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How to Walk the Fine Line Between Student Safety and Privacy

January 6, 2022

The following article preview was written by Ross Young, Executive Vice President at Linewize. It originally appeared on District Administration, an American monthly trade publication for education leaders in public K-12 school districts.

Mental health is an ongoing crisis that is having a devastating impact on millions of children and teenagers nationwide—with no signs of slowing down, it’s something that the nation can no longer ignore.

In fact, a national children’s mental health emergency has been declared by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Children’s Hospital Association. Rates of childhood mental health concerns and suicide rose between 2010 and 2020 and by 2018, suicide was the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 24, the American Academy of Pediatrics has found.

Today, the three organizations attribute the worsening of the crisis to stress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing societal unrest.

With this information in hand, it’s undeniable that we have an obligation to help protect our children and teenagers. While many safety measures can and should come from the family level, it’s also up to schools to take the necessary action.

Ensuring safety in a digital world

In most states, teachers and other school employees are “mandated reporters,” which means they have a legal obligation to report signs of child abuse or neglect to authorities. This is a widely understood and accepted legal standard–when an educator suspects that a child is being physically harmed, it’s critical that the proper steps are taken to address the situation.

Today, in the age of remote and hybrid learning, the concept of mandated reporting must evolve to meet the needs of the digital world. With young people increasingly spending more time online, combined with the rapid rise of mental health concerns and suicide rates, we need to do more than just report physical signs of child abuse and neglect. We also need to take into consideration any indicators of potential acts of violence or self-harm.

This is where advanced monitoring technology has the capability to identify students who are at-risk based on what they do or say in their digital lives.

Read more about how the right education technology tools can help educators balance student safety and privacy on District Administration.

Topics: school filtering, Cyber Safety, Content Filtering, Classroom management

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