Sweet Home CSD holds panel to discuss school safety | #schoolsaftey

AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) — With new efforts to keep students safe, both around the state and in two Western New York school districts, student safety has become a top concern among families across Western New York, in the last few years.

Wednesday afternoon, Governor Kathy Hochul and State Attorney General Letitia James unveiled a pair of bills.

The first would help protect your kids’ data.

The second would limit the amount of time your kids could spend online.

Governor Hochul’s bill would restrict the addictive features on social media platforms for kids under 18.

She points to research that shows a link between social media use and conditions like depression and anxiety.

In Western New York, parents in Sweet Home Central School District got the chance to talk with district leaders and law enforcement about this very topic tonight.

7 News’ Pheben Kassahun went up to a special public forum to hear what you had to say about social media’s impact on your children.

Parent, Matthew Clements said, “Based on the environment we live in nowadays, safety in schools is up most important to parents and students.”

A special discussion for parents about school safety and talking with your children about the influence of social media took place in the Sweet Home High School auditorium.

“Almost every violation of our student code of conduct, can be traced back to social media posts. I am here to tell you that many of our kids, great kids, can’t handle the impact of social media on their lives. It’s not because of their maturity level. It’s because their brains are still developing especially in middle school and the early parts of high school,” Sweet Home CSD superintendent, Dr. Michael Ginestre said.

Town of Amherst Police Department Captain Charles Persons said, “We’re going to give them best practices for how they can monitor their kids social media, advice on how to monitor their kids and how kids go about hiding their applications from their parents.”

Nine panelists shared their hopes to prevent addictive behavioral patterns when it comes to social media and showcase the district’s partnership with Horizon health services, U.S. Secret Service, Town of Tonawanda Police and Amherst Police Department.

Sweet Home CSD Assistant Superintendent JoAnn Balazs explained, “To hear it right from those who are fielding these calls, complaints, these threats, these responses so that they can fully appreciate the investigation process, our responses and more importantly what we can do proactively to keep our kids safe in schools.”

Another focal point: school threats and threats of violence.

“The prevalence of kids bringing air soft guns to school and carrying them around the neighborhoods. That is something that seems to be increasing recently and we want to be sure to tell parents the dangers behind that, not only to the child them self but the scare that it can put into other people,” Town of Amherst Police Department Captain Charles Persons said.

The district plans on having the same discussion with students in the future.

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