Student Behavior, Safety and Social Media – Albuquerque Public Schools
Dear Albuquerque Public Schools Community,
The safety, health and well-being of Albuquerque public school staff, students and community is always our priority.
The mental health and behavioral challenges that all schools face in normal times now appear to be exacerbated by the pandemic, as predicted when schools around the world were closed in response to the global health threat in March 2020.
Schools provide safety, structure, social connections and much more. We know that students can have difficulty resolving conflicts if they are not supervised by an adult. We also know that a home can present its dangers if items banned from schools are within reach and brought to our campuses.
There is not yet any evidence or research to explain some of the discipline issues we encounter in our schools. Nonetheless, we believe that the rise in violence and unacceptable behavior posted on social media and reported in the news can be attributed to school closures and stresses in the home such as unemployment, illness and other hardships. so many people are facing due to the pandemic.
Staff at all of our schools monitor student behavior and carry out well-being checks in the event of a problem. Our counselors and social workers are available to help staff and students. All APS students and employees are encouraged to say something if they see, hear or know anything that could pose a threat to safety. You can call the APS Police at 505-243-7712 to report a potential threat. You can also contact Crime Stoppers at 505-843-STOP to report anonymously.
APS Police are partnering with the Albuquerque Police Department and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department to patrol our campuses. Unfortunately, all three law enforcement agencies are struggling with a shortage of officers. The APS Police Department is currently short of 11 officers and 18 campus security assistants. We’ve been actively recruiting for years, but the US workforce is changing and we are adapting. Nevertheless, we are as vigilant as possible with the resources available.
We agree that campus safety is essential and we encourage you to speak with your school principal if you have immediate concerns. The district strives to keep everyone informed, but privacy laws prohibit us from disclosing information about student discipline or a student’s health and well-being.
The district also does not comment on violent or inappropriate behavior posted on social media sites. Our students are children and young adults who are often plagued by impulsive decision-making without understanding the ramifications of their decisions. The sole purpose of social media posts is to gain attention. We will not encourage violence and bad behavior, and replaying videos and engaging in conversations on the posts may encourage harmful and unacceptable behavior. There will also be consequences for students who record, post or watch a video without reporting an ongoing altercation.
Safety at school is a shared responsibility. It is now more important than ever to speak with your students, be aware of their social media activity, listen to their concerns and access the resources available on well-being at school when needed. We cannot ignore our students if they take action because they need our help.