School Safety- It’s More Than What Happens in the Building

Often when the words “school safety” are mentioned, the first thought that comes to mind is school shootings or potential building intruders. The next thought might be the measures we now practice to prepare our students for what to do in case these events unfold in their school. 

However, as I was conducting orientation for my students with the classroom set of iPads, another type of safety came to mind. A student went to open Google Drive and found someone else was still logged in. Another student called me over because the edmodo app she opened was displaying someone else’s account. What are we doing to help our students become safe digital citizens? How are we helping them protect themselves in a world of constantly evolving social media?

I have learned that just because these students are referred to as “digital natives” does not mean they know how to be digitally safe. Even though I am not a technology or business teacher, I believe it is my responsibility to remind my students about the importance of digital literacy including protecting their accounts, logging off of apps and sites that are on shared devices, and being aware of who their social media followers are.

In this same light, when students are using technology such as edmodo, Google Classroom or the chat feature of the assorted Google Drive tools, it is important to remind them of creating a safe learning environment for their classmates. The ability to ask questions and discuss freely in the virtual extensions of the classroom without fear of being ridiculed are a critical component of creating a safe school environment, even if it is beyond the brick and mortar often associated with school safety.