Keep tabs on our mission to keep kids safe

  • Slick Rock Student Film Festival 2014 – Sprigeo Anti-Bullying PSA

    May 28, 2014

    Sprigeo was thrilled to be a part of this year’s Slick Rock Student Film Festival  in Visalia, CA.  Over 400 videos were submitted by students in more than twenty categories.  This is the 11th year of Slick Rock, which is presented by Tulare County Office of Education.  Our category focused on bullying prevention.

    And the winners are….

    Sprigeo Anti-Bullying PSA Winners

    Edison Computech Middle School
    Sprigeo Now   1st Place
    Sally Amer, Kaylan Fine

     

    Slick Rock Film Festival Awards Presentation

    Slick Rock Film Festival Awards – Sprigeo Founder/CEO Joe Bruzzese with Sally Amer & Kaylan Fine

     

     

    Finalists:

    Granite Hills High School
    Anti Bullying, Finalist
    Sergio Esquivel, Marcus Lorenzo, Victor Perez

    Valley ROP Sanger High School
    Because, Finalist
    Anthony Jacobo, Isaiah Hurtado, Monica Luna

    Valley ROP Sanger High School
    Cyber-Bullying, Finalist
    Mercedes Pena, Michael Cornacchia, Ian Schindler,
    Brandon Sepulveda

    Violet Heintz Education Academy
    Time To Stop, Finalist
    True Xiong, Franky Partida, Jason Villarreal, Kevin Coleman

  • The Letter – SBDI End of Year Show

    May 20, 2014

    970052_653659528002918_78988135_nI am still smiling from watching Santa Barbara Dance Institute‘s show on Sunday. The Letter featured 320 students dancing on a professional stage with a beautiful message to Be Brave, Be Kind and Listen to your Heart. Truly Inspiring!

    The entire show was based around the story of a father writing to his eight year old child Sam on the first day of the third grade.  He writes about the bullies he encountered when he was in elementary school and what he would have done differently.  This was based off of the internet letter “Dear Chase”.   SBDI’s performers came from schools from all over our county who have been taking weekly dance classes at their school sites.  The dances they performed were to songs tied to The Letter such as “Beat It”, “Who Says”, “Respect”, “Brave”, “Shine Your Way”, and many more woven together with messages of creating positive change in schools.  At the end of the collection of songs, each child had a special moment to shine as they danced across the stage and the full house of the theater cheered them on.

    Thank you to SBDI for creating empowering children to change the world.

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  • Custom anti-bullying mobile reporting app being piloted by Kern County Schools

    May 8, 2014

    In an effort to simplify the existing paper and pencil reporting system used within the Safe Schools Ambassadors Program, Community Matters has partnered with Sprigeo to develop an innovative tool that allows students involved as Ambassadors to report when they witness bullying and other forms of mistreatment and how they have employed SSA skills to diffuse the situation through a mobile app or desktop computer.

    Six Kern County school districts are involved in the pilot program, with seven local schools currently pilot testing the technology. These schools are the national pilot sites for this project. The app allows students to report their SSA actions using a smart-phone (Android or iPhone) or laptop/desk top computer.  Click here to read full article.

    Screen Shot SSA

     

     

  • New Research on Popular Kids and Peer Victimization

    April 4, 2014

    There is an interesting new study that was done in North Carolina that goes beyond the idea of powerful bullies and powerless victims and looks at the social structures related to teen behaviors.  The surprising result was the distress that many of the popular kids (the ones with social clout) were suffering as they are victimized by their peers.

    We spend a lot of time focused on the kids who are more isolated or picked on for their differences.  This continues to be a concern but we need to also be mindful of the students who may not appear to be on the outside of social circles.

    This is a link to an excellent article by Emily Bazelon (author of Sticks and Stones) that provides a summary of the study and what this research means: The Harder They Fall.

  • Sweet words from an 8 yr old

    March 24, 2014

    A friend of mine walked into her daughter’s room and found this sweet drawing on her whiteboard.  She shared a photo of it on her Facebook page.  So sweet and thoughtful — I love it!

     

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  • U.S. Safer Internet Day focused on potential, positives and problems too

    February 28, 2014

    Senator Charles Schumer with student panel at U.S. Safe

    Senator Charles Schumer with student panel at U.S. Safer Internet Day (photo: Sarah Baker)

    It was a great honor that ConnectSafely.org, the non-profit Internet Safety organization where I serve as co-director, was selected to host the first official U.S. Safer Internet Day.  The day, which has been celebrated in Europe for the past 11 years, saw events across the world including a celebration in Washington D.C. Tuesday where Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) spoke along with a panel of high school student leaders and another panel of social media executives.

    I moderated the event along with ConnectSafely.org co-director Anne Collier.

    On a panel moderated by 17 year-old Aidan McDaniel of West Virginia, executives from Facebook (Instagram), Google (YouTube), Microsoft (Xbox Live), Twitter and Yahoo (Tumblr) talked about the way their companies deal with abuse reports, child pornography, bullying and other problems. But they all agreed that the overwhelming majority of their users are good online citizens.

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    Students attending Safer Internet Day U.S. (photo: Sarah Baker)

    Just as cities and towns have to spend resources dealing with a small number of  trouble-makers, social media companies need to police their services so  users have mostly good experiences. All of these companies maintain close ties with law enforcement, which helps them deal with the most egregious problems. But in most cases when problems come up, they’re handled internally by warning the offending user or – if necessary – kicking them off the service.

     

    The final speaker at the Washington event was Senator Schumer, who quipped, “While I’ve probably never snapchatted with Senator Rand Paul, I do understand the great potential of the Internet.”

    He said that it is now a very important part of New York’s economy, both in cities (New York city is giving Silicon Valley a run for its money) and in rural areas. He pointed out that it increases political engagement of youth and has resulted in far more young people wanting to work for elected officials. He also touched on the Internet’s role in education and telemedicine and reminded the audience that it’s “important for every family to talk about Internet safety and rules in their household.”

    Safer Internet Day 2014 has come and gone, but every day is safer and better Internet day. This year’s theme, “Let’s create a better Internet together,” is a rallying call not for legislation, big pronouncements or major new products but ways that we can all contribute every day by remembering that the Internet isn’t really a network of machines but a network of people with aspirations and feelings. So, it’s really not about creating a better Internet but creating a better world.

    Social reporting

    Facebook now enlists its users to help each other with what they call “social reporting.” Instead of Facebook staff intervening in what are often relationship issues, they offer a tool that helps users work it out among themselves or seek help from a trusted third party.  The program, which is carried out with help from the Center for Emotional Intelligence at Yale, has been very effective, according to its developer, Facebook engineering Arturo Bejar. “We found when we were looking at reports that there were a lot of things getting reported that were really misunderstandings or disagreements among people who use the site,” he told me in an interview shortly after the company launched the program.

    One Good Thing

    While some of the day focused on problems encountered online, much of the discussion at the U.S. Safer Internet Day celebration focused on the positive things people are doing with connected technology. An important part of ConnectSafely’s program this year is the ‘One Good Thing” campaign that encourages people around the country to post positive short videos or blog posts positive things they have done or know about, using the Internet or mobile devices. The list ranges from high school kids using Facebook to promote a “Save the Pandas” campaign to a college student who spoke about the  online support given to him and friends  after the death of a fellow student. Others talk about their school’s “compliments page” or how they have gone online to support fellow students who have been cyberbullied. You can view and read these great things (and add your own) at OneGoodThing.us.

    The youth student panel, moderated by Yahoo Tech “Modern Family” columnist Dan Tynan, included students from Washington DC, Chicago and Detroit. The young panelists talked about ways students can be “upstanders” rather than bystanders when someone they know is bullied online or off.  And, the kids pointed out that bullying is not as common as some adults may think. Most of their classmates treat each other with respect at school and online.

     

    Click here to read this article on ConnectSafely.org.

  • Internet Safety Day Tuesday, February 11, 2014

    February 10, 2014

    Safer Internet Day

    On February 11th, ConnectSafely will hold a half-day event: “Safer Internet Day 2014: Teens and Tech Leaders on Building a Better Internet,” with featured speaker Sen. Charles Schumer.

    There will be two panel discussions on how young people interact on social media:

    9:30-10:30 – Panel 1: Youth Views on Using the Internet & Social Media & Making Them Better. This discussion will feature youth leaders from five states.

    10:30-11:30 – Panel 2: A Conversation with Tech Companies & Teens about Social Media. Nicky Jackson Colaco, Head of Public Policy at Instagram, will be on the panel along with other executives from Tumblr, Twitter, Xbox Live and Google/YouTube.

    Watch it live starting at 9:00 AM Eastern on Tuesday.

    You can participate in Internet Safety Day by sharing ONE GOOD THING…

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    Think of a good thing you’ve done or seen somebody else do to make the Internet a better place or the world a better place with the help of the Internet (here are some examples), then share it with a little text or video telling us about it – just 15-30 seconds or 50 words, short and sweet.  Here are some example topics…

    • Texting a kind message to a friend who was sad
    • Helping a grandparent figure out Facebook
    • Making sure a young cousin is posting appropriate photos
    • Getting a bunch of parents together and teaching them about how to use social media safely

    Have fun with it!  Click here to view one video example. 

     

  • Responding to the Roswell School Shooting – Expert article and interview

    January 17, 2014

    School shootings affect the lives of students, parents, schools and community members. The latest shooting in Roswell, New Mexico reminds us of central role that schools play within our communities. The following article and accompanying video interview is intended to connect you with relevant and reliable information for effectively responding to student, staff and community concerns. School Safety Expert and long-time school district administrator David Perrodin, wrote the following article earlier this week. A 2-3 minute video interview follows the article.

    Watch the 2-3 minute video interview with school safety expert, David Perrodin, highlighting the main points from his article below.

    What the Roswell, New Mexico School Shooting Means for Every School Administrator in America
    By David P. Perrodin – School Safety Expert

    On Tuesday, January 14, 2014, a 12-year-old boy entered a packed gymnasium at Berrendo Middle School with a shotgun concealed in a bag.  Moments later, he retrieved the weapon and wounded two randomly-targeted students before a staff member approached the boy and fortunately persuaded him to surrender the firearm.  It’s not surprising that this shooting was halted by the actions of a staff member.  The United States Secret Services (2002) determined that most school-based attacks (32% were stopped through intervention by school administrators, educators or students.  It is astounding, however, that adults weren’t forewarned of this attack.

    Silence is deadly

    The Youth Code of Silence will be dissected over the upcoming days and weeks.  Early reports suggest the attacker warned other students of the pending rampage.  Research has soundly informed us that the assailant plans the attack in advance of carrying it out and that someone else knew about the attack before it took place.  Yet, many threats are never reported to adults.  The proliferation of social media yields artifacts of threats in the form of emails, blog posts, etc.  Yet, social media’s dark side has delivered swift, expansive, irrevocable retaliation against youth who “snitch” on their peers – further enforcing preservation of the Youth Code of Silence.  Most virtual evidence is discovered through post-attack forensic analysis.  We must continue the work toward understanding why youth do no share information with adults.

    What every administrator should do following a school shooting in America:

    • Contact your local police department about obtaining donated gun locks and have them available at your next parent-teacher conferences.
    • Assemble student-focus groups; listen to what students share about their perception of school culture, threats and adolescent physical and virtual hangouts.  Mobile device accessible social media hubs evolve daily.  Snapchat, Askfm, Kik and Instagram didn’t exist 5 years ago and most didn’t have mobile applications 3 years ago.  Despite what adults believe, Facebook is no longer the preferred media site for youth.  Conduct a qualitative analysis to identify themes from your discussions with students and also to learn what’s “in” with social media.
    • Review tactical communications pointers for staff – a few key phrases could de-escalate a situation.  “What can I do to help you?” has a better likelihood of a positive reaction versus directing someone to “Calm down!”  Again, local police are trained in tactical communications and can provide tips for staff who might find themselves in the presence of an attacker.
    • Provide a refresher of your school’s threat input system to students and parents.  How are threats reported at night or on weekends?  Do students perceive the system as user-friendly and that it protects their anonymity?
    • Schedule a Google Alert for your school crisis response team to regularly receive a re-cap of the most relevant articles about “school shooting”.  Select an article, share it with your school’s crisis team or administrative cabinet and simply ask, “How would we have handled this situation in our school?”  This cognitive exercise warrants a succinct discussion and corresponding reference of safety protocols.  The process will inevitably unveil proactive measures.

    What every administrator should avoid following a school shooting in America:

    • People rush to assess, or prove, their school culture following a national shooting incident.  SurveyMonkey and Google Survey allow anyone to create an efficient electronic survey in minutes.  A survey should complement, not replace, rich discussions of a student focus group.  Furthermore, a survey is much more than the generation of broad climate questions flawed by vague terminology such as “safe” or “good”.  Local surveys are meaningful when the school leaders identify the constructs, or primary headings, they seek to inform.  Next, develop specific questions to harvest information to support those headings.  For example, if you have identified a construct of “Contextual Considerations” then you would ask questions about the perception of retaliation for sharing threat information and also about the discipline policies in the school.  If students feel that the school’s zero-tolerance policies are too strict, they might actually feel concern for the well-being of the aggressor and shield him rather than subject him to the harsh punishment administered by adults.  There’s nothing to be gained in learning that 90% of the students completing the survey rated their school culture as “good”.  There is value in knowing that 75% of students wouldn’t “snitch” on a peer as they judged the school’s discipline measures were too harsh for any student.
    • Avoid knee-jerk purchases of steel doors, bullet-proof glass and metal detectors.  Remember the three equal pillars to school safety:  physical environment (strengthen the physical structure), drills (promote an efficient response to a crisis) and school connectedness (make the student more resilient to engaging in harmful behaviors).  Be the voice of balance as restless people will demand reinforcement of the school building as the most visible way to create a safe setting.
    • The staff member at Berrendo Middle School saved countless lives by confronting the attacker.  However, this approach is purely a gamble and while it worked in this situation, it was ineffective in the Sandy Hook shooting.  Be very careful endorsing a culture that encourages staff to “take out” an armed attacker.  Self-defense in a breached, no escape area is one thing – assembling a posse and tracking down the shooter is a much different matter.  In most instances, getting students and staff behind locked doors is the best option to preserving lives.

    David Perrodin worked twelve years as a Director of Student Services before exiting the profession to focus exclusively on researching school safety in conjunction with his doctoral dissertation at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  He is also a school safety consultant and has presented on public television, in school districts and at several school safety conferences.  David’s article about the Youth Code of Silence will be featured in the February edition of the American Middle Level Educators Magazine.  In addition, David is a core faculty member with Viterbo University’s Educational Leadership Department and instructs aspiring administrators on the nuances of school safety.  Learn more about David at www.crisisprepconsulting.com

    Sprigeo will co-sponsor staff development sessions with David Perrodin this spring and next fall. David has limited availability for staff development and parent education presentations this spring and is currently scheduling dates for the fall. If you would like to find out more about co-sponsoring a staff development day please contact Sprigeo.

     

  • Suicide Prevention Publication

    January 8, 2014

    We would like to share a publication that was put together by one of our partners, The Tulare and Kings County Suicide Prevention Task Force.  This is an excellent resource with a message of hope related to suicide prevention.  Click on their logo to read the article:

     

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  • Important video by National Children’s Alliance

    December 16, 2013

     

    This is a powerful video about the importance of supporting victims of abuse. Teachers are in a unique position to be a trusted ear for their students. In addition to bullying incidents, Sprigeo’s reporting system has also been used by students who have trusted the system (and the adults receiving reports) to seek help in an unsafe situation like this video references.

    Visit the National Children’s Alliance website for additional resources.

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