Today in Juvenile Justice: Administrator Update, August 24, 2023
On this "Today in Juvenile Justice: Administrator Update" held on August 24, 2023, OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan focused on school safety and available resources to address bullying, Internet safety, and school violence.
Daryl Fox: Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to the August 24, 2023, installment of “Today in Juvenile Justice: Administrator Update.” We’re glad you are able to join us today. All audio lines are muted, as this is a listen-only briefing. For reference, this recording will be posted tomorrow to the OJJDP website. At this time, it’s my pleasure to introduce Liz Ryan, OJJDP Administrator, for today’s update.
Liz Ryan: Hello, my name is Liz Ryan. I am the Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, or OJJDP.
Welcome to my monthly call with the youth justice field!
As we all mark back-to-school season, I’d like to focus today’s call on school safety.
I haven’t personally had a first day of school in a few years, but I remember them fondly. The excitement. The nervousness. The butterflies.
Like so many students, I always looked forward to reconnecting with friends and teachers—to learning and growing and having fun.
Unfortunately, for some, school can be a scary place. Whether they fear bullying or the threat of a school shooting, some students and parents are apprehensive about the new school year. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
That’s why OJJDP is committed to working with our federal, state, and local partners to advance school safety.
According to a report by our sister agency, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the National Center for Education Statistics, there were a total of 93 school shootings with casualties at public and private elementary and secondary schools in the 2020-2021 school year.
OJJDP is proud to be part of an Administration-wide effort to STOP school violence.
In 2022, we established a new grant initiative called Enhancing School Capacity To Address Youth Violence.
This program emphasizes collaborative approaches between schools and local community organizations that operate violence prevention and intervention programs.
In fiscal year 2022, OJJDP provided nearly $25 million to support 23 sites throughout the country.
These sites are working with local partners to provide students with customized support that schools can’t offer on their own.
The funding also includes training and technical assistance to help sites identify community-based partners, build relationships, and pinpoint violence reduction strategies that will work in their communities.
I want to emphasize that this initiative is just getting started! We’re also finalizing awards for 2023, and we anticipate funding in 2024.
We are keenly focused on leveraging this first group of grantees to demonstrate how efforts to improve school climate can work!
The idea here really is to connect school resources with community-based resources to better serve kids and families—and ultimately to reduce violence.
Another important factor in fostering positive school climates is combating bullying!
OJJDP is proud to lead an effort to specifically combat hate crimes and bullying.
Hate crimes and identity-based bullying are insidious crimes. Victims are targeted simply because of WHO they are. More than 11,000 hate crime offenses were reported in 2020 alone.
OJJDP’s Preventing Youth Hate Crimes and Identity-Based Bullying initiative aims to help practitioners and young people better address this issue.
Throughout 2022, we held 19 youth roundtables on hate crimes and identity-based bullying. These roundtables were designed to educate and empower young people to lead hate crime prevention efforts.
Our agency also hosted 13 webinars that provided juvenile justice professionals, law enforcement, and school communities with vital information on youth hate crimes and hate groups.
I hope you’ll join us for a two-day virtual symposium that will focus on how to prevent extremist hate groups from radicalizing youth and provide bullying prevention strategies for youth. The symposium will be held October 17 and 18, 2023, from 12 to 5 p.m. eastern standard time. To register, visit our website at ojjdp.ojp.gov.
OJJDP is also prioritizing internet safety. Today’s students rely on internet technology in school, after school, and at home. This increased amount of screen time means we must continue to raise awareness about internet safety and provide resources to keep our young people safe while they are online.
OJJDP’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program has released a law enforcement guide and a victim resource sheet for parents, education professionals, law enforcement, and child advocacy practitioners to read and share in the event young people are coerced into sending explicit images online and then extorted for money or additional explicit material.
In partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), we now have "Take It Down," an online tool that helps remove online sexually explicit photos and videos taken of young people under the age of 18.
We’re also challenging parents to take the Safety Pledge by visiting safetypledge.org, a website funded in part by OJJDP that provides free resources to help parents, educators, and caregivers learn more about the risks that children face online and how to respond safely.
On our website, we highlight three webinars featuring technology safety experts with tips and resources to help inform and protect youth online, in addition to other internet safety resources for families. Whether we are helping to keep kids safe online, combating hate crimes, or working with partners to create safer schools, OJJDP is committed to making school a safe, welcoming, nurturing environment for all students.
I wish each and every one of you—and the students in your life—a safe, healthy, and happy return to school.
Our next call is scheduled for September 27th at 12:30 p.m. eastern standard time. (Tentative)
Opinions or points of view expressed in these recordings represent those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. Any commercial products and manufacturers discussed in these recordings are presented for informational purposes only and do not constitute product approval or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Justice.