A return to the physical classroom, depending on the particular learning model, may or may not mean a reduction in student time spent online, but that doesn’t mean districts can be any less vigilant regarding dangerous online content threats or inappropriate online student behavior. Research has documented that violent incidents occur most frequently at the start of the school year or after students return from breaks. Between 2008 and 2017, 41% of violent school incidents took place within the first week back to school following a break in attendance.
Psychologists are warning of the need for educators to be aware of social/emotional learning deficit that may have grown over the past year. Students isolated from peers and guiding adults, including counselors and other district mental health support personnel, may be feeling significantly disengaged and socially disoriented. School leaders may well wonder whether simple in-person contact between educators and students will be enough to help head off any issues that may arise. Student social/emotional learning evaluations, as well as training for counselors and professional development for teaching staff, may prove valuable.
Law enforcement studies have shown for the better part of two decades now that threats of student violence are often posted online hours, days, or even weeks prior to an incident—as many as 74% of violent school actors in one study. 80% of these perpetrators were victims of bullying, including cyberbullying. By contrast, only 17% of the targeted schools employed any kind of monitoring system to track online student activity.
Software systems that employ advanced AI plus human monitoring of student online behavior, when combined with well-designed safety plans and threat response protocols, can help key district personnel recognize the warning signs of violence, bullying, self-harm, and even suicide ideation before such tragedies can occur. Equipped with such systems and coupled with the foreknowledge that students returning from periods of time away from the classroom are among the most vulnerable, educators can be well prepared to ensure positive student engagement following the extended shutdown, as well as future discipline-related breaks, including suspensions and expulsions, especially within the first days that a student returns to school.
Software systems such as Lightspeed Alert™, which use smart AI to monitor, interpret, and flag evidence of inappropriate, dangerous, harmful, and even suicidal student behavior in emails, online documents, social media posts, web searches, chat applications—virtually anywhere students interact online. For an extra layer of protection, Lightspeed Alert provides 24/7/365 human review by highly trained safety specialists who conduct a threat assessment of flagged behavior and escalate imminent threats via a live phone call to school district personnel or law enforcement.
If you found this information helpful, download our FREE e-book Returning to Normal: What “Back to School” Really Means for IT Teams” for more on returning back to campus and adjusting digital learning plans to an in-person environment.
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