Stop, Walk & Talk: How Anonymous Reporting Works with PBIS Principles

By Paul Langhorst

 Anonymous bullying reporting solutions such as CyberBully Hotline, work in concert with the Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS) process, helping to fulfill the "talk" portion of its Stop, Walk and Talk process.

According to the PBIS website, school-wide PBIS is, " not a curriculum, intervention, or practice, but it is a decision-making framework that guides selection, integration, and implementation of the best evidence-based academic and behavioral practices for improving outcomes for all students." PBIS is based on four core elements:

  • data for decision making
  • measurable outcomes supported and evaluated by data
  • practices with evidence that these outcomes are achievable
  • systems that efficiently and effectively support implementation of these practices.

PBIS is not just a bully prevention program, but an architecture to guide overall school decision making. However, for the purposes of this article, we will only be looking at its bully prevention process.
PBIS and Bullying Prevention: Within the overall PBIS process, the component that deals with bullying behavior is research-based and employs a three-step process to mitigate bullying behavior: Stop, Walk, and Talk. CyberBully Hotline and other anonymous reporting solutions support the "Talk" aspect of this method.

  • Stop: Students are taught to use a combination of a hand signal and a verbal commands (saying "enough" and flashing the time-out "T" with their hands) to signify that the actions are not wanted
  • Walk: As soon as the Stop step is deployed, the student is taught to leave the area of the incident
  • Talk*: After an incident students are taught to seek out a trusted adult to convey incident details

* The PBIS teachings make clear that there is a difference between "tattling" and "talking". Tattling is done to get someone else in trouble, and talking is done to stop unwanted behavior and solve problems.

Talk is the most important aspect of the PBIS model. While many situations can be resolved between students, the more severe incidents require the assistance of an administrator. The more severe and the more personal the attacks (i.e for sexual orientation, personal appearance, etc), the less likelihood there is that a student may come forward. Studies also show that many cyberbullying incidents go unreported because of student fears about sharing their online world with their parents.

For students who may be fearful of initially coming forward face-to-face, CyberBully Hotline can open a path to dialog. It can be a simple conversation that eventually leads to closure(ex. "I am tired of kids calling me gay...").

During a round table event, The Missouri School Resources Officers Association estimated that half of the bullying incidents in their schools go unreported. However, they also estimated that 90% of the issues that do get reported eventually get successfully resolved. Unless your "Talk" process includes some means to get at that unreported 50%, bullying prevention efforts may not be fully effective.
Through the implementation of an anonymous bullying reporting program such as CyberBully Hotline, kids can be encouraged to reach out and share what is on their mind or bothering them. And it need not be just bullying. Students should be encouraged to report whatever is hindering their ability to perform at school, whether it's bullying, sexting, cutting, thoughts of suicide, sexual abuse, rape, drug or alcohol abuse, etc.

Programs like PBIS with their emphasis on classroom meetings have a natural platform from which to promote proper use of an anonymous reporting program. The CyberBully Hotline offers reinforcement materials which can be used as part of classroom meetings to support the overall bullying prevention agenda.

To request a personal tour of CyberBully Hotline, please click HERE.