A tech device that could help school administrators cut down on bullying is being presented today to the National Association of School Boards meeting in San Antonio, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Bullying is generally considered, along with mental health concerns, to be the prime factor in school violence and school shootings.
Since the vast majority of bullying incidents take place in private areas like rest rooms and locker rooms, probably because traditional surveillance is not possible in those areas, Mike Richez of New York based OSC World, says the problem is letting school officials know of bullying in areas where cameras cannot be installed.
So he is presenting a 'smart' device which can 'learn' the traditional ambient sound which is present in a bathroom or locker room, and then will be able to detect unusual noises which are associated with bullying, including screams and sounds of threats and pain. The reason bullying generally goes on in those areas is largely because they are out of the general view of authority figures.
"Any deviation or anomaly in air quality or sound will alert administrators via their cell phone or their computer," he said.
Richez says he is presenting his tech tool to the NASB and also soliciting input on how to improve it.
He says the problem in detecting trouble in bathrooms and locker rooms is not violating privacy, and he says the OSC World device overcomes those concerns using technology.
"There is no microphone, and there is no way to determine 'who' it is only determining 'where'."
He says the signals received by the device by school administrators can be combined with video footage from cameras in school public areas to finger the bully.
"So between the time stamp of the anomaly or air quality or sound in the bathroom or locker room, there will be a visual depiction outside of the bathrooms and locker rooms."
He says the device also 'sniffs out' anomalies in air quality, so administrators can also get a clue if students are smoking or vaping in the restrooms.