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March 03. 2013 10:00PM

Derry police and schools team up to enhance cybersafety

DERRY - The school district and the police department are working together to help make sure parents can keep their children safe online.

A cybersafety night is being held at the West Running Brook Middle School on Tuesday, March 19, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Representatives from the police department and the school district staff will offer presentations on a variety of topics, including cyberbullying incidents, basic safety and digital citizenship, safe technology for learning, social networking applications, online gaming, smart phones and Twitter.

Students are welcome to attend the event but must be accompanied by a parent.

The cybersafety night is just one way the district and local police have been working together to keep students safe, according to district business director Jane Simard.

"Under Capt. (Vernon) Thomas' direction, a lot of officers have been going in and out of schools at random times and in random areas, depending on whichever school happens to be in their patrol area," said Simard. "They have been making their presence known by going in and introducing themselves to the principals and the administrators."

The increased presence will help police officers know who is who at the schools in case of emergency, and also gives the officers a chance to familiarize themselves with the layout of the schools.

"It's also a great thing for the students," said Simard. "They love having officers just walking the hallways and coming into the classrooms and saying hi. It gives them the opportunity to meet police officers in a casual setting, and also makes the staff and parents feel comfortable."

Simard said the schools have received many requests from parents who want more security in the schools during the day.

"We can't do that, but working with the Derry Police Department, we can offer some sense of security," she said. "It has been beneficial to both the police and our schools, and I've heard nothing but positive comments."

School Board chairman Brenda Willis said she was happy to hear about the increased police presence in the schools.

"We've had a good partnership with the police, but it's been expanded to include the students, and that benefits everybody," said Willis.

aswift@newstote.com


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