Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research
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Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research
This collection includes resources for strengthening school climate, and improving health, safety, connectedness, and student engagement.  Readers are encouraged to explore related links for further information.  For events and community resources specific to Santa Clara County, check out:
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Healing Together: Community-Level Trauma. Its Causes, Consequences, and Solutions // Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute

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Creatrixi54's curator insight, August 21, 2015 6:46 PM

This is how #hiphopbasededu #hiphoptherapy will pave the way for new ways to engage and heal the people. 

Fleur Harding's curator insight, November 16, 2017 12:35 AM
This Scoop perhaps best explains why I chose to do this OCHS unit as an elective for my social work degree. As a support worker for young people at risk of homelessness, I am very aware of the mental strain and emotional turmoil that comes from working with people who have experienced trauma. The article discusses the vicarious trauma that human service workers in the justice system can experience through exposure to dangerous and distressing events and situations. This all ties in with the mental disorders discussed during the lecture and my other scoops for mental health OHS and is something I am keen to learn more about in the future.
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Books to Help Kids Understand the Fight for Racial Equality // Brightly

Books to Help Kids Understand the Fight for Racial Equality // Brightly | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

By Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich 

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Child Psychiatrists Warn That The Pandemic May Be Driving Up Kids' Suicide Risk // NPR

Child Psychiatrists Warn That The Pandemic May Be Driving Up Kids' Suicide Risk // NPR | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

By Rhitu Chatterjee

"For ways to help kids at risk, read Part 2 of this story.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (en español: 1-888-628-9454; deaf and hard of hearing: dial 711, then 1-800-273-8255) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741."

"Anthony Orr was almost done with his high school coursework when the governor of Nevada ordered a statewide shutdown of nonessential businesses on March 17, 2020.

"He was looking forward to all of the senior activities, prom and graduation," says his mother, Pamela Orr. But all he got was a "mini [graduation] ceremony," with only a handful of students walking, wearing masks and at a distance from each other.

"That was the most we could do because of COVID," she says.

Anthony graduated with honors as he had planned to, wearing a white robe and cap and an advanced honors sash, says Pamela. But he decided against going to college.

"Right now ... it's all online, and you just lose the whole college experience," she says.


Instead, he got a job working in construction. His parents thought he was doing fine. "He seemed happy to us," says Pamela. "He seemed happy."

But in August of last year, Anthony died by suicide.

While Pamela and her husband, Marc, struggle to come to terms with their loss, his school district in Las Vegas is trying to come to grips with the troubling statistic his death is part of.

He was one of 19 students who has died by suicide in the district since the shutdown last March. Thirteen of those deaths occurred since July.


"There's a sense of urgency," says Jesus Jara, the superintendent of the Clark County School District. "You know, we have a problem."

Suicide is complex, involving layers of risk factors, including biological and environmental ones. And it's hard to know the exact factors involved in the deaths of these 19 students.

But the sudden rise in deaths has school district officials worried that the coronavirus pandemic may have played a role. And educators and mental health care providers in other parts of the United States have the same concern.

In recent months, many suicidal children have been showing up in hospital emergency departments, and more kids are needing in-patient care after serious suicide attempts.


"Across the country, we're hearing that there are increased numbers of serious suicidal attempts and suicidal deaths," says Dr. Susan Duffy, a professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at Brown University.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between April and October 2020, hospital emergency departments saw a rise in the share of total visits that were from kids for mental health needs.

Now, there are no nationwide numbers on suicide deaths in 2020 yet, and researchers have yet to clearly link recent suicides to the pandemic. Yet on the ground, there's growing concern.

NPR spoke with providers at hospitals in seven states across the country, and all of them reported a similar trend: More suicidal children are coming to their hospitals — in worse mental states.

"The kids that we are seeing now in the emergency department are really at the stage of maybe even having tried or attempted or have a detailed plan," says Dr. Vera Feuer, director of pediatric emergency psychiatry at Cohen Children's Medical Center of Northwell Health in New York. "And we're admitting to the hospital more kids than usual because of how unwell they are."

She has seen a slight increase in 10-to-11-year-olds attempting, but the majority of kids she sees are teenagers. Other places are seeing a rise in 2020 numbers compared with 2019 as well.


The number of kids with suicide attempts coming to the emergency room at Children's Hospital Oakland, in California, in the fall of 2020 was double the number in the fall of 2019, says Marisol Cruz Romero, a psychologist and the coordinator for the hospital's behavioral emergency response team.

At Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, the number of children and teens hospitalized after suicide attempts went up from 67 in 2019 to 108 in 2020. And October 2020 saw a 250% increase in these numbers over the previous October, says Hillary Blake, a pediatric psychologist at the hospital.

Psychiatrists and other doctors who work with children say the pandemic has created a perfect storm of stressors for kids, increasing the risk of suicide for many. It has exacerbated an ongoing children's mental health crisis — suicide rates had already been going up for almost a decade among children and youth.

The problems brought on by the pandemic, they say, only highlight the weaknesses in the mental health safety net for children — and point to an urgent need for new solutions.

"The stories that we hear day by day in the emergency department really speak to us about the level of difficulties, the layers of traumas and the real problems that families are facing," says Feuer.

Loss of critical in-person support services

Many young people, like Anthony Orr, have no diagnosis or known history of mental illness when they start struggling with thoughts of suicide.

But the children who are most vulnerable right now, says Duffy, are the ones with underlying physical or mental illness, because the pandemic has disrupted in-person services they relied on in communities and at school."...


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The Activist Dismantling Racist Police Algorithms // Technology Review

The Activist Dismantling Racist Police Algorithms // Technology Review | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

"Hamid Khan is winning his fight for the abolition of surveillance technology used by the LAPD"


By Tate Ryan-Mosley and Jennifer Strong 

"Hamid Khan has been a community organizer in Los Angeles for over 35 years, with a consistent focus on police violence and human rights. He talked to us on April 3, 2020, for a forthcoming podcast episode about artificial intelligence and policing. As the world turns its attention to police brutality and institutional racism, we thought our conversation with him about how he believes technology enables racism in policing should be published now.  

Khan is the founder of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, which has won many landmark court cases on behalf of the minority communities it fights for. Its work is perhaps best known for advocacy against predictive policing. On April 21, a few weeks after this interview, the LAPD announced an end to all predictive policing programs


Khan is a controversial figure who has turned down partnerships with groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) because of its emphasis on reform. He doesn’t believe reform will work. The interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

Tell us about your work. Why do you care about police surveillance?

The work that we do, particularly looking at the Los Angeles Police Department, looks at how surveillance, information gathering, storing, and sharing has historically been used to really cause harm, to trace, track, monitor, stalk particular communities: communities who are poor, who are black and brown, communities who would be considered suspect, and queer trans bodies. So on various levels, surveillance is a process of social control. 

Do you believe there is a role for technology in policing?

The Stop LAPD Spying Coalition has a few guiding values. The first one is that what we are looking at is not a moment in time but a continuation of history. Surveillance has been used for hundreds of years. Some of the earliest surveillance processes go back to lantern laws in New York City in the early 1700s. If you were an enslaved person, a black or an indigenous person, and if you were walking out into the public area without your master, you had to walk with an actual literal lantern, with the candle wick and everything, to basically self-identify yourself as a suspect, as the “other.”


Another guiding value is that there’s always an “other.” Historically speaking, there’s always a “threat to the system.” There's always a body, an individual, or groups of people that are deemed dangerous. They are deemed suspect. 

The third value is that we are always looking to de-sensationalize the rhetoric of national security. To keep it very simple and straightforward, [we try to show] how the information-gathering and information-sharing environment moves and how it’s a process of keeping an eye on everybody.


And one of our last guiding values is that our fight is rooted in human rights. We are fiercely an abolitionist group, so our goal is to dismantle the system. We don’t engage in reformist work. We also consider any policy development around transparency, accountability, and oversight a template for mission creep. Any time surveillance gets legitimized, then it is open to be expanded over time. Right now, we are fighting to keep the drones grounded in Los Angeles, and we were able to keep them grounded for a few years. And in late March, the Chula Vista Police Department in San Diego announced that they are going to equip their drones with loudspeakers to monitor the movement of unhoused people.

Can you explain the work the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition has been doing on predictive policing? What are the issues with it from your perspective?

PredPol was location-based predictive policing in which a 500-by-500-square-foot location was identified as a hot spot. The other companion program, Operation Laser, was person-based predictive policing.


In 2010, we looked at the various ways that these [LAPD surveillance] programs were being instituted. Predictive policing was a key program. We formally launched a campaign in 2016 to understand the impact of predictive policing in Los Angeles with the goal to dismantle the program, to bring this information to the community and to fight back.


Person-based predictive policing claimed that for individuals who are called “persons of interest” or “habitual offenders,” who may have had some history in the past, we could use a risk assessment tool to establish that they were going to recidivate. So it was a numbers game. If they had any gun possession in the past, they were assigned five points. If they were on parole or probation, they were assigned five points. If they were gang-affiliated, they were assigned five points. If they’d had interactions with the police like a stop-and-frisk, they would be assigned one point. And this became where individuals who were on parole or probation or minding their own business and rebuilding their lives were then placed in what became known as a Chronic Offender Program, unbeknownst to many people.


Then, based on this risk assessment, where Palantir is processing all the data, the LAPD created a list. They started releasing bulletins, which were like a Most Wanted poster with these individuals’ photos, addresses, and history as well, and put them in patrol cars. [They] started deploying license plate readers, the stingray, the IMSI-Catcher, CCTV, and various other tech to track their movements, and then creating conditions on the ground to stop and to harass and intimidate them. We built a lot of grassroots power, and in April 2019 Operation Laser was formally dismantled. It was discontinued.


And right now we are going after PredPol and demanding that PredPol be dismantled as well. [LAPD announced an end to PredPol on April 21, 2020.] Our goal for the abolition and dismantlement of this program is not just rooted in garbage in, garbage out; racist data in and racist data out. Our work is really rooted in that it ultimately serves the whole ideological framework of patriarchy and capitalism and white supremacy and settler colonialism.


We released a report, “Before the Bullet Hits the Body,” in May 2018 on predictive policing in Los Angeles, which led to the city of Los Angeles holding public hearings on data-driven policing, which were the first of their kind in the country. We demanded a forensic audit of PredPol by the inspector general. In March 2019, the inspector general released the audit and it said that we cannot even audit PredPol because it’s just not possible. It’s so, so complicated.


Algorithms have no place in policing. I think it’s crucial that we understand that there are lives at stake. This language of location-based policing is by itself a proxy for racism. They’re not there to police potholes and trees. They are there to police people in the location. So location gets criminalized, people get criminalized, and it’s only a few seconds away before the gun comes out and somebody gets shot and killed.

How do you ensure that the public understands these kinds of policing tactics? 

Public records are a really good tool to get information. What is the origin of this program? We want to know: What was the vision? How was it being articulated? What is the purpose for the funding? What is the vocabulary that they’re using? What are the outcomes that they’re presenting to the funder? 


They [the LAPD] would deem an area, an apartment building, as hot spots and zones. And people were being stopped at a much faster pace [there]. Every time you stop somebody, that information goes into a database. It became a major data collection program. 


We demanded that they release the secret list that they had of these individuals. LAPD fought back, and we did win that public records lawsuit. So now we have a secret list of 679 individuals, which we’re now looking to reach out to. And these are all young individuals, predominantly about 90% to 95% black and brown. 


Redlining the area creates conditions on the ground for more development, more gentrification, more eviction, more displacement of people. So the police became protectors of private property and protectors of privilege.

What do you say to people who believe technology can help mitigate some of these issues in policing, such as biases, because technology can be objective? 

First of all, technology is not operating by itself.  From the design to the production to the deployment to the outcome, there is constantly bias built in. It’s not just the biases of the people themselves; it’s the inherent bias within the system


There’s so many points of influence that, quite frankly, our fight is not for cleaning up the data. Our fight is not for an unbiased algorithm, because we don’t believe that even mathematically, there could be an unbiased algorithm for policing at all.

What are the human rights considerations when it comes to police technology and surveillance?

The first human right would be to stop being experimented on. I’m a human, and I am not here that you just unpack me and just start experimenting on me and then package me. There’s so much datafication of our lives that has happened. From plantation capitalism to racialized capitalism to now surveillance capitalism as well, we are subject to being bought and sold. Our minds and our thoughts have been commodified. It has a dumbing-down effect as well on our creativity as human beings, as a part of a natural universe. Consent is being manufactured out of us.

With something like coronavirus, we certainly are seeing that some people are willing to give up some of their data and some of their privacy. What do you think about the choice or trade-off between utility and privacy? 

We have to really look at it through a much broader lens.  Going back to one of our guiding values: not a moment in time but a continuation of history. So we have to look at crises in the past, both real and concocted. 


Let's look at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. That led to the most massive expansion of police powers and militarization of the Los Angeles Police Department and the sheriff’s department under the guise of public safety. The thing was “Well, we want to keep everything safe.” But not only [did] it become a permanent feature and the new normal, but tactics were developed as well. Because streets had to be cleaned up, suspect bodies, unhoused folks, were forcibly removed. Gang sweeps supposedly started happening. So young black and brown youth were being arrested en masse. This is like 1983, leading to 1984.


By 1986-1987 in Los Angeles, gang injunctions became a permanent feature. This resulted in massive gang databases, and children as young as nine months old going into these gang databases. That became Operation Hammer, where they had gotten tanks and armored vehicles, used by SWAT, for delivering low-level drug offenses, and going down and breaking down people’s homes.


Now we are again at a moment. It’s not just the structural expansion of police powers; we have to look at police now increasingly taking on roles as social workers.  It’s been building over the last 10 years. There’s a lot of health and human services dollars attached to that too. For example, in Los Angeles, the city controller came out with an audit about five years ago, and they looked at $100 million for homeless services that the city provides. Well, guess what? Out of that, $87 million was going to LAPD.  

Can you provide a specific example of how police use of technology is impacting community members?

Intelligence-led policing is a concept that comes out of England, out of the Kent Constabulary, and started about 30 years ago in the US. The central theme of intelligence-led policing is behavioral surveillance.  People’s behavior needs to be monitored, and then be processed, and that information needs to be shared. People need to be traced and tracked.  


One program called Suspicious Activity Reporting came out of 9/11, in which several activities which are completely constitutionally protected are listed as potentially suspicious. For example, taking photographs in public, using video cameras in public, walking into infrastructure and asking about hours of operations. It’s observed behavior reasonably indicative of preoperational planning of criminal and/or terrorist activity. So you’re observing somebody’s behavior, which reasonably indicates there is no probable cause. It creates not a fact, but a concern. That speculative and hunch-based policing is real.  


We were able to get numbers from LAPD’s See Something, Say Something program. And what we found was that there was a 3:1 disparate impact on the black community. About 70% of these See Something, Say Something reports came from predominantly white communities in Los Angeles. So now a program is being weaponized and becomes a license to racially profile.


The goal is always to be building power toward abolition of these programs, because you can’t reform them. There is no such thing as kinder, gentler racism, and these programs have to be dismantled.

So, you really think that reform won’t allow for use of these technologies in policing?

I can only speak about my own history of 35 years of organizing in LA. It’s not a matter of getting better, it’s a matter of getting worse. And I think technology is furthering that. When you look at the history of reform, we keep on hitting our head against the wall, and it just keeps on coming back to the same old thing. We can’t really operate under the assumption that hearts and minds can change, particularly when somebody has a license to kill.


I’m not a technologist. Our caution is for the technologists: you know, stay in your lane. Follow the community and follow their guidance."


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Photo credit: Damon Casarez

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"Restorative justice brings people together to build community and address harm through community-based circle processes. At the heart of RJ is the belief that strong communities are essential to preventing harm from occurring. When harm or conflict arises, a trauma-informed, circle practitioner engages participants in transformational processes that address the needs of all who are affected. These processes emphasize accountability, humanity and community. Restorative practices promote the creation of spaces of trust and respect with housemates, co-workers, and partners for difficult conversations and deep listening." 

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Restorative Justice as a Doubled-Edged Sword: Conflating Restoration of Black Youth with Transformation of Schools // Daneshzadeh & Sirrakos (2018)

The anchoring weight of slavery continues to ground schools by design and implementation, 151 years after the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. Empirical literature is rife with evidence that Black and Brown youth are penalized more frequently and with greater harshness than their white, suburban counterparts for the same offenses (Gregory, Skiba, & Noguera, 2010; Welch & Payne, 2010), to the point where Triplett, Allen, and Lewis (2014) describe this phenomenon as a civil rights issue. The authors examine how a constellation of school-sanctioned discipline policies have connected the legacy of slavery with punishment. In order to curb burgeoning suspension rates that disproportionately target Black youth, schools and grassroots organizations have adopted various tiers of Restorative Justice (RJ). This article draws upon existing theoretical frameworks of Restorative Justice to discuss new approaches and directions, as well as the limitations of its hyper-individualized applications in K-12 schools. Finally, the authors assess two case studies that aim to transform schools and community engagement by refocusing restorative philosophy on the ecological conditions of student contexts, rather than the presumed intrapsychic symptoms habitually ascribed to youth behavior and Black culture."


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Information and Resources To Support Families During COVID19 Shelter-In-Place Order // County of Santa Clara

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Six Steps for Schools to Respond to a Coronavirus Outbreak // Education Week

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The Web of Violence: Exploring Connections Among Different Forms of Interpersonal Violence and Abuse // Hamby and Grych (2013) Springer

The Web of Violence: Exploring Connections Among Different Forms of Interpersonal Violence and Abuse // Hamby and Grych (2013) Springer | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research | 

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Technological School Safety Initiatives: Considerations to Protect All Students // Center for Democracy & Technology and Brennan Center for Justice 

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From Park Bench to Lab Bench: What Kind of Future Are We Designing? // Dr. Ruha Benjamin, TEDxBaltimore

"From Park Bench to Lab Bench: What kind of future are we designing?  Ruha Benjamin challenges biases inherent to modern scientific research. Ruha is on the faculty at Princeton University. Her work examines the relationship between innovation & equity, science & citizenship, health & justice." 

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Teen Sexting: What Are the Laws? 

Teen Sexting: What Are the Laws?  | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

"Teenagers are budding with sexual energy. Mix that with cell phones and it can be a complicated combination. According to a JAMA Pediatrics report from last April that analyzed 39 studies of just over 110,000 under 18-year-olds (the mean age was 15.16 years, but ages ranged from 11-17 years)— it was found that roughly 15% of teenagers send sexts and 28% receive them.

It is so important to have an open line of communication with preteens and teens about the issues around revealing photos and videos (yes, videos—some teens send short sexually explicit videos to one another). Today’s TTT is all about just the facts. In a pragmatic way, try sharing with your teens and preteens what the laws are in your state—and, starting with this example case can also be helpful.


In 2015, two 16-year-olds from North Carolina were arrested and charged with multiple felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor under the state’s child pornography laws. Their crime? The boyfriend and girlfriend sent nude photos to each other via text. They were charged as adults, faced four to ten years in prison and would have to register as sex offenders if convicted. The kids agreed to plea bargains that reduced their charges to misdemeanors. Still, a very scary situation. The teens were doing what some sexually curious boyfriends and girlfriends do—the last thing they wanted was to get in trouble and to break a law.  

North Carolina does not have any sexting laws—in fact, half of states do not have sexting laws. If the couple had been in a state with sexting laws, such as Arizona, Florida or Arkansas, they would have most likely been charged with something such as a misdemeanor and given the chance to prove their intent was not criminal. Sexting legislation is designed to deter teens from sexting with consequences including education and less severe sentences.


Below the TTT weekly questions, I’ve included part of the Cyberbullying Research Center’s chart that shows sexting laws for each state across the country. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • Are you aware that it is against the law to send and receive nude pictures, even if they are from your significant other?  

  • If you were creating laws on this topic, how would you do it?

  • If you were to write a letter to a younger student, what advice would you give them about issues surrounding the taking and dissemination of revealing and suggestive photos and videos?

The chart below is from and was created, and is regularly updated, by Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D., &  Justin W. Patchin, Ph.D.  co-directors of the Cyberbullying Research Center. To see more detail and description of laws go to"...


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Education Technologies: Data Collection and Unsecured Systems Could Pose Risks To Students // Public Service Announcement from the FBI

Education Technologies: Data Collection and Unsecured Systems Could Pose Risks To Students // Public Service Announcement from the FBI | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

September 13, 2018, Alert Number I-091310-PSA


"The FBI is encouraging public awareness of cyber threat concerns related to K-12 students. The US school systems’ rapid growth of education technologies (EdTech) and widespread collection of student data could have privacy and safety implications if compromised or exploited.


EdTech can provide services for adaptive, personalized learning experiences, and unique opportunities for student collaboration. Additionally, administrative platforms for tracking academics, disciplinary issues, student information systems, and classroom management programs, are commonly served through EdTech services.


As a result, types of data that are collected can include, but are not limited to:

  • personally identifiable information (PII);
  • biometric data;
  • academic progress;
  • behavioral, disciplinary, and medical information;
  • Web browsing history;
  • students’ geolocation;
  • IP addresses used by students; and
  • classroom activities.

Malicious use of this sensitive data could result in social engineering, bullying, tracking, identity theft, or other means for targeting children. Therefore, the FBI is providing awareness to schools and parents of the important role cybersecurity plays in the securing of student information and devices.

Sensitive Student Data

The widespread collection of sensitive information by EdTech could present unique exploitation opportunities for criminals. For example, in late 2017, cyber actors exploited school information technology (IT) systems by hacking into multiple school district servers across the United States. They accessed student contact information, education plans, homework assignments, medical records, and counselor reports, and then used that information to contact, extort, and threaten students with physical violence and release of their personal information. The actors sent text messages to parents and local law enforcement, publicized students’ private information, posted student PII on social media, and stated how the release of such information could help child predators identify new targets. In response to the incidents, the Department of Education released a Cyber Advisory alert in October 2017 stating cyber criminals were targeting school districts with weak data security or well-known vulnerabilities to access sensitive data from student records to shame, bully, and threaten children.


Cybersecurity issues were discovered in 2017 for two large EdTech companies, resulting in public access to millions of students’ data. According to security researchers, one company exposed internal data by storing it on a public-facing server. The other company suffered a breach and student data was posted for sale on the Dark Web.

Inter-connected Networks and Devices

EdTech connected to networked devices or directly to the Internet could increase opportunities for cyber actors to access devices collecting data and monitoring children within educational or home environments. Improperly secured take-home devices (e.g. tablets, laptops) or monitoring devices (e.g. in-school surveillance cameras or microphones), particularly those with remote-access capabilities, could be exploitable through cyber intrusions or other unauthorized means and present vulnerabilities for students.


The increased use of connected digital tools in the learning environment and widespread data collection introduces cybersecurity risks of which parents should be aware.


The FBI recognizes there are districts across the United States who are working hard to address cybersecurity matters in their schools to protect students and their data. For districts seeking assistance, there are numerous online resources, consortiums, and organizations available that can provide support on data protection matters and cybersecurity best practices.


The FBI encourages parents and families to:


  • Research existing student and child privacy protections of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA), the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), and state laws as they apply to EdTech services.

  • Discuss with their local districts about what and how EdTech technologies and programs are used in their schools.

  • Conduct research on parent coalition and information-sharing organizations which are available online for those looking for support and additional resources.

  • Research school-related cyber breaches which can further inform families of student data vulnerabilities.

  • Consider credit or identity theft monitoring to check for any fraudulent use of their children’s identity.

  • Conduct regular Internet searches of children’s information to help identify the exposure and spread of their information on the Internet.

If you have evidence your child’s data may have been compromised, or if you have experienced any of the Internet crimes described in this PSA, please file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at"


Questions regarding this PSA should be directed to your local FBI Field Office. Local Field Office Locations:


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The Starts and Stumbles of Restorative Justice in Education: Where Do We Go from Here? // National Education Policy Center

The Starts and Stumbles of Restorative Justice in Education: Where Do We Go from Here? // National Education Policy Center | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

Anne Gregory and Katherine R. Evans, January 14, 2020

"Schools are implementing Restorative Justice in Education (RJE) initiatives across the United States, often to reduce the use of out-of-school suspension, which is known to increase the risk for dropout and arrest. Many RJE initiatives also aim to strengthen social and emotional competencies, reduce gender and racial disparities in discipline, and increase access to equitable and supportive environments for students from marginalized groups. This policy brief summarizes research on restorative initiatives, with a focus on implementation and outcomes in U.S. schools. After examining the evidence, the authors offer recommendations for comprehensive RJE models and strategic implementation plans to drive more consistently positive outcomes."

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Help Stop Hate Crimes // Resources from NAACP 

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See also: 

NAACP Letter 2016:

Rising Nazism and Racial Intolerance in the United States:
Preventing Youth Hate Crime: A Manual for Schools and Communities:

Resource list above provided by Rev. Jethroe Moore, President of the San Jose / Silicon Valley NAACP 
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NYCLU Criticizes Unproven, AI-driven Surveillance of Students // Times Union 

NYCLU Criticizes Unproven, AI-driven Surveillance of Students // Times Union  | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

By Rachel Silberstein
[Selected quotes]

..."cybersecurity and privacy experts warn that school districts are entering uncharted territory by installing unproven, artificial intelligence-driven surveillance devices that raise new questions about student privacy and how minors' images may be stored and shared. School shootings are statistically rare, while the use and potential abuse of private student information presents an imminent risk, experts say.

Last week, the State Education Department (SED) greenlit the state's first school facial recognition systems as a means to prevent intruders from gaining access to school facilities in Lockport, Niagara County, despite objections from parents and civil liberties groups who asked the district to hold off until the state finalizes guidelines on how the images may be used.

After meeting with Lockport school leaders over several months, state education officials approved the cameras' use after the district agreed to revise its privacy policy to ensure that no student data would be retained, according to a letter sent by SED.

“With these additional revisions, the Department believes that the Education Law ... issues it has raised to date relating to the impact on the privacy of students and student data appear to be addressed," said Temitope Akinyemi, chief privacy officer at SED.

Lockport’s software, called Aegis, can recognize weapons and sex offenders as well as a small group of individuals whose images have been placed in the system, such as staff or students who have been suspended or people barred from school property, according to the policy.


Experts say there is no way to prevent the tech companies from using the facial impressions of children to fine-tune their algorithms. They warn of potential bias and false positives; studies have found that facial recognition programs tend to disproportionately flag people of color, women and young people.

"We don't think the State Education Department has done its due diligence in really getting a grasp on how this technology works," said Johanna Miller, a civil rights attorney and director at the New York Civil Liberties Union's Education Policy Center. "It seems from the letter that they are not familiar with the technology at all. The concept that no student data will be retained is flawed."

The cameras have been used in settings like airports, stores and sports arenas, but rarely in public schools. The use of biometric technology by a public entity is highly controversial and is being debated nationally.


New York recently eradicated the use of fingerprinting — an early use of biometrics — to determine eligibility for programs like food stamps and Medicaid, citing criticism that the process is intrusive and a potential deterrent to applying for services. San Francisco earlier this year passed legislation prohibiting the use of facial recognition cameras by any government entity; there is speculation that the state of California may do the same.

Pending legislation in New York, sponsored by Assemblywoman Monica Wallace, a Democrat from the suburbs east of Buffalo, would create a one-year moratorium on the technology's use in New York schools to allow policymakers time to study its application and issue regulations.

This year, the Legislature and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo enacted the Shield Act, which broadens the legal definition of "private information" to include biometric data, and sets limits on how companies may handle it.

“It is very concerning to me that kids are in the middle of this," said state Sen. Kevin Thomas, D-Long Island, the bill's main sponsor and chair of the chamber's consumer protection committee. "There is too much surveillance going on. We as a society are trading our privacy for security, and this has become the new norm."

Ed-tech boom

A growing education-tech sector is fueled in part by state incentives for schools to invest in high-tech security systems – grants that policymakers tout as a policy response to mass shootings around the nation.

The facial recognition cameras in Lockport were funded by taxpayers through the Smart Schools Bond Act of 2014, which grants schools millions for technological upgrades like whiteboards and internet upgrades, as well as security technologies. Lockport's schools spent the bulk of a $2.7 million grant on the biometric software.

School officials are under pressure from communities to do all they can to keep students safe and are targeted by tech companies looking to capitalize on the unease around school safety, sometimes through hard-selling "security consultants" who act as middlemen.


Documents uncovered by the NYCLU through a freedom of information (FOIL) request that the same security consultant urged the Lockport district to utilize facial recognition technology may be benefiting financially from the Aegis and an electrical company that installed the system.


"The pattern in schools we are seeing is really technology in search of a market," the NYCLU's Miller said. "These are tech start-ups that see deep pockets ... and school districts are put in a position to go way out of their comfort zone and evaluate these vendors."


Other districts, including Courtland City schools, are buying programs that monitor social media or log keystrokes on school-issued devices to flag words associated with bullying or self-harm, despite little evidence that the technology makes schools safer, according to a recent report by the Brennan Center for Justice.

Civil rights groups say these tactics may stifle learning and free speech when school-supplied devices are the only way for some students to access the internet."... 

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Virtual Violence Impacts Children on Multiple Levels // American Academy of Pediatrics

Virtual Violence Impacts Children on Multiple Levels // American Academy of Pediatrics | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

Virtual Violence Impacts Children on Multiple Levels


Policy and commentary published in Pediatrics detail the impacts of media violence on children, including aggressive behavior and victimization

Virtual violence – violence experienced via media or realistic technologies – is an inescapable component of children's lives, and research shows that without guidance or controls it has the power to make children more aggressive, violent and fearful.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) will publish a policy statement, "Virtual Violence," in the August 2016 issue of Pediatrics (released online July 18), which reviews the evidence of how virtual violence impacts children, and offers guidance to parents, media producers and pediatricians. A related commentary published in the same issue expands on the impacts of social media, smart phones and apps like Instagram and YouTube on virtual violence and teens.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics continues to be concerned about the impact that virtual violence has on children, and we know that parents are also concerned, because it's a question that pediatricians often receive during wellness exams," said Dimitri Christakis, MD, FAAP, lead author of the policy statement. "Pediatricians can let parents know that there are ways to mitigate the impact of media violence, by co-viewing games and movies with their kids, making a media plan for their family and protecting children under age 6 from all violent media."

Media violence is very common. In the year 2000, every G-rated movie contained violence, as did 60 percent of prime-time television shows, according to a study published in JAMA. A comprehensive assessment of screen violence in 1998 estimated that by middle school a typical child would have seen 8,000 murders and 100,000 other acts of violence, including rape and assault. Today, children experience screen violence though an even greater number of devices and platforms.

"With the advent of smart phones and aps like Snapchat and Instagram, children can capture, view and share violent acts in ways that are new to millennials and centennials," said Rhea Boyd, MD, FAAP, a member of the Executive Committee of the AAP Council on Communications and Media and lead author of the Pediatrics commentary, "The Evolution of Virtual Violence: How Mobile Screens Provide Windows to Real Violence."

"Nearly three out of four teenagers have access to a smart phone, and exposure to real-world violence via these devices, often without parental knowledge or control, can create feelings of distress, victimization and even fear," Dr. Boyd said.

In the Pediatrics commentary, Dr. Boyd and her co-author, Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBE, argue that portable smartphone cameras can expose young people to real-world violence, which is fundamentally different than the simulated violence depicted in traditional media sources, like television, movies, or video games. This access to real-world violence can result in complex emotions and behaviors in youth that may vary based on the family, community, or cultural group with whom youth identify and process acts of violence. For example, a teenager viewing a video of police violence may be distressed by the images but also moved to social action.

While hundreds of studies have found violent media can raise aggression in children, research has also shown that exposing children to prosocial media content can decrease aggression and improve overall behavior.

The AAP recommends:

  • Pediatricians should consider a child's "media diet" as a part of wellness exams, considering not just the quantity of media but also the quality.
  • Parents should be mindful of their child's media consumption, and should co-view media and co-play games with their children.
  • Protect children under age 6 from all virtual violence, because they cannot always distinguish fantasy from reality.
  • Policy-makers should consider legislation to prohibit easy access to violent content for minors and should create a robust and useful "parent-centric" media rating system.
  • Pediatricians should advocate for and help create child-positive media, collaborating with the entertainment industry on shows and games that don't include violence as a central theme.
  • The entertainment industry should create content that doesn't glamorize guns or violence, doesn't use violence as a punch line and eliminates gratuitous portrayals of violence and hateful, misogynistic or homophobic language unless also portraying the impacts of these words and actions.
  • In video games, humans or living targets should never be shot for points.
  • The news media should acknowledge the proven scientific connection between virtual violence and real world aggression and stop portraying the link as controversial.


The policy updates a previous statement published in 2009.

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When Middle Schoolers Say #MeToo // By Rachel Simmons 

When Middle Schoolers Say #MeToo // By Rachel Simmons  | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research | 

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Anti-Bullying and Harassment Resource Library // National Center for Youth Law

Anti-Bullying and Harassment Resource Library // National Center for Youth Law | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

"NCYL is collecting model policies and practices that schools and school districts can adopt and implement to ensure students are safe in school and their dignity respected. This includes model school board resolutions; best practices with respect to investigating reported incidents of bullying, harassment and intimidation; and training materials for teachers and students on cultural competency, growth mindset and implicit bias. There are also public advocacy tools for students and families such as model complaints they can file with their state department of education or the Federal Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights." 

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Stalkerware: What to do if you're the target // CNET

Stalkerware: What to do if you're the target // CNET | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

Stalkerware can turn phones into all-seeing surveillance tools.

Brett Pearce/CNET

"This article discusses domestic violence. CNET would like to remind readers that browsing histories, including this story, can be monitored and are impossible to completely clear. If you need help, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

Things got weird at the end of Allie's relationship with her boyfriend. One night, he seemed to know where she'd been when she was out without him, and another night he started talking about something she'd recently read on her personal computer at home, where she lived alone. 

At the beginning of their relationship, he said he had cyberstalked a past girlfriend, but he assured her that those days were behind him. Now Allie, who asked to use a pseudonym out of concern for her safety, wondered if her soon-to-be-ex boyfriend was spying on her.

"I thought I was going nuts because I was pretty sure I hadn't shared that information," said Allie, who ditched her laptop and phone rather than find out what software her ex might have installed on them. "In hindsight, it was subtle intimidation."

The paranoia that Allie felt is becoming a sadly common experience. It's jaw-droppingly easy for someone to buy and install intrusive apps, known as stalkerware, on someone else's device. The apps are plentiful, according to antivirus software firms that track their prevalence. A recent Harris poll conducted with antivirus firm NortonLifeLock found that one in 10 people admit to using stalkerware to track a partner or ex-partner. The apps are so simple that some people on TikTok have posted 60-second tutorials on how to use them.

The software works on computers but has become especially powerful to use on phones, turning the gadgets into all-seeing surveillance devices that reveal location data as well as emails, web browsing histories and more. Stalkerware on smartphones can lead domestic abusers to partners who may be in hiding. The apps give heightened control to abusers whose partners haven't left, making escape harder to manage. Stalkerware apps have been tied to horrible acts of violence.

There can be legitimate reasons to use tracking apps, such as monitoring children's phones, or monitoring employees (with their consent). However, the distinction between these apps and what's often called stalkerware is blurry. Many apps bill themselves as legitimate monitoring apps but can offer staggering amounts of information from targets' phones and can operate completely undetected. The reality is that these apps get abused by people who spy on adults without their consent, according to law enforcement officials and to domestic-violence and legal experts. 

You might at some point worry you have stalkerware on your phone or laptop. It isn't easy to decide what to do about it, domestic-violence experts say, because your partner or ex might become more dangerous if you delete the software on your device. But there are steps you can take to learn more about the software and whether it's on your device.

What is stalkerware?

Stalkerware refers to a broad group of apps that someone else can install on your device to intercept texts and phone calls, access your location, log your web browsing activity and turn on your camera or microphone. The information gathered by such an app typically gets sent to a portal or companion app accessed by the person who installed the stalkerware. 

The apps can be installed on all kinds of phones, though it's a bit more complex to get stalkerware working on iPhones. The person installing stalkerware typically has to get physical access to the user's phone to install an app. A big exception to this is if the person installing stalkerware has the target's iCloud credentials, allowing them to access backups of the other person's phone.

Is stalkerware illegal?

Surreptitious spying on your devices without your consent is illegal. So is stalking. Additionally, the apps usually violate the policies for apps sold on stores run by Google and Apple, and they're frequently taken down from those stores.

People still install them on other people's phones, though, finding the apps for sale on the app makers' websites instead of an app store, and at times undermining the foundational security of a target's phone by jailbreaking it. The apps are often sold as child or employee monitoring services, but they're ripe for abuse because they can run undetected on a device, say law enforcement officials and domestic-violence experts.

There have been prosecutions of people who used stalkerware, but they're uncommon. 

How do I know if my phone has stalkerware?

That can be hard. The software often disguises itself, either by displaying an innocuous icon (like a battery monitor), or by not displaying an icon at all, says Kevin Roundy, technical director at the NortonLifeLock research group.

While researching stalkerware apps, Roundy identified other categories of apps that often work in concert with the intrusive software. One of these is an app-hiding app, which can remove the icon of a stalkerware app from your screen.

Even if an app's icon is hidden on your phone, it should show up in your settings as an item in the list of applications running on your device. The app still probably won't have a label that immediately identifies it as stalkerware, Roundy says, so look for any app you don't recognize. You can look up any unusual looking apps online on another device to see if you can find more information about them."...


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Advocates Warn Students' Privacy At Risk In GOP Gun Violence Bill // The Hill

Advocates Warn Students' Privacy At Risk In GOP Gun Violence Bill // The Hill | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

By Emily Birnbaum
"A long-awaited GOP proposal to combat mass shootings has been receiving pushback from education groups and children's privacy advocates over language they say could result in the “over-surveillance” of minors.

After months of deliberations, including meetings with victims and law enforcement officials in communities wracked by deadly shootings, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced a Republican-backed “bill to help prevent mass shootings" on Wednesday.

The Restoring, Enhancing, Strengthening, and Promoting Our Nation’s Safety Efforts (Response) Act, which has several Republican co-sponsors, bundles some of the top GOP proposals to combat mass shootings into one bill. It would expand resources for mental health treatment, facilitate the creation of “behavioral intervention teams” to monitor students exhibiting disturbing behavior and offer new tools for law enforcement.


The bill’s school safety proposals are a response to years of school shootings perpetrated by young people described as isolated and troubled.

But advocates have raised red flags over the Response Act’s requirement that schools begin monitoring their computer networks to “detect [the] online activities of minors who are at risk of committing self-harm or extreme violence against others.”

Under Cornyn’s legislation, nearly all federally funded schools in the U.S. would be required to install software to surveil students’ online activities, potentially including their emails and searches, in order to flag “violent” or alarming content.

The proposal would significantly expand the Children’s Internet Protection Act, a 2000 law that is mostly interpreted today as blocking children from looking up pornography on school computers.

Privacy experts and education groups, many of which have resisted similar efforts at the state level, say that level of social media and network surveillance can discourage children from speaking their minds online and could disproportionately result in punishment against children of color, who already face higher rates of punishment in school."...


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Vape Alternatives to Suspension National Webinar [Slides] // Sonia Gutierrez, MPH, Santa Clara County Office of Education

To download slides, please click on title or arrow above. 

Check back for link to webinar to be posted soon. 


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Understanding, Dismantling, and Disrupting the Prison-to-School Pipeline (2017) 

Understanding, Dismantling, and Disrupting the Prison-to-School Pipeline (2017)  | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |

"This volume examines the school-to-prison pipeline, a concept that has received growing attention over the past 10–15 years in the United States. The “pipeline” refers to a number of interrelated concepts and activities that most often include the criminalization of students and student behavior, the police-like state found in many schools throughout the country, and the introduction of youth into the criminal justice system at an early age. The school-to-prison pipeline negatively and disproportionally affects communities of color throughout the United States, particularly in urban areas. Given the demographic composition of public schools in the United States, the nature of student performance in schools over the past 50 years, the manifestation of school-to-prison pipeline approaches pervasive throughout the country and the world, and the growing incarceration rates for youth, this volume explores this issue from the sociological, criminological, and educational perspectives.


Understanding, Dismantling, and Disrupting the Prison-to-School Pipeline has contributions from scholars and practitioners who work in the fields of sociology, counseling, criminal justice, and who are working to dismantle the pipeline. While the academic conversation has consistently called the pipeline ‘school-to-prison,’ including the framing of many chapters in this book, the economic and market forces driving the prison-industrial complex urge us to consider reframing the pipeline as one working from ‘prison-to-school.’ This volume points toward the tensions between efforts to articulate values of democratic education and schooling against practices that criminalize youth and engage students in reductionist and legalistic manners."


Edited by: Fasching-Varner, Martin, Mitchell, Bennett-Haron, and Daneshzadeh

Publisher: Lexington Books (2017) 


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Sextortion Scam Luring Victims in with Breached Passwords – Don’t Pay // TripWire

Sextortion Scam Luring Victims in with Breached Passwords – Don’t Pay // TripWire | Safe Schools & Communities Resources and Research |
If you haven't been targeted already, you might have at least heard about the latest "sextortion scam" that surfaced a couple weeks ago. 

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Restorative Practices Guide and Toolkit // Chicago Public Schools 

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From 'At-Risk' to 'At-Promise': Supporting Teens to Overcome Adversity: Dr. Victor Rios at TEDxUCSB

"Dr. Victor Rios- UCSB Professor of Sociology

Professor Rios' 2011 book, Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys (NYU Press), analyzes how juvenile crime policies and criminalization affect the everyday lives of urban youth. He has published on juvenile justice, masculinity, and race and crime in scholarly journals such as The Annals of the Academy of Political and Social Sciences, Latino Studies, and Critical Criminology. In 2011 Professor Rios received the Harold J. Plous award at UCSB and In 2010 he received the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research."...

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For Dr. Rios' website:

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