Today@Sam Article

SHSU Center Launches School Safety Podcast

Jan. 23, 2023
SHSU Media Contact: Mikah Boyd

The Center for Assessment, Research and Educational Safety (CARES) at Sam Houston State University launched its first podcast episode on Jan. 17. The podcast shares its name with CARES and focuses on educational safety through a variety of lenses.

CARES conducts and spreads research related to threat assessment, behavioral health and educational safety from grade school through higher education. They are led by Matthew Fuller, a leading educational safety expert who has been called on multiple times by Texas lawmakers for his expert opinion.

Fuller said he was inspired to create this center for research in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting. After the tragedy, he collaborated with peers to create CARES and recruit researchers dedicated to producing research pertaining to school safety.Image[54]

Despite these great successes, including receiving grant funding from the governor’s office, Fuller and his team felt that their research was only reaching a certain group and could make a greater impact through new platforms. After attending an eye-opening conference and workshopping numerous ideas, the CARES podcast was born, providing a readily available and easily digestible presentation of their hard work and research.

“We were looking for other outlets to share our work because we’ve found that publishing articles in journals and other publications is a lengthy process that only appeals to certain demographics,” Stacie Haynes, project manager for CARES, said. “This led us to reflect on how we are getting our research and messages out to the public and helped my team and I develop the idea of launching a podcast.”

The podcast will cover topics such as crisis prevention, dating violence, suicide prevention, threat management, bullying and cyberbullying, adolescent drug use and similar issues. Episodes will feature special guests to provide their first-hand experiences and insight on the topics.

“The reason we talk about it school safety now is threefold,” Fuller said. “Number one, I think we can fix it, I think we can go back to a time when you didn’t have to worry about things. Number two, I think, by talking about it. That’s how people will start to understand it, that’s a big part of it. And the third reason, I think we should talk about the fact that safety is just not an educational thing, it’s a societal thing.”

Approaching these difficult topics and speaking on them has been a calling for the group as they have worked on the project with help from their tech and media-savvy student researcher, Deanna Ammann.

“There are ways you can help people and make them realize or understand that this is a problem, this is what we’re going through and it’s going to take future generations to also tell their story and how they feel,” Ammann said. “But it’s all about telling people what happened to them and making them realize this is a problem that we need to fix.”

Image[101] copyThe CARES team hopes their podcast inspires, educates and motivates its listeners. They know the time and dedication that research takes, and have seen where researchers in their department and others are not recognized for their contributions to the betterment of their communities or society as a whole. On top of this, they have also seen life-saving information go unused or be ignored.

“Connecting, helping and saving are things we wish to achieve,” the team said in a joint statement. “Data that we have and the people who we have met have left such an impact in our hearts. We feel the need to share their stories with others.”

Moving forward, the CARES team is working hard to collaborate with guest speakers and share their stories, as well as share information that can help administrators, teachers and students identify indicators of danger, neglect and abuse among their student populations.

“If the conversations and ideas shared on the podcast save even one life, our team will feel that we have made an impact,” Haynes said.

Listeners can find the podcast on Spotify, listed as “The CARES Podcast,” with new episodes posted monthly. Those interested in the research that CARES conducts can visit their Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages for more information and podcast updates.

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