Protecting Our Kids: A 19 Solutions Special Report
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - School shootings, sextortion and bullying.
Everyday, our children are exposed to dangers that impact their lives and mental health.
19 News explores these issues and highlights some of the solutions that could mean the difference between life and death in our latest special report.
19 SOLUTIONS TEAM REPORTS
Northeast Ohio training center prepares law enforcement for possibility of active shooter
No one wants to be involved in an active shooter event, but Cuyahoga Community College is helping to train first responders on how to handle such incidents.
Remembering James Woods: Streetsboro sextortion victim honored during graduation ceremony
James Woods, a beloved student and track star, took his life after he fell victim to a sextortion scheme.
Mental Health: A pandemic among Ohio kids and beyond
Thirty states mandate school counselors in their elementary or high schools. Ohio is not one of them.
As of February of this year, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has announced more than $173 million in grants awarded to school districts to improve safety and security.
Some districts, like Lakewood and Cleveland, shared said plans were in the works to upgrade or install certain equipment.
The Akron Public School district has invested about $4 million in student safety, with new metal detectors, book bag scanners, bags to secure student cell phones during school hours, along with upgrades to the district’s entire video surveillance system which spans 47 buildings.
DeWine spoke with 19 News last month at the new Ohio School Safety Center in Columbus
The team at the safety center is made up of first responders, such as police officers and EMTs, school counselors, social workers, school bus drivers and even sports coaches.
They are helping Ohio schools and first responders prevent and prepare for threats.
“No one can guarantee there will not be a tragedy in Ohio. But we have an obligation, a moral obligation to do everything that we can to give schools the assistance they need and to protect every child,” DeWine said.
Sextortion, an online crime where an adult poses as a same-aged peer to convince a victim to share sexual pictures or perform sexual acts on camera, is a growing concern across the U.S.
Streetsboro High School Senior James Woods, 17, took his own life last November after falling victim to this crime.
His parents, Tamia and Timothy, have been outspoken about the loss of their son, urging parents to be on the lookout for the sake of their children.
“Educate! We want to educate families about sextortion, and we want to encourage all families to make sure they are checking their kids’ social media accounts and making sure they are staying safe,” they said.
It’s an epidemic that has plagued students for decades, only further escalated by social media.
Students no longer feeling safe in school, being bullied by peers, or worse, parents.
In one case, a slew of racist videos started making the rounds on social media, all of them feature Jackson High School students using racial slurs.
One video even shows a parent participating in the same behavior.
“I don’t think hurt is the right word,” said Kenedi Satterfield, a senior at Jackson High School. “It was definitely more than hurt. I was disgusted and concerned for my own safety and other Black kids’ safety.”
In another case, Anne Anderson, the mother of a transgender child, spoke in front of the Mentor Public School Board seeking justice.
“I’ve had transgender students reach out to me and tell me they were afraid to go to school because then they come into school after listening to the parents at the school board meetings, they know that they’re going to be attending school with their children and then their children come in and then harass these transgender students at our schools,” she said.
Anderson decided to make the call and pull her daughter, Bradie, from the district and send her to a different school. Anderson said she wants her child to be in an environment where she doesn’t get bullied.
“Trans kids just want to be left alone because they’re just kids like everyone else,” said Anderson.
- FBI: Active Shooter Safety Resources
- FBI: School Shooter Threat Assessment
- Ohio School Safety Center
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
- FBI: Child Pornography Victim Assistance program
- The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
- FBI: Stop Sextortion brochure
- FBI: Violent Crimes Against Children/Online Predators
- Stop Bullying
- Center for Parent Information and Resources
- American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Bullying Resource Center
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
For more information about mental health care resources and support, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. ET, at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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