Schools remain closed for the time being. But that doesn’t mean that school safety falls by the wayside. The Maryland Center for School Safety wants to remind all students that the anonymous tip line Safe Schools Maryland is still in operation. The tip line can be accessed every day, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The phone number is 1-833-MD-B-SAFE (1-833-632-7233); the online site is safeschoolsmd.org; there is a free app available through platforms like the App Store and Google Play. Let’s learn more about it.
This center is responsible for providing grants and school safety training. It also supports special education and private education. One of the elements of school safety that they have been focusing on is asking students to report anything that could be concerning even as distance learning continues. Newer and more diverse challenges call for more unconventional responses. What this means is that the tip line has become more important than ever before. The safety and well-being of all students remain the top priority that teachers and staff members are trying to take care of even in these challenging times.
However, there are significant challenges that continue to pose problems. Normally, the reports would be handled if schools were in ordinary operation; but with schools closed and students isolated these typical safety concerns are harder to identify and respond to; concerns about physical or emotional well-being should be reported to the tipline, especially when it comes to cyberbullyiing.
Worries About Cyberbullying
While cyberbullying is an unfortunate issue even in physical learning, it has potentially become more of a problem in the new normal. Distance learning can contribute to feelings of loneliness, as can the sudden lack of mental health counseling and the ability to connect with teachers and get the same mentorship they would have in person. Cyberbullying is more likely than ever to get worse. Karen Salmon, the current superintendent of Schools, is also the chair of the School Safety subcabinet. She is encouraging students and families to take advantage of resources for emotional support and other online resources that each school still offers. Learning should never stop, even if typical routines are disrupted.
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