There is probably no hotter topic in education today than the all out assault against bullying and cyberbullying. Effective bullying reporting is a key to winning this battle.
School administrators are facing a deluge of new requirements from a growing number of states that are passing more stringent anti-bullying laws spurred by high profile student suicides and court cases. These new laws require school districts implement and maintain detailed anti-bullying policies and reporting processes. In states where anti-bullying laws do not exist, school administrators are facing the wrath of parents who are clamoring for better bullying controls. So if the state is not forcing the a district's hand, public and parent opinion are.
Some state laws, such as those in Texas and New Jersey, are quite explicit detailing the types of programs that should be implemented, penalties, and mediation processes. While these laws proscribe what should be done, they do not provide for what should be done leaving it up to the district to find and source anti-bullying programs and materials to complete a comprehensive and effective program.
At the core of this process is reporting. School administrators can't help what they don't know. Formal anti-bulling programs such as Olweus® and PBIS® attempt to prevent bullying by changing the overall school climate. The goal is to eliminate bullying before it starts and to encourage students to report bullying that they see or of which they may be a victim.
However, as reported by the Committee for Children, victims and especially bystanders, fail to report bullying mainly out of fear - fear of becoming the next victim, fear of retaliation, or simply fear of approaching an adult. It is for these students, especially bystanders, that some form of anonymous reporting be offered by the school.
Anonymous reporting can take many forms, but new solutions such as the CyberBully Hotline, meet students where they live - on their mobile phones - and offer a secure means of initiating an anonymous bullying report that is forwarded directly to a school official(s). The CyberBully Hotline enables a student to initiate a report by sending a text message to (or by calling) a special local phone number. The school official is instantly notified of new reports by receiving a copy of the message in their email account and/or on their mobile phone. School officials then have the ability to logon to the CyberBully Hotline to directly respond to the sender, all under a secure anonymous 2-way process.
Services such as the CyberBully Hotline from SchoolReach are affordable, simple to deploy, require no on-site installation, phone lines or hardware, and are highly effective. No bully prevention plan is complete without some form of anonymous reporting, and solutions like the CyberBully Hotline will satisfy so many needs on one simple package.