On Friday, October 25, Catskill Academy students participated in a school-wide assembly about various safety topics in recognition of National Safety Month.
Retired New York State Police Trooper Chris Quinn, along with NYSP Trooper Jamie Davis and Retired NYSP Senior Investigator Pete Kusminsky spoke to students about safe use of social media, bullying/harassment, the dangers of vaping and took questions during the 45-minute presentation.
One of the major points emphasized was that kids often see things online that are dangerous but are made to look cool. Davis says she sees young people often do things they normally wouldn’t after seeing it online and thinking it’s ok.
Students were encouraged to consider how their actions affect others – whether it’s being an example to younger kids in school or sharing something negative online and how that might hurt others involved. All three presenters shared the importance of telling a trusted adult if they see someone else doing something inappropriate or dangerous.
“In the long run, there’s more going on than what’s happening today. They say you’re known by the company you keep. If you hang around with people getting in trouble, you’re going to get in trouble too,” said Quinn.
Students were also reminded that nothing you post online is ever really gone. Quinn, Davis and Kusminsky all shared that even on Snapchat, where messages disappear shortly after sending, law enforcement can often retrieve those images if needed.
Also discussed were the dangers of vaping in the wake of a rash of illnesses and deaths around the country related to vape pens and cartridges, a reminder than threats against the school or other students are always illegal and result in severe consequences, and that if students feel harassed or bullied to share their concerns with a staff member rather than hiding it or carrying it inside themselves.