SOLVING a multi-faceted problem like bullying requires a process that involves admitting a problem exists and then identifying incidents, assessing, investigating, intervening, monitoring, connecting the right dots, preventing recurring incidents and documenting to ensure actions and solutions can be utilized and updated on an ongoing basis as bullying, cyber bullying and numerous other incidents arise.
SOLVING a multi-faceted problem like bullying is NOT going to be solved by stopping, stomping, fighting, kicking, waging war, winning the war, etc.
SOLVING the bullying problem and proactively preventing bullying is possible and innovative leaders in schools, colleges and organizations are providing evidence that others can use to follow the leaders. If you would like to learn how innovative leaders are taking proactive steps to solve multi-faceted problems like bullying and others, click here.
Have we reached a tipping point…the point at which a series of incidents becomes significant and obvious enough to cause a larger, more important change?
Is this a national teachable moment…the time at which learning about a particular topic becomes obvious and easiest?
Call it what you want, but obviously now is the time for action to change the future for the better.
So how do you and I change the future for the better?
Lots and lots and lots of people SAY they want to change the future and many more will SAY they are a leader of positive change…however after years of people talking about bullying, hundreds of anti-bullying programs, thousands of bullying summits and conferences it is obvious that just TALKING about change will not actually change the future for the better.
And while researchers and self-proclaimed experts have spent decades researching behavior trends and giving lectures and keynotes, Ben Franklin knew all along that “well done is better than well said”.
And speaking of research, do we really need more research to know that lying and bullying is hurtful, not the right thing to do and will never lead to long-term greatness? Clearly we don’t need more research, we need action and solutions.
For those who require evidence-based solutions, the evidence is overwhelming as consequences related to lying and bullying mount and evidence links suicides, targeted shooters, violence, depression, despair, financial ruin, fraud, ethics and many other dangerous and tragic consequences to liars and bullies.
The good news is there are evidence-based solutions delivering proven results in schools, colleges and other organizations too.
New born babies are not liars and bullies, so where do youth (and adults) learn to lie and to bully? Youth and adults learn to lie and bully at home, at school, at work, online and they learn from role models such as top government officials, professional athletes, celebrities, journalists and others.
Unfortunately many parents, school administrators, government officials, professional athletes, celebrities, journalists and others are in denial mode when it comes to accepting accountability for their actions and refuse to assess their own behaviors and their own children’s behaviors. Most people do not believe they are part of the problem, but have no problem blaming others!
Yet another dangerous disconnect is when people allow their emotions, their political opinions and their peers (in person and on social media) to control their thoughts, actions, emotions, opinions and behaviors.
Adults can change the future. Youth can change the future too, but they need Adults like you and I to help them and show them how to make the future better. Youth need role models they can trust and believe in and role models that do the right things because ultimately our youth want to achieve long-term greatness.
Will you continue to enable the liars and the bullies while talking about solutions?
Or are you ready to take action, lead by example, change the future for the better and achieve long-term greatness?
Last month, A 17-year-old Texas student committed suicide in a high school courtyard. The student posted two Facebook updates that morning–one saying he was planning on committing suicide, and another with him pointing a gun at his head. In his message, he said, “I don’t know if this is going to affect people or if ya’ll are even going to care but I just want to say I’m taking my life away…”
A quote from another student after the shooting – “He said he was going through a lot of stuff. He put pictures up before he did it. Nobody believed him until he did it.”
What if just one of the students who saw the posts online or heard the victim talking about suicide earlier had contacted an adult or reported the behaviors to the school? Would this 17 year old still have a future?
Did you know 80% of school shooters told someone about their plan beforehand? Did you know that 80% of bullying is witnessed? And did you know that 80% of these incidents are NOT reported? Schools cannot continue to let these alarming trends go unnoticed. Why aren’t students sharing concerning behaviors and threats with you?
Below are 10 reasons your students may not be sharing this information with you:
2) Embarrassed in front of their peers
3) Not sure if the threats/concerns need to be reported
4) Don’t know how or where to report
5) Don’t trust their reports will be taken seriously; believe nothing will happen (as a side note, recent school surveys revealed that even when bullying was reported by students, 1/3 of the time, nothing happened – SCHOOLS – THIS IS NOT OKAY!)
6) Don’t want to be known as a ‘snitch’
7) Don’t trust administration/adults
8) Scared they will get in trouble/get mobile devices taken away
9) Feel it will make the situation worse
10) Red-tape/institutional barriers
44% of students are aware of a risk to their school! You can’t prevent what you don’t know about!!
So, what can schools do?
1) Empower and train bystanders to share all concerns
2) Make reporting simple, easy and ANONYMOUS
3) Ensure all Reports are Received Immediately
4) Ensure the Reports are Going to the RIGHT people
5) Track and document all reports
6) Ensure accountability and responsibility for responding to reports
7) Track all actions taken, intervention steps, etc.
8) Proactively respond/intervene to ensure situation does not escalate
9) Set reminders to follow-up/follow-through
10) Review incidents ongoing
To learn how leading school districts are taking the proactive steps above and ensuring an ongoing culture of safety and prevention, visit www.awareity.com/public/news.asp.
A child or parent reports bullying during the parent-teacher conference. Then what? What constitutes bullying? What should a teacher do with this report? Who does the information get shared with? What type of investigation needs to be done? Do you talk with the bully and victim together or separately or both? Should you call in the other parents? How much information can you give them? What are the consequences for bullying?
Is the situation getting better? How do you know? Has it gotten worse? Are you monitoring behaviors ongoing? Maybe the bullying stopped in your classroom, but do you know if it is going on elsewhere?
Do you need to share this report with administration? Does this classify as bullying for the state report? Does this involve a special needs student? Do you have evidence or written statements from either party? How has the student been affected at school? Lower grades? Less participation? Have they been absent more often? Do they need to be referred to outside services? What if there was a physical injury?
School personnel are busy. It is difficult for them to know the right thing to do in every situation, so it is critical for schools to develop clear policies and steps for investigation so all the right information is gathered and shared with the right people and appropriate actions are taken to proactively resolve incidents before they escalate.
Does your school have a clear procedure for investigating incidents of bullying and harassment? If you do, do you know if your teachers and staff have read the policy and understand their individual responsibilities? How are you ensuring this procedure is followed?
To learn how a leading school district is working to improve their ongoing investigation process, click here to listen to Tulsa Public School’s Student Services Director, Tenna Whitsel, discuss their efforts.
If you or your child is being bullied by classmates, you have probably reported the bullying to someone at the school. But, then what? How was the issue addressed by the school? Did they talk to the bully or punish the bully? Did the situation get better? Did the situation get worse?
Regardless of how serious or small the issue is or feels, one of the most important steps for students and parents to remember when reporting a situation is DOCUMENTATION!
If you are meeting with a teacher or principal, come prepared with proof and examples of when and where the bullying happened. If you have e-mail communication, keep copies of all of your messages and copy all of those involved (teachers, counselors, principals, school board members, etc.).
Pictures can also be important. If there are messages sent or posted on Facebook, be sure to take a screenshot so you have that evidence. You can also take copies of cell phone text message logs to show any harassing messages.
Keep track of each incident – the date/time you or your child is harassed, assaulted, bullied, etc. You should have this daily log so you can show the bullying is ongoing and that despite the school’s efforts (or non-efforts) to intervene, the situation continues to escalate.
You can also ask for witness accounts; if others were there when the bullying happened, record their statements or ask them to fill out an incident report detailing what took place.
One of the biggest challenges for parents and students is feeling defeated, like their reports are being ignored, but never give up. It is critical to continue to document and report all incidents.
If your school has an online incident reporting form, this can be a great first step to ensure your reports continue to be documented by the school. However the most important steps involve getting the right information (incident reports that contain the right details) to the right people so the right people can do the right things…and your documentation can help make the difference for your child.
For more detailed information and tips for Parents, please visit www.everythingstartswith1.org and request the Your Voice Parent Guide, written by David and Tina Long of the movie ‘Bully’.
Headlines from the first month of school are troubling with stabbings, suicides, murder, bullying, cyberbullying and numerous other incidents.
Even more troubling is that most of the incidents look like they were PREVENTABLE had the schools had the right tools to get the right information (concerning behaviors, threats, escalations, etc.) to the right people in the right places at the right time so the right people could do the right things…right away.
For example, the following messages were released on social media days/weeks BEFORE this student committed suicide on the first day of school:
“I have chosen to go with 3 peoples advice and kill myself, I just wish it was faster”
“Hey if I were to stab my eye out due to school caused insanity, who would miss me?”
“I notice if I sound sad I’m normal and if I act happy, cheerful, and ‘normal’ there is a high chance that I will try to poison myself, cut myself, commit suicide, or jump in front of a truck ”
We cannot change the past, but we can change the future if we take proactive actions right away.
Until all appropriate individuals are equipped with the right tools to PROACTIVELY PREVENT, schools, colleges, government agencies and organizations will only be able to REACT to incidents rather than PREVENT them.
Evidence from hundreds and hundreds of tragic incidents clearly reveal REACTING is significantly more expensive, more stressful, less safe for students and less safe for faculty/staff. And lessons learned reveal it is nearly impossible for schools and colleges to create a positive and safe learning environment when everyone is on edge REACTING to risks, threats and concerning behaviors on an ongoing basis.
Fortunately, several INNOVATOR schools and colleges have stepped up across the United States and in Canada and numerous success stories can be seen in the “In Case You Missed It” section at the following link: http://www.awareity.com/public/news.asp
With all of the troubling headlines and tragedies this new school year, educational and government officials can’t just talk about SAFETY of Students, Faculty, Staff and Community Members…they must take immediate action and equip individuals to PROACTIVELY PREVENT escalations and tragic incidents.
I am ready to help…call me ASAP at 402.730.0090 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.