After School, the largest teen-focused social network in the U.S., works with teens, school administrators, teachers, law enforcement and others in order to protect students and their communities through in-app activities, outreach, participating in and hosting events, and more. In mid-July, After School’s VP and General Counsel Jeff Collins joined #ICANHELP Co-Founder Matt Soeth to host an interactive session at the Safe Schools Conference in Anaheim, California. The event discussed “the direct link between school safety, learning, attendance, and higher test scores.”
The event featured workshops on topics far outside of social media and bullying prevention, including drug trends, gang prevention, mental health, active shooter, and dropout prevention.
Jeff and Matt’s session, titled “The ‘Monday Morning Social Media Blues’ How-To,” took participants on a journey through a social media scenario based on common situations schools often face when handling conflicts related to technology. Due to the widespread use of technology and social media in schools around the world, the majority of attendees representing educational institutions have faced real-life instances similar to the exercise. However, the presentation was unique in several distinct ways.
The audience was split into groups where each participant chose a role to play in the scenario. Roles included teacher, administrator, principal, and school district representative. Taking on these roles gave participants a chance to step into the shoes of a teacher or principal, helping them understand the responsibilities and limitations each have. Groups created a plan of action including an internal communication to stakeholders, a communication sent to the social media company, and an email to parents and the public.
Attendees also learned the importance of including social media companies in the process of reporting and navigating social media issues in schools. “After School genuinely cares about our users and their schools, and we work directly with them when instances arrive,” says Collins. “However, the majority of teachers, administrators, and even law enforcement don’t always think to involve the social media company in the process of resolving difficult situations and we’re trying to change that.”
Collins and Soeth will team up again for the 15th International Bullying Prevention Association (IBPA) Conference in November.