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Designing new buildings or retrofitting existing ones to meet standards for natural disasters is an especially complex challenge for school leaders. But building to a more modern code makes a district eligible for more federal assistance

Digital Fly now monitors Facebook along with Twitter and Instagram.

Technology is a vital part of students’ lives: 92 percent of teens say they go online daily and 24 percent say they are logged in "almost constantly." One challenge for schools has been overcoming the perception that social media monitoring jeopardizes student privacy.

Some 82 percent of transgender youth reported feeling unsafe at school in a 2011 study. (Gettyimages.com: chatchaisurakram)

The rights of transgender students in K12 schools became explicitly clear in a directive issued by the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Justice in May. Schools must let transgender students use the restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their gender identity, not what’s listed on birth certificates, the Obama administration says.

A successful partnership with a transportation contractor, above, can give a district administrator more time to focus on educating.

Xenia Community Schools in Ohio faced a crisis in 2012 that forced administrators to slash $10 million from its annual budget. The district signed a five-year contract with a transportation contractor and saved $458,000. Still, such a move can be a challenging—and sometimes controversial—issue for many districts.

Today’s climate of budget cuts and shortfalls has increased the importance of risk management in school districts. In the past, school safety has primarily focused on disaster preparation and security issues, but it has come to mean much more.
 Nancy Willard is director of Embrace Civility in the Digital Age and author of several books on bullying.

Schools are encouraged—or required by law—to approach bullying as an act of defiance against authority. But such an approach focuses solely on bullying—at the exclusion of other forms of hurtful behavior.

Students visited Paris on a trip organized through the Student & Youth Travel Association in July 2014. Some district administrators cancelled trips to popular destinations including Paris, New York City and Washington, D.C., in recent months after terrorist attacks or threats on those locations.

The November terrorist attack on Paris and ensuing threats to major U.S. cities led many administrators nationwide to cancel class spring break trips in efforts to keep students safe. The decisions, in many cases, disappointed students, parents and city officials in popular tourist destinations.

All 50 states have school bullying laws ...though some are considered stronger than others. (Click graphic to enlarge)

Students living in states with an antibullying law that includes at least one U.S. Department of Education-recommended legislative component had lower reported bullying and cyberbullying rates compared to students living in states without such legal provisions, according to recent research.

Since 2013, 156 shootings had rattled nerves, and had injured or killed students and staff members in both K12 schools and colleges.

Mass shootings in the United States have tripled since 2011, according to Harvard University researchers. And as of late October, 29 shootings took place in K12 schools this year.

Since 2013, 156 shootings had rattled nerves, and had injured or killed students and staff members in both K12 schools and colleges, according to the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. In some cases, a gun was fired but no one was injured, the group reports.

Ken Donovan, facilities/security manager at Stonington Public Schools in Connecticut, shows off a school’s lockdown emergency button. When pushed, the button will lock the doors, bar access to other floors, issue an audible warning that an intruder is present and alert to local police cruisers.

School administrators across the country are turning to portable panic buttons, cloud-based crisis management systems and other technology in the search for new ways to keep students and staff safe. The price tag can run from a few thousand dollars to well into six figures, but administrators say the cost is worth it.

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