Ask the Expert (Student Safety)

Can technology contribute to student safety and well-being?

Student safety is a top concern. Colleges and universities want solutions that will help them to support students’ mental health and well being, as well as guard against potential threats. Often the first area of consideration is physical enhancements, such as security cameras and bulletproof glass, which can make a real difference but can inhibit the educational mission. Now many schools are turning to solutions that address student mental health and well-being, which are often at the root of school safety issues, with more extensive use of digital safeguarding.

Digital safeguarding can provide valuable insight into students’ mindsets and can also alert staff if students make—or are discussing—threats of violence to themselves or to others. As the use of mobile technology in the classroom grows, digital safeguarding can be one of the best ways to detect potential safety concerns. Early notification allows schools to investigate and address concerns before they get out of hand.

A recent survey of school counselors found that paper-based record keeping is the most common practice to record information on student well-being and mental health issues. Experience suggests that the era of informal record keeping is being replaced by auditable recording of student safety incidents and the actions taken by schools. Schools can also look for solutions that allow them to integrate, analyze, and store student safety data digitally in order to improve efficiency and inform counseling sessions or other interventions.

Campus administrators can play an active role in addressing safety through policy, funding, and implementation of digitized safeguarding solutions or other technology.

This article originally appeared in the College Planning & Management March 2019 issue of Spaces4Learning.

About the Author

Richard Fuller is Executive Chairman of Impero Software (www.imperosoftware.com/us), which provides student safety and device monitoring and management solutions. He can be reached at 844/346-7376 or [email protected]

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