October 31, 2012
The Affton School District is the latest district in the St. Louis area to implement a hotline for students to report any problems with bullying.
The district is using the CyberBully Hotline program, an offshoot from SchoolReach, an automated, parental notification system that uses e-mail and telephone calls to notify parents of important announcements or changes in a school's schedule.
The Hancock Place and Wentzville districts and the Special School District also use the hotline.
Affton started the hotline as a proactive move, said Jill Karr, director of student services and special education.
"We have no evidence that bullying is a big problem for the district," Karr said. "The main thing is to give students a way for them to make a report and not worry about anybody knowing it was them."
CyberBully has a number that students or parents can text or telephone. The system takes the call, masks the number, and then sends it to designated staff members at the district's high school, middle school and elementary schools. The designated staffer answers without knowing the caller's identification.
The staffer will ask for additional information about the bullying incident. Eventually, district officials hope the student will be willing to come forward and talk face-to-face.
The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. CyberBully also will give the district a variety of bully awareness material, posters with telephone numbers, wallet cards and an online resource center.