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Articles: Security

In October 2009, Mark Schumacker, a seventh-grade mathematics teacher at Ankeney Middle School of the Beavercreek City School District, a suburban district east of Dayton, Ohio, earned the EUREKA Educator of the Year Award from the Better Business Bureau of Ohio's Center for Character Ethics for his efforts to blend character education with instruction. Schumacker is the first recipient of this statewide honor that recognizes positive actions with regard to constructive character development.

A new study conducted by Oregon State University and funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse supports the philosophy that social and emotional learning improves student achievement and social behavior. "The Impact of Positive Action on Academic Outcomes," published in the January 2010 issue of the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, focuses on a program called Positive Action, a course founded on the belief that positive thoughts induce positive behavior. The results showed an improvement in standardized test scores and a decrease in suspensions and absent students.

Undue punitive policies are driving students down a path toward prison, according to a study from the Advancement Project, an organization founded by veteran civil rights lawyers dedicated to racial justice. "Test, Punish, and Push Out," released January 20 as part of the group's Ending the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track project, details the impact that high-stakes testing and zero tolerance policies have on graduation rates and students that enter the criminal justice system.

A first of its kind, the Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act has been introduced to set national standards for the practices of controlling disruptive and potentially dangerous students. The bill, introduced in the House of Representatives by Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), and in the Senate by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) in early December 2009, was in response to two studies revealing hundreds of cases across the nation of the misuse of restraint and seclusion.

For the past 15 years, zero-tolerance policies for violence in schools have been the driving force behind many—80 to 95 percent by some estimates—of school discipline policies around the country.

On July 8, 2008 I testified at a congressional hearing on school safety and bullying prevention. There I met Sirdeaner L. Walker, the mother of eleven-year-old Carl Walker-Hoover, who had recently died by suicide. Walker described in her testimony the bullying that Carl received at school and that he was repeatedly called gay. She described herself as an involved parent who tried to do everything right, and stated that she had informed school administrators about the bullying her son was subjected to at school.

Going back to school means something completely different to today’s IT administrators.

It’s no surprise that school districts are as vulnerable to fraud as the private sector or any other segment of government. Crimes in districts include collusion with outside vendors who provide kickbacks to employees, misuse of district-issued credit cards, embezzlement of district funds, and theft of district property.

While some districts have been making use of surveillance cameras for years, today's camera technology is less expensive and easier to maintain and operate. These factors, combined with concerns about violence, vandalism, theft and other security issues, have led to a rise in the use of school surveillance. Early privacy concerns about the use of cameras in schools, while not having completely vanished, are beginning to recede, as the average American has begun to accept that surveillance cameras are in use in most public places, from the gas station to the grocery store to the highway.

 

When school administrators hear that the 10th anniversary of the Columbine High School attack will arrive on April 20, 2009, most shake their heads in disbelief. They are amazed that 10 years have passed since this watershed event, which changed the landscape of K12 school safety.

Among the many effects of the U.S. economic crisis is one that may not immediately come to mind: an increase in computer virus attacks. As economic conditions have worsened, cybercriminals have become increasingly aggressive and have explored new tactics for accessing or damaging information, or simply wreaking havoc. The last three months of 2008 saw a boom in various types of cyberthreats, which include viruses, spam and other forms of disruptive or damaging programs.

 

School Security Plans Skirt Law

All of Georgia's 184 public school districts may have a security plan, but not all districts can say their plan has the approval of the state, according to a recent Associated Press review of state data.

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