Learning takes place at its best where the mind is without fear and the knowledge is free.
No parents should be worried about the safety of their kids while they are at school. No children should be worried about their safety while they are at school. It's their time to learn, engage, explore and develop life long friendships. Safety should be the least of their concerns.
During my recent visit to the schools, I was pleased with how we have managed the physical safety of our schools so far. However, with the ever-changing nature of the threat, we can't be sitting idle thinking all is good. My experience with Armed Forces tells me that the security is only solid, when we evaluate it periodically, make the necessary changes be proactive and ready to execute as and when required. I will make sure that I hold the administration accountable for this if elected.
A second and important point, when we talk about safety, we only speak about physical safety. In today’s high tech world, the puzzle is not complete unless we address the mental safety in schools and the biggest threat of the modern-day, data safety.
Our schools should be a safe place for our children where they can feel free to bring their authentic selves, express freely without the fear of any retaliation. Any sort of bullying behavior can have a long-lasting impact on children and should be dealt with severely without any tolerance. Moreover, if anyone has to go through any unfortunate traumatic experience, we must make sure they have the support they need to be able to readjust to the normal student life.
We are living in an age where data is everything. Every student from 5-18 yrs has a handheld device. It opens a completely new world to them. Those devices have limited financial data, personal data, grades, and other sensitive information. Moreover, the school system has a wide variety of sensitive data, which includes parents' and educators' PII (Personally Identifiable Information), financial data and much more. Those data need to be safeguarded. The board should conduct surveys about the existing cybersecurity infrastructure and an external audit should be conducted to understand the underlying threats. The recommendations should be taken seriously and an implementation plan needs to be made to protect the data integrity.
As someone with extensive experience working on data and network security, I will be a resource on the board to have those conversations and steer us into a direction where we are taking the cyber threat seriously, being proactive and working towards a safer environment.