HIB Policies (Harassment / Intimidation / Bullying)
Many schools and other organizations, especially organizations for minors, have recently adopted Harassment/Intimidation/Bullying (HIB) policies to protect those under their charge. Legislation has also made it mandatory that organizations take immediate action if a violation is reported or witnessed by a responsible adult. That action includes an investigation of the facts. With the prevalence of electronic mobile communication devices and the ever changing landscape of installed “social networking” applications, it may be difficult for Administrators to conduct a truly comprehensive investigation. An investigation performed by a digital forensics expert can identify various communication channels between the parties and can often recover data that has been deleted. Text messages, e-mails, photographs and chats can be recovered from most of the latest smart devices and presented to the appropriate Administrator or school investigator. In addition, utilizing an independent investigator insulates Administrators and the organization’s personnel from claims of bias, favoritism and liability should the matter become a legal issue. Further, it protects the organization from inadvertently disclosing personal information or exposure to contraband (child pornography).
For parents and guardians, while school investigative personnel (HIB Coordinators) may have your child’s best interest at heart, there may be reasons that you deem appropriate to conduct an independent investigation of your child’s mobile or communication device. An independent investigation protects the personal information located on your child’s devices and eliminates the inadvertent disclosure of private/personal data to school officials. In addition, an independent forensic investigator will only disclose his/her findings to you, as the parent of the child.
Social Groups / Sports Teams & Other Activities
Do you know the groups that your child associates with? The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children estimates that 20% of children will have an inappropriate encounter before age 18 and only 1-in-3 will tell a trusted adult when it happens. Often, a predator will conduct a “selection” by covertly “grooming” their target, their friends and even family. If you suspect that your child may be involved in an inappropriate relationship or may be the target of a predator, the evidence of this relationship may be hidden deep in their private, electronic communications. A forensic examination can uncover the evidence of inappropriate activity, chats, texts, images and even the volume of communications activity with specific individuals.
Social groups, sports teams, clubs and other social networks can be an important part of a child’s personal growth. However, peers, officials, coaches and others with trust and power may not have the same intentions as you and your child. If you believe or suspect that your child is “hanging with the wrong crowd,” may be a victim of harassment, intimidation or bullying outside of the school’s purview, or that an adult may be involved, an investigation may be warranted.