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America ALERT ALERT


Based on user’s recent activity, it is likely he is being bullied.


ALERT


This user’s search history might indicate signs of depression and/or despair. Possible suicide watch.


Based on recent activity, this student is using drugs or


intends to experiment with them soon.


ALERT This student is using his smartphone while in class.


Schools Snoop on Students to


Prevent Next Mass Shootings Private firms hired to provide around-the-clock monitoring of social media posts, but civil libertarians are raising alarms.


major social media outlets — Face- book, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and others — and alert schools and law enforcement when the posts turn dark or violent. The mass monitoring of students is


S BY DAVID A. PATTEN


chool systems are hiring private firms to conduct around-the-clock monitor- ing of students’ social media


posts in an effort to prevent the next mass shooting at a school. The companies use special soft- ware and algorithms to sift through


14 NEWSMAX | MAY 2018


highly controversial among civil liber- tarians. It has been gaining currency since the December 2012 shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut that left 28 dead. But the February shootings that


killed 17 people at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla, have lent new momentum to the effort, and school systems nationwide are now spending millions of dollars each year on firms that track student post-


ings and sound an alarm if potentially violent messages are posted online. A few weeks after the Parkland


shooting, the Miami-Dade school sys- tem asked state officials for an addition- al $30 million to enhance security. The request included funds for “advanced monitoring of social media.” Similar steps are being taken


around the country. In the Cincinnati suburb of Spring-


boro, Ohio, for example, the school district announced a series of steps in February to enhance security, cit- ing safety lessons stemming from the shooting in Parkland. One of those changes included hir- ing a company to conduct continuous


AIMORN1992/SHUTTERSTOCK


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