Detect Your Child’s Emotional Distress Before the School’s AI Does

School districts use artificial-intelligence software that can scan student communications and web searches on school-issued devices — and even devices that are logged in via school networks — for signs of suicidal ideation, violence against fellow students, bullying and more. Included in the scans are emails and chats between friends, as well as student musings composed in Google Docs or Microsoft Word.

When the AI recognizes certain key phrases, these systems typically send an alert to school administrators and counselors, who then determine whether an intervention with the student and parents is warranted…

“From a public-sector perspective, there is no presumed anonymity in anything you do on a school device, on a school network or in a school setting,” Dr. Brian Megert added. “I have mixed feelings about it, but if we’re going to err on one side it has to be on the side of safety.”…

Ask about their peers. Instead of making the conversation about them, a good way to get into a discussion is to ask about others. Dr. Hina Talib suggests saying something like, “Have you ever heard of anyone who cut themselves and you weren’t sure what that was about? I’m happy to talk to you about it.”…

There are ways to talk to kids about mental health before you get a call from the school…Don’t be afraid to talk about suicide. Dr. Hina Talib said some parents worry that bringing up the topic of self-harm or suicide could inspire kids to act, but she said that isn’t true; kids usually feel relieved to have someone to talk to.

More questions and answers follow through the article. Useful stuff.

5-year-old brings a loaded gun to school


My preference

❝ A kindergarten student brought a loaded gun to his Pennsylvania elementary school on Monday, school officials confirmed.

The kindergartener entered Pittsburgh Faison K-5 elementary school with a loaded gun in his backpack on Monday and kept the weapon in his locker all day, KDKA reported.

On the bus ride back home, another student alerted the bus driver about the weapon, which prompted the driver to search the boy’s backpack and take the gun…

❝ The district alerted parents about the incident and announced new increased security measures. Beginning on Tuesday, both students and adults will be required to pass through metal detectors, School Spokeswoman Ebony Pugh said.

What, what? You thought we could rely on parents to have enough good sense to keep a 5-year-old from having access to a loaded gun? It is to laugh!

11-year-old arrested in Georgia with a knife at school — in fear of clown attacks!

❝ Police say a fearful 11-year-old Georgia girl who took a knife to school told officers she needed the weapon to fend off clowns.

The girl was arrested…at Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School in Athens amid reports and social media posts about clowns frightening children in Georgia and other states.

❝ An Athens-Clarke County police report states the girl said she needed the knife to protect her and her family because she had heard the stories about clowns jumping out of the woods and attacking children.

Police…released the girl to her mother on a charge of possession of a weapon on school grounds.

Related news…

❝ In Coweta County, southwest of Atlanta, police were investigating a suspicious Facebook post by a man claiming to be “The Newnan Clown,”…

The profile, which has since been made private, said, “If I see you, I will get You!!! I want kids and all”…

❝ In neighboring Alabama, law enforcement officials are warning that people involved in a rash of creepy clown hoaxes across the state could be prosecuted.

Not certain what’s creepier: Kids so afraid of clowns they think they need to be armed or the kids who don’t think first of trusting their safety to their parents, teachers or maybe even the local coppers?

Thanks, @ninjaeconomics

Eating less calories — kids still getting more obese

crap fries
Veggies for your kids

According to a 2015 New York Times analysis of government and private-sector data, the number of calories consumed annually by the average US child declined 9 percent between 2004 and 2013. And yet, researchers from Duke and Wake Forest have found that trend has not improved the child obesity situation.

Using body mass index data from the National Health Examination Survey, which tracks randomly selected households with health exams and surveys every two years, the researchers calculated moderate (class 1), mid-level (class 2) and extreme (class 3) obesity rates among kids aged 2 to 19. Here’s what they found…

The “overweight” rate — which encompasses the above “obese” categories as well as slightly overweight kids — also nudged upward from an already-high level: 28.8 percent from 1999 to 2000, compared with 33.4 percent from 2013 to 2014…The authors broke out data by age, gender, and race, and not a single group showed a statistically significant decline in obesity or being overweight over the time frame…

So, despite the above-mentioned drop in calorie intake, our kids are still packing on too much weight too fast. What gives?

…Barry Popkin, a veteran obesity researcher…said that while kids have eased up on problematic items like sugary sodas in recent years, they’re “not shifting the quality of their diets toward healthy foods.” Instead, “we continue to see our children mainly eat what we would call junk food,” relying heavily on cookies and other grain-based sweets, along with plenty of salty snacks, fruit juice (which acts an awful lot like soda in our bodies), and other sugary beverages.

A recent analysis of another big federal data set, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, bears out Popkin’s claim. When infants transition from baby food to solid food, they still tend to get plied with plenty of processed junk and few vegetables…The report noted that 40 percent of babies get brownies or cookies, and that French fries and chips are the most common form of vegetables kids eat by the time they’re two years old.

And we carry forward from there to the expected. Insufficient exercise, proper training to develop lifetime, lifestyle habits. Politicians without inclination to challenge the least lobbyist for crap food sold to meet budget cuts in school cafeterias. And on and on.

Letting beancounters overrule what we do to and for our children should be a crime.

Dumb crook of the day

Authorities say a burglar who broke into a middle school got stuck on an elevator and was forced to call 911 for help.

Local media outlets report that police say 19-year-old Michael Claude of Laurel broke into the school Monday. Officials say he was riding down the hallways on a buffing machine before he got on the elevator. After he got stuck, police say, Claude called 911 for help, and an elevator maintenance service was able to open the doors.

Police say Claude was found wearing a Laurel letterman jacket that did not belong to him. He was charged with third-degree burglary, criminal mischief and theft. He was released on $3,800 bond.

Har.

Oklahoma considers stupid law regulating stupid policies


Feel threatened?

An Oklahoma politician apparently felt that hype about the dangers of guns in schools had gone too far and decided to do something about it.

Under the Common Sense Zero Tolerance Act introduced by Rep. Sally Kern, schoolchildren in the state would no longer face punishment if they chew their frosted or fruit-filled breakfast pastries into the shape of guns…

According to the bill, “Brandishing a pastry or other food which is partially consumed in such a way that the remnant resembles a weapon,” would be protected…

In addition to the pastry provision, Kern’s bill would also make it safe for students to possess small toy weapons or use pencils, pens, fingers or their hands to simulate a weapon.

Students also couldn’t be punished for wearing clothes that “support or advance Second Amendment rights or organizations.”

In Oklahoma you have to include that last sentence otherwise the NRA will tell everyone the bill is part of some commie, pinko plot to send the Marines to your home and take away your guns.

Then, there’s the fun of deciding which kind of stupid you need to support, which kind you need to stop. Do you pass zero tolerance regulations that lead to silliness like suspending students who chew their pastries into dangerous weapon-shapes? Do you spend time regulating how much common sense is allowed to modify zero tolerance silliness? And on and on. An endless loop keeping politicians looking busy – if not productive.