Safer Schools Together has developed a service to complement the evolving needs of school safety in 2016. This service includes the collection of open-source social media content that relates to student and staff safety. It enhances school safety and student welfare by identifying potential risks or threats in near real time and enabling proactive intervention; it is a prevention tool.
As with other Internet search tools, the WOB Report samples data in a lawful manner from sources that are publicly available to all Internet and social media users. Through various filters, keywords and geolocational data as well as SST’s trained experience in navigating the open source online world, it is able to alert school officials to information that indicates a potential for harm to a school community, as well as individuals within it.
Safer Schools Together, in creating the WOB report does not attempt to bypass privacy settings so as to access privileged information. However, general sensitivity regarding personal privacy may lead to concerns and misconceptions regarding the tool. Therefore, the goals of this communication plan are to:
- Promote understanding of the objectives and benefits of the WOB Report.
- Alleviate potential privacy concerns and misconceptions regarding the WOB
Background and Key Features
- Safer Schools Together is the subject matter expert in Youth Violence and Trauma, is responsible for the delivery of the successful ERASE bullying strategy and has consulted extensively on high profile files across North America. The lens that is used to evaluate social media data is always that of violence threat/risk assessment.
- Only open-source publicly available information is collected. Safer Schools Together does not attempt to seek or bypass privacy setting so as to access protected information. Any information collected can also be seen by every other Internet and social media user in the world. Information is collected only if it is deemed to affect the culture, climate and safety of a school, staff, or students.
- Only relevant content is collected and disseminated to school safety designates. Safer Schools Together is at arm’s length from the school district and as such ensures the impartiality of only collecting pertinent safety related information.
- The reach this tool provides in the maintenance of public safety is widespread. For instance, it can potentially alert officials to an intention or planning of a significant threat to personal safety of a student and/or public safety, but it can also serve to get help for individual students suffering with mental health issues. Often, these students want to be heard and want help, but they struggle with how and who to approach. Other areas of interest include school violence, drugs, gang activity, substance abuse, threats, etc.
- There are specific limits on how long this data is retained before it is permanently destroyed. Reports will be destroyed from SST’s possession 30 days after receipt of the report is confirmed with the school district designate. We recommend to school districts that they destroy information relating to a pupil when the pupil turns 18 years of age or is no longer enrolled in the school district, whichever occurs first.
- Current case law and legal opinion supports this practice. In the review of high profile school violence across North America, “Foreseeable Circumstance” is used as the measure by which school districts are judged if they could have prevented such an event from occurring.
For more information on how this service can enhance the overall safety and security strategy for your district or school – Contact one of our staff!