Readout of Commission Meeting on How Entertainment, Media, Cyberbullying and Social Media May Affect Violence, Student Safety

Readout of Commission Meeting on How Entertainment, Media, Cyberbullying and Social Media May Affect Violence, Student Safety

June 21, 2018

WASHINGTON – The Federal Commission on School Safety (FCSS) met June 21, 2018, in the Executive Office Building's Indian Treaty Room to gain more insight into how entertainment, media, cyberbullying and social media may affect violence and student safety.

Commission Chair Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos led the session and was joined by fellow commission member, Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The Department of Homeland Security was represented by Acting Deputy Secretary Claire Grady and the Department of Health and Human Services was represented by Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan.

"The goal is this commission is to identify ways in which our mental health professionals and  education and law enforcement officials can more effectively prevent, protect and mitigate and respond to tragedies," Secretary DeVos said in her opening remarks. "Our job is not to mandate 'one size fits all' policies. Instead, proven and effective policies and practices should be adopted at the state and local levels. They are the ones who know best the unique needs of their schools and the resources of their communities."

The Commission meeting consisted of three panels of experts:

Panel 1: Cyberbullying and Social Media

  • Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D., Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University and Co-Director of the Cyberbullying Research Center. (Testimony)
  • Paul Gausman, Ph.D., Superintendent of Schools for the Sioux City Community School District in Sioux City, Iowa. (Testimony)

Panel 2: Youth Consumption of Violent Entertainment

  • L. Rowell Huesmann, Ph.D., the Amos N. Tversky Collegiate Professor of Psychology and Communication Studies at the University of Michigan, and Director of the Aggression Research Program in the Research Center for Group Dynamics at Michigan's Institute for Social Research. (Testimony)
  • Christopher J. Ferguson, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Psychology at Stetson University in Florida. (Testimony)

Panel 3: Effects of Press Coverage on Mass Shootings

  • Jennifer B. Johnston, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology at Western New Mexico University. (Testimony)
  • Ben Fernandez, Chair of the National Association of School Psychologists' (NASP) School Safety and Crisis Response Committee, as well as the current lead psychologist for Loudon County Public Schools in Virginia. (Testimony)