- Web filters like Lightspeed Systems' Relay, available as a Google Chrome plug-in, are helping districts manage students' devices from a single dashboard and avoid potential crisis situations, according to EdTech: Focus on K-12.
- Since adopting the plug-in last summer, Missouri's Morgan County R-1 School District has reportedly avoided four such situations, with the superintendent, resource officer, and technology director using it to filter websites; scan emails, searches and Google Docs; and find lost devices.
- According to Michael Dorn, executive director of Safe Havens International, web filtering can also play a critical role in helping schools improve security by identifying threats from external sources in the community as well as those from students.
In the wake of tragedies like this year's Parkland, FL, school shooting, the Newtown school shooting of 2012, Columbine two decades ago, and countless others in between, schools and districts have found it increasingly necessary to implement a variety of security measures. This has also necessitated some consideration of how these measures impact the school environment.
While a web filter is a relatively invisible layer of security, physical measures like surveillance cameras and metal detectors can alter the feel of the school environment. Too noticeable a presence and the campus can begin to feel more like a prison than a learning environment, especially when the preexisting architectural structure and the presence of school resource officers is factored in. The more schools and districts can do to camouflage the presence of cameras and other security tools, as well as working with security officers so they, too, are working to build bonds with students rather than serving simply as an imposing authority figure, the easier it will be to keep the school as warm and inviting of an environment as possible.