Last Updated on August 2, 2022 by Josh Mahan
The major responsibility of a school is to teach its students. However, keeping a safe learning environment is another equally crucial duty.
A secure learning environment and education go hand in hand. It will be challenging for students to learn if they don’t feel safe in a learning environment.
This applies to all digital learning settings, whether students are learning remotely from home or using computers in the classroom.
Today, if used correctly, technology can assist in making students stay secure both online and offline.
But let’s first discuss Alyssa’s Law and why it is important.
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What is Alyssa’s Law
Alyssa’s Law requires public schools to incorporate life-saving mass notification technologies into their emergency response plan.
According to the law, all public schools must have silent panic alarm systems that are immediately linked to emergency services and law enforcement. Using this technology will shorten the time it takes to respond to crises on school grounds.
The law bears the name of Alyssa Alhadeff, a 14-year-old victim of Parkland, Florida, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018.
A fire alarm went off during the shooting, which caused chaos because there had been a fire drill earlier in the day and kids and instructors were unaware of the urgency of the new situation.
Students and professors had to determine for themselves what to do during the six-minute siege due to the fire alarm’s loud noise and the lack of any clear messaging directing them to safety.
As the shooter moved from floor to floor of the building, victims were shot in both the halls and the classrooms. Ultimately, this mass shooting left 17 people dead and 17 more hurt, making it one of the deadliest high school shootings in American history.
By putting in place a silent alarm system, schools might covertly alert law enforcement in the event of an emergency or circumstance posing a threat to life. Thus, there would be less chance of escalating a dangerous situation or causing confusion during a crisis, and the authorities could be informed swiftly.
Having an emergency control override is essential to reroute actions from fire evacuation to shelter in place or emergency lockdown procedures when a recognized non-fire emergency is reported (such as an active shooter, abduction, fluid or gas leak, etc.), and after a fire pull station or alarm has been pulled accidentally or purposefully.
These procedures would be supported by a previously finished risk assessment and the local AHJ’s clearance (Authority Having Jurisdiction).
Utilizing technology to help reduce scenarios and provide the most significant results in non-fire-related disasters is unquestionably vital.
Mass Notification Systems, a type of life-safety technology, allows for the clear delivery of messaging directing people to safety using audio speakers and digital notifications.
Today’s schools can’t afford to ignore innovations like systems that offer silent panic buttons, central monitoring, pre-recorded announcements, and fire alarm control panel integration.
Let’s talk about raising awareness and educating people to help prevent various types of significant issues in schools.
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Students feel more comfortable talking to teachers about things they see online that might be dangerous since they are learning about internet safety in class.
Teachers may be able to avert fatal events if they are aware of risky online activities. Students can avoid danger by having an open dialogue with their teachers about their online activities.
To promote internet safety in the classroom, Common Sense Education provides several lesson plans.
Schools should not rely on kids or staff to report improper online content and behavior, though. Administrators can be informed of risky behavior on school computers through screen monitoring software.
Additionally, it notifies administrators of any references to suicide or self-harm, enabling them to assist vulnerable students.
Education On Digital Citizenship
The appropriate use of technology, from text messaging to social networking sites, is known as digital citizenship.
Understanding internet security and safety is a must for responsible technology use. Responsible social relationships are also a part of it.
Students should be taught about the risks of cyberbullying as part of their digital citizenship education.
They must also become aware of the consequences of what they put online. Students should be mindful of what types of internet content should be reported and what is inappropriate to post.
This is how teaching students about digital citizenship protects them from hazardous online content. Several interactive games instruct kids on how to use technology responsibly.
Students can learn to be more conscious of their online behavior by using screen monitoring software. Students’ safety at school and at home is maintained by using technology to teach them about responsible internet use.
Install Reliable Content Filters
Another thing that affects many students is what they see online. Students are primarily prevented from reading or looking for anything that can have a detrimental impact on them thanks to the firewalls installed on the electronic devices used in schools.
Students won’t be exposed to many things online that can be harmful thanks to these filters. Students can, however, readily get through content filters and access distressing or hazardous online content.
Additionally, blacklists could miss specific words or websites, giving students access to inappropriate materials like pornography.
Schools must use screen monitoring software in conjunction with content filters to maintain a secure learning environment.
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Districts need to adopt new developments in school safety technology to protect their staff and pupils.
Having reliable technology is only one part of the whole picture that will help with the problem. Considering updating old buildings into smart buildings can bring the change that many school districts desire.
Nevertheless, teaching students and staff security measures online and offline is also an excellent way to keep everyone safe.
The more parents, staff, and students create strong bonds to help each other regarding life-threatening scenarios, the easier and faster it will be to identify threats and possible lethal events.
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