Updated: October 16, 2019 07:13 PM
Created: October 16, 2019 07:01 PM
BERNE - Albany County Sheriff's Deputy Nathaniel Bray is the school resource officer at Berne-Knox-Westerlo.
"Every kid I think that goes to high school now, unfortunately, has a story and has an experience that might not be positive in terms of someone targeting them that's an online predator or just kids not being nice," he said. "This will teach kids the costs of not being a good online citizen, as well as some of the resources to keep them safe."
Last week, he got training in Cyber SWAT. SWAT stands for Safety While Accessing Technology.
A team of student-mentors will learn about cyber-bullying and online predators -- what to look for, and what to avoid.
They'll share what they've learned with other students and talk about some sensitive subjects.
"Kids say, ‘Oh well, this kid was being mean to me online, Deputy Bray.’ And this really gives them the skills to take themselves out of that situation, and also teach others that are doing these actions that it's not cool and it's not alright and later in life, it could be a crime," said Deputy Bray.
Bray says the students know much better than adults about the quickly-changing social media trends.
Experts say schools everywhere know first-hand the effects of online bullying.
"Not just here, but outside of this building, you see it almost every day on the news," said Principal Mark Pitterson. "Kids who go into depression, kids who complain about not being comfortable in their schools, not feeling safe, and we want to make sure that all kids here all feel safe and secure."
"Help kids focus on education, and going to school for what the purpose of school is, as opposed to going in fearful of being bullied, fearful of being a victim of technology by their own peers," said Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple.
Authorities are planning a full district rollout in November for the program.
Berne-Knox-Westerlo and Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk are the only two schools in the state with the Cyber SWAT pilot program.
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