CISA and United states secret service announced the release of toolkit on may 16, 2023 for K-12 (kindergarten through grade 12). As the need for child protection and safety increases, the cybersecurity company in conjunction with the united states secret service, releases a joint toolkit that includes an action-oriented guidance, self-assessment worksheets, reference resources, and useful checklists.
According to Washington:
“Today, the Cybersecurity and infrastructure Security Agency in conjunction with the U.S Secret Service National Threat Assessment Centre (NTAC) released the K-12 Bystander Reporting Toolkit.”
Image source: cisa.gov
The toolkit is to aid kindergarten through grade 12 (k-12) schools, in creating a safe environment in its reporting program, allowing bystanders to report suspicious activities among students, and the school community at large.
It is no doubt with the rise of mass shootings in public and private schools has increased (especially in the United States), keeping the kids and the educational system safe, is one of the priorities that CISA in conjunction with the secret service are working towards to in developing the toolkit.
The toolkit aims in improving school safety through bystander reporting, strengthening k-12 schools by offering non-complex strategies and guidance to k-12 schools, in all school districts. It also, allows the use of the tool in implementing, and enhancing safety reporting programs. The tool is said to provide a more conducive environment where students voluntarily being able to assist school leaders in reshaping, and customizing procedures that meets the needs of their various communities.
CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE TOOLKIT DEVELOPMENT:
In order to have a safe school community in tackling the rise of violence it is quite a must that we have a system and process that can help in identifying individuals at risk and intervene effectively. An early detection, will aid in intervening and as well protecting the public, from individuals before they influence the life of others as well as themselves negatively.
The student wellness intervention and school violence prevention is said to follow outlined processes which involves the awareness, willingness to report, reporting, fielding/triage and many other factors. This is illustrated in the image below:
Image source: cisa.gov
TOOLKIT COLABORATION, DEVELOPMENT AND FOCUS:
The toolkit was developed by CISA in collaboration with Homeland Security Operational Analysis Centre. Its focuses on five key concepts schools are to consider in ensuring a safe reporting. These concepts helps to:
- encourage bystanders to report their concerns for the wellness and safety of both themselves and others.
- Providing a more accessible and safe reporting system for the community.
- Ensuring following up with the reports and transparency in actions taken on reported issues.
- Cultivating the culture of reporting as part of the school daily procedures.
- Making sure a positive environment where reporting is valued and respected is maintained and achieved.
According to CISA Executive Assistant Director for Infrastructure Security Dr. David Mussington, he said:
“It is essential that we work closely with our partners to provide resources that can help prevent target school violence. Students and school communities deserve to be safe at school.”
Furthermore, The Chief of the U.S Secret Service National Threat Assessment Centre (NTAC) Dr. Lina Alathari; she said:
“Preventing school violence is everyone’s responsibility. The reporting programs described in this toolkit promote successful outcomes for all students while fostering a proactive approach to school safety.”
The research team identified during the literature review phase in the course of the toolkit development, various factors which may contribute to a student’s willingness to report their concerns. The toolkit manual further highlights additional factors to be considered when looking to encourage the use, and development of their reporting programs. Information about this can be found in the By-Stander Reporting Toolkit manual.
The K-12 toolkit is applicable to schools comprising of a range of student population, in a particular geographical setting, and their maturity in the steps taken to make their reports. The tool comprises of self-assessment worksheets and check listings and related school safety resources.
Please do let us know in the comment section what are your thoughts about this.