It's a trend that started a few years ago. People selling nude pictures and videos through social media apps. "Sex Sells" and unfortunately, many tweens and teens are cashing in on this.
If the person sending the photos or videos is under 18 years of age this is child pornography. It is a crime to posses and and to send these pictures and videos electronically.
Parents need to talk with their children and monitor their online activity as much as possible. This isn't always as simple as it seems. Kids are savvy and know how to hide these apps, pictures and videos. An added danger is that these kids may potentially agree to meet the strangers in person that they sent these pics or videos to.
Below are some links to news reports and videos about this alarming trend.
Please speak with your kids today!
Sometimes a situation can be perceived one way and be totally different from that perception. That can happen often, especially via social media. Sometimes a picture or video can be shared that attempts to bring awareness to a potential threatening situation that in reality is not a threat.
One morning there was another such incident. A woman posted a picture of a male who rang her bell early in the morning. After posting the picture it was discovered that the young man was in fact a neighbor who was trying to return a wallet he found on the street. When the homeowner didn't answer the young man left the wallet in the mailbox. The picture wasn't taken down until the young man's family recognized him and commented. Thankfully the picture was only up a short time before the situation was clarified. This incident will hopefully remind us all to #ThinkBeforeYouClick
I shared about similar incident back in October 2017
Sometimes a situation can be perceived one way and be totally different from that perception. That can happen often, especially via social media. Often times a picture or video can be shared that attempts to bring awareness to a potential harmful situation.
Another incident that happened about 2 years ago. A post was circulating of a utility worker that was perceived as an imposter potentially trying to gain access to a senior citizen's home. Unfortunately, that worker was not in uniform and was driving a personal vehicle. The post was shared numerous times. I passed the information on to the utility company and it was determined the individual was an employee. That utility employee had began to receive threats due to the misidentification.
This unfortunate incident did have a positive result though. The utility company reiterated their uniform and identification policy to all their employees in an effort to prevent any further misidentification. That effort protects both customers and the employees. This is just one example of how something can be perceived as something it is not.
A few years ago when I was a member of Community Education Council 31, I spent time on work revolving around Empathy, Equity and Excellence throughout the Staten Island district. This work centered on diving deep in discussions about those often difficult and uncomfortable topics involving race, gender, and socio-economic status. These conversations can have us reflect on ingrained perceptions we may have from past experiences and relationships.
The work our District Leadership Team and community partners are engaging in is something that will foster collaboration and capacity building. Superintendent Anthony Lodico has led our efforts in partnership with Betsy Dubovsky, Executive Director of The Staten Island Foundation in securing over $800,000 in grant funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and other community partners for “Achieving Transformational Educational Outcomes.”
Staten Island District 31 was one of several school districts from across the nation competing for this grant, eventually beating out 2 other finalists from California. This work will partner our Staten Island District 31 Educators and Community members with the consulting firm FSG. FSG will develop a training and interactive deep analysis plan incorporating their “Systems Thinking” framework.
“Systems Thinking is not ‘thinking about a system.’ Instead, Systems Thinking is a framework and set of tools that help people observe and understand the interdependencies that exist within a complex system and focus on higher-leverage change strategies. It helps individuals consider the connections between inner (personal mental models) and outer (dynamics between stakeholders) change; elevate the importance of transforming relationships within a system; examine how the structure generates the behavior observed, and shift attention from reactive activity to addressing deeper sources of problems.” – FSG
This work will consist of community-member working groups, leadership training sessions and community engagement to help build on student outcomes regardless of race, gender or economic conditions.
District 31 is honored to be awarded this competitive grant opportunity. This will allow our District to build upon our work, increasing Empathy, Equity and Excellence in our school community. Our District was already engaged in work that aligned with the objectives of the Carnegie grant, incorporating the $150,000 Chancellor Carmen Farina provided to support our work focused on the My Brother’s Keeper initiative.
In October, Superintendent Anthony Lodico chaired our first meeting of the Empathy, Equity and Excellence working group. The group is comprised of students, educators, parents and community members. Matthew Lattimer, Conciliation Specialist with the U.S. Department of Justice is facilitating the discussion for the group.
This monumental work will expand from the planning committee and working group to a 3-day workshop in late January into February. The workshop will bring together approximately 75 Staten Island stakeholders representing parents, students, teachers, principals, and community and faith-based organizations. The workshop will focus on promoting opportunities for Pre-K through grade 12 students in our community. The event will be co-led by facilitators from FSG, PolicyLink and the Systems Leadership Institute, three nationally recognized organizations that will help our community dig into key aspects of leadership development and creating sustainable change.
We are looking forward to building on this exciting work!
Click on the links below to learn more about the initiatives.
Carnegie Corporation of New York
Staten Island Foundation
My Brother’s Keeper Grant for Family and Community Engagement – District 31
Excited to announce that I have joined The Center for Educational Innovation team to deliver Cyberbullying - Digital Citizenship presentations to our school communities across the region.
"Grateful to Michael joining our team at CEI and offering much needed guidance to our school communities across New York City," Michael Kohlhagen, CEO, The Center for Educational Innovation.
It was great visiting the Queens High School for the Sciences at York College this week to discuss #Cyberbullying #DigitalCitizenship with the students. I am looking forward to continuing to connect with students, staff and parents across the region.
The Center for Educational Innovation (CEI) is a non-profit education organization and a recognized leader in advancing meaningful reforms in public education. We believe the school is the center and driving force of public education reform and innovation.
learn more about CEI here:
I recently visited Staten Island's PS 26 & PS 58 to discuss #DigitalCitizenship #CyberSafety with the students. We often focus too much on capturing the moment that we forget to live in the moment.
As many of you know I continually advocate for increased transparency from the DOE for accountability and to limit the proliferation of rumors and misinformation. Unfortunately, far too often school administrations decide for whatever reason not to communicate with their school communities when an incident occurs. Some administrations are forthcoming with information while others remain silent. Many times word travels like the telephone game, except in today's technological world it spreads and grows much faster. The stories also develop much faster twists and embellishments.
It is understandable that in many cases the school can't release specific details about an incident, but when the incident is deemed under control and safe, schools should communicate with families and members of the school community. In my opinion a simple email, letter or robo-call acknowledging an incident occurred and safety protocols were implemented to ensure the safety of the students and staff should be made. Providing a notification to the school community should be a distinct part of these protocols. Communication would build trust and collaboration between all stakeholders in the school community. Silence breeds mistrust, and gives the illusion that no action is being taken. That can be extremely damaging to a school community.
As the school year begins we all hope for a great year. Parental and family involvement is one way to make that happen. It can have a huge impact on student success. Below are several opportunities for parents and family members to consider as a way to get involved.
Parent Teacher Associations (PTA)
Meetings: Every public school and most private schools have some form of a Parent Organization that hosts monthly meetings and other activities. The monthly meetings provide an opportunity for families to stay informed about events and programs at the school.
Committees: Parents can join a PTA committee to participate in putting together activities like fundraising, grant writing, carnivals, fairs and other events to support the school community.
School Leadership Teams (SLT)
Each NYC Public School has an SLT that is comprised of an equal number of Parents and staff. The SLT is a shared decision making entity that develops the Comprehensive Education Plan (CEP) for the school. The SLT meets at least once a month and all school community members are welcome to attend and observe the meetings.
Visit http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/FACE/ParentLeader/SchoolLeadership.htm to learn more about PTAs and SLTs
Learning Leaders provides an opportunity for parents to volunteer to help provide individualized instructional and other school based support. The program “Empowers parents to foster their children’s educational development.” Please contact your school’s Parent Coordinator if you are interested in becoming a Learning Leader. Visit http://www.learningleaders.org to learn more.
Classroom observation opportunities
Throughout the year in many NYC Public Schools there are presentations and activities where families are invited into the classroom to see the students work first hand. Teachers and Parent Coordinators usually send emails or notes back-packed home with dates and times. NYC Public Schools also schedule Open House Weeks. The Open House provides an opportunity for parents and families to see a sample of the learning environment in their child’s classroom.
Parent – Teacher conferences
Throughout the year there are set dates and times for parents to meet with their child’s teacher. These meetings provide an opportunity to discuss your student’s progress and develop strategies to support them.
Curriculum workshops and presentations
Many public schools host parent workshops about curriculum in an effort to provide support for parents and families to help their students at home. Please contact your school’s Parent Coordinator to see if these events are scheduled at your child’s school.
District level involvement
Attend Community Education Council 31 meetings to hear updates from our District Superintendent about events and programs in our Staten Island public schools. The meetings are held at the Michael J. Petrides Complex on the first Monday of each month. The meetings are open to the public and there is an opportunity for public comment. Visit www.cec31.org for additional information.
The NYC DOE Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) is the board that oversees the NYC Public School system. The board is comprised of mayoral and borough president appointees. The PEP votes on contracts, and establishes system-wide policies. The Chancellor is a non-voting member of the PEP and is present at all the meetings. The PEP meetings happen monthly and rotate across the 5 boroughs. The public has an opportunity to comment at PEP meetings.
Visit http://schools.nyc.gov/AboutUs/leadership/PEP/default.htm to learn more about the Panel for Educational Policy
'Think before you click,' school official says of social media posts. (Courtesy Staten Island Advance)
Videos shared with SILive.com show a fight at a High School. One was posted to Facebook briefly, before going viral. It was then deleted since. The second video is a look at the fight taken from another camera, which shows the moments leading up to the altercation.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- "Think before you click."
That was one school official's message to students and parents navigating common high school issues in the social media age.
"Be careful of what you share because everything you do online leaves a footprint," said Mike Reilly, president of Community Education Council 31. "You have to think about how that act reflects your character and your parents."
Reilly has some advice about dealing with the consequences of living in a viral culture.
"The only advice is to have the conversation with kids at an early age," Reilly said. "Think before you react. Kids today have an impulse. These things happened when we were kids, but they didn't get taped. Times have changed. It's 24/7 now."
On Monday, a short clip shot by a student was posted to Facebook showing a male student in a black sweatshirt grab another student in a white T-shirt around the neck. He holds the student around the neck for a few seconds until the teen in the white T-shirt crumbles to the floor.
That 10-second video was deleted shortly after its posting, but the damage was done. The clip had instantly spread across social media sites.
"This incident is a perfect example," Reilly said. "I'm sure there's more to the story, but by sharing the video you now advocate the problem. The best way to stop bullying and cyber bullying is not to be an enabler by sharing."
The father of the student in the black sweatshirt provided the Advance with a second video clip of the fight, taken by another student at a different angle.
That clip -- which the father says adds more context to the incident beyond the snippet that went viral -- shows the moments leading up to the fight. It's a more fair portrayal of his son's role, he said.
The father told the Advance his son had been suspended pending a Department of Education hearing. The DOE was not able to confirm the status of either student involved in the incident.
"I wanted to set the record straight," he added. "This has been terrible. I've been stressed and not sleeping. There have been serious repercussions of this post."
His son, he says, has received several Instagram threats after the first video was posted.
The message of thinking before clicking applies to parents, too. A parent posted the initial video of the fight, the father claimed.
"I'm blunt," Reilly said. "Parents act like children, and share things we tell kids not to. It's troubling."
Far too often, there is a lack of empathy or understanding of the impact mental illness can have on an individual, their family and the community as a whole.
I know first-hand what impact mental illness can have on a family. My mother suffered from mental illness. From when I was about 6 years old my mother fought depression and emotional issues that took a toll on her daily life. She was diagnosed with having several nervous breakdowns during her life, spending weeks at a time in the hospital. It was always a difficult time for my Dad, brother and me seeing her this way.
My family would tell me stories of the difficult times she and her siblings had growing up. Did that play a role in her mental illness? Quite possibly.
As you can imagine my mother’s mental illness was hard on our family at times, especially for my Dad. Although I am sure it took a toll on him, he always remained her biggest champion, forever by her side. Reflecting on that now, I see that quality he had is true to his character and it helped keep our family strong.
The experience with mental illness so close to me had an impact on my job as a police officer. We handled many jobs involving EDPs (Emotionally Disturbed Persons). I guess that is why those jobs seemed to tug at my heart, especially when it was a woman around my mother’s age.
My intention in sharing this is not for sympathy, but simply to raise awareness to the fact that mental illness comes in all forms and it can impact any family. The world needs a little more EMPATHY!
I often receive questions concerning the restrictions on registered sex offenders who live in the area of schools. Most of us have received those backpacked communications from schools advising that a registered sex offender relocated to a residence within the community. As a parent, I know how upsetting they can be. I’ve outlined some information for parents to use as a reference regarding sex offenders living nearby.
Level 1 sex offenders, or low recidivist risk, must register for 20 years, unless they have a designation (sexual predator, sexually violent offender, or predicate sex offender), in which case they must register for life. Level 2 offenders, or moderate recidivist risk, and Level 3 offenders, or high recidivist risk, must register for life. Recidivist, put simply, is a repeat offender.
New York State law restricts Level 3 registered sex offenders from being within 1,000 feet of a school in a parked vehicle or knowingly being on school grounds when on parole or probation. A Level 3 sex offender is designated as such due to their highest recidivist potential. They have a lifetime requirement to be registered and prohibited from being within 1,000 feet of a school or on school grounds.
Level 1 and 2 registered sex offenders are ONLY restricted from being within 1,000 feet of school grounds while on parole or probation. Therefore, under New York State law there are no residency restrictions once parole and probation has been lifted.
By law, only Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders are listed on the public directory. This directory now posts multiple photographs of registered sex offenders, as they become available, to provide New Yorkers with additional information to keep their families safe (per the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services or NYS DCJS). A notification will not be issued to residents when a Level 1 offender lives nearby.
You can view the New York State Sex Offender Registry at http://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/nsor/ (or link to it directly from my column at siparent.com). You can search the registry by name to see if someone is a registered sex offender. You can also search by zip code or county to view a list of all sex offenders who live in a certain area.
BASIC REQUIREMENTS OF REGISTERED
• Report annually where they live by signing and returning an annual verification form to DCJS within 10 days after receiving it.
• Notify DCJS in writing of a new address no later than 10 days after moving.
• Report in person to a local police agency to have a current photograph taken every three years (Level 1 and 2 offenders) or every year (Level 3 offenders).
• Notify DCJS in writing of any institution of higher education they are attending, enrolled, living or employed. Any change in status must be reported to DCJS no later than 10 days after the change.
• Provide in writing internet service providers, internet screen names and email accounts.
• Level 3 offenders and offenders with a sexual predator designation must personally verify their addresses every 90 days with law enforcement. Law enforcement may at that time photograph a level 3 offender if that offender’s appearance has changed.
The above is a basic list of sex offender responsibilities. You can refer to Correction Law Article 6-C for more information at http://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/nsor/claws.htm.