Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Second teen confirmed dead in Ohio school shooting

Second teen confirmed dead in Ohio school shooting

I was particularly saddened by the recent school shooting in Ohio. This situation is extremely tragic for all parties involved. School leaders always make sure that schools respond to situations that develop at school, but who responds when the situation does not resonate at school, but rather on social networks at night or after school hours? Those people are who we call bystanders. Bystanders are people who are witness to situations that take place within their presence. This can include in person as well as on a social networking website or blog. If a by stander is witness to a situation or potential situation, it is incumbent upon them to report it to the proper authorities.

Statistics show that people (which include students) don’t always know the best way or feel comfortable coming forward. In the Cumberland School Department, one way we have addressed this concern is by developing an online reporting system. This allows any bystander, whether they are a parent, student, teacher or citizen to report an issue. This form is then submitted to a coordinator (directly to their email that is tied to a mobile device) in the district that dispatches the report to the proper place. It is then incumbent upon the district to immediately follow up on the report within the next school business day. The situation is thoroughly investigated and documented from beginning to end.

How does this relate to the tragedy in Ohio? The student who was the aggressor warned on a social networking website the previous night that there were going to be people who were going to die in school the next day. It is reasonable to think that there were people who saw this post. If there was an anonymous reporting system, a bystander could have filled out the form, copy and pasted the link into the form and school officials could have then possibly went into action immediately in concert with the police department.
I can’t stress enough how important it is for all of us to be aware of the situations that are going on around us and know how to act when something does not look right. “Knowing how to act” is “knowing where to report” it so that it is properly followed up on.

Below is a link to the online reporting system:

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