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Northern Valley Brings In Expert To Help Students Stay Cyber-Safe

Sargent Thomas Rich, a nationally known cyber safety expert, will address students and parents of the Northern Valley Regional School District.
Sargent Thomas Rich, a nationally known cyber safety expert, will address students and parents of the Northern Valley Regional School District. Photo Credit: Contributed

OLD TAPPAN, NJ -- Northern Valley Regional High Schools in Old Tappan and Demarest will host a series of talks on cyber safety on Oct. 22 and 23.Sgt. Thomas Rich of the Summit Police Department will present "STOP!TCyberSafe Rally" in an assembly at the Old Tappan campus on Thurs Oct. 22 during the day, with a separate session for parents at 7 p.m. in the auditorium. He will also address students on Fri. Oct. 23.

The sessions will cover the nuances of social media platforms, being safe online with proper settings, making safe choices and knowing the impact of the medium.

“We like to be proactive and address a topic that can be a major problem, even if it is not one immediately,” said Northern Valley Regional High School Old Tappan Principal Bruce Sabatini. “We won’t be condescending to parents or students. As a whole, it is all of our issue.”

“Some of us are not digital natives, so it’s helpful to get a professional's opinion,” said Northern Valley Regional High School Demarest Principal James Santana.

Rich has spoken at hundreds of sessions around the country to an 500,000 or so students.

Students in the district are required to take a course in digital citizenship. The cyber security sessions fulfill the school's requirement for discussions on violence and vandalism. After their week focusing on respect, they will folllow up with School Violence Awareness Week from Oct. 19-23.

Student assistant coordinators Deborah Bajakian and Lydia Greco were instrumental in choosing a speaker and the topic.

“It’s something that can happen outside of our walls that can impact something inside of our walls," Santana said. "In the old days, we worried about something that could happen at the park, but now it is all over the world.“If we can get through to a few students about posting something that is going to leave a digitally negative imprint on themselves, I think that is a win for us, especially if we can get through to students and parents,” she said.

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