Bullying Legal Issue Symposium to Feature CyberBully Hotline

By: Paul Langhorst      March 27, 2012

The Northeastern University Law School is hosting a bullying symposium March 30th entitled:  Pushed Too Far – The Evolving Legal Implications of School Bullying.

Judi Warren, president of Web Wise Kids, will be a featured speaker and during her presentation she will discuss how the CyberBully Hotline, a comprehensive solution for facilitating anonymous bullying reporting, is a good example of how technology is being used in a positive approach to combat bullying.

Web Wise Kids and the CyberBully Hotline have a long cooperative history and worked together to issue a joint white paper entitled:  Stopping Bullies:  Cyberbullying and Digital Citizenship for the Classroom – which can be downloaded here.

Anonymous School Tip Lines – Fighting Fire with Fire

By: Paul Langhorst        March 26, 2012

The phenomenon of cyber bulling, or bullying through technology, has a new enemy – anonymous school tip lines, such as the SchoolReach CyberBully Hotline.

Bullying aided through the use of technology, such as harassing texts and hurtful social media postings, is one of the most rapidly growing forms of bullying and the least reported by students. The anonymity and distance created by the technology increases the ease with which students will verbally, emotionally and visually harass others. What one would never say face to face, is now all but common place on line.

Compounding the issue, victims of cyber bullying may be less likely to report such incidents. A main fear of victims is reverse punitive damage, where a victim may fear reporting that they are being cyber bullied because their parents may try to resolve the problem by shutting down the victim’s Facebook page or by restricting Internet use (Safe Schools Advocacy Council – Bully Prevention Conference 2012).

Now, students who are victims and bystanders to such cyber bullying activities now have a new way to seek help. Anonymous school tip lines are now becoming readily available and quite popular.  There are currently at least eight school tip line programs on the market and they can look very similar from the outset. However, there are many differences.  An anonymous school tip line should include the following key attributes:

  • Offer text and voice reporting of incidents
  • Deliver information directly to school officials, with notification completed via mobile and email delivery, as well as offer a central on line repository for managing and responding to student reports.
  • Provide complete anonymity of the reporting student
  • Provide for two-way text communication between reporter and school official
  • Offer 24 x 7 x 365 access to students
  • Offer access complete security and be FERPA compliant
  • Provide resource materials and other information to help make the launch and ongoing use of the program a success

If your school or district is looking to create a school climate in which bullying, harassment and intimidation are not supported, the inclusion of an anonymous tip line is now a must-have. The CyberBully Hotline from SchoolReach, scores and A+ on all the above features and functions.

To request a demo of they CyberBully Hotline, click here.

Anonymous Cyber Bullying Reporting Service Launched by SchoolReach

By: Paul Langhorst

“The CyberBully Hotline offers students an anonymous, two-way means to report bullying or cyberbullying, providing students with a way to stop bullying”

SchoolReach issued our national press release announcing the launch of our CyberBully Hotline program.  Early response from our customers and the market has been tremendous!

The CyberBully Hotline is a comprehensive anti-bullying program which includes so much more than just an anonymous bully reporting process.  To make the program truly effective we believe it is necessary to give our customers all the tools necessary to kick off and build awareness of the program, and encourage its use throughout the school community. That is why each CyberBully Hotline includes a full suite of student and school-level awareness materials, ongoing reinforcement posters, and access to our proprietary Resource Center.

Read the full release here.

CyberBully Hotline to Exhibit at Missouri School Resource Officers Conference

By Paul Langhorst

We are please to report, that the CyberBully Hotline program will be exhibited at the 30th Annual Missouri Law Enforcement Conference at Tan-Tar-A.

This event brings together law enforcement professionals and agencies from around the state, including many school resource officers.

School Resource Officers (SRO’s) are a key asset to preventing bullying in schools. Their presence is a huge deterrent to bad behavior and the relationships they build with students can help lead to information on crime and school violence.

The CyberBully Hotline is a service of SchoolReach Instant Parent Contact, which is the leading mass notification provider used by Missouri schools.We look forward to show casing the CyberBully Hotline to the Missouri SRO’s and other Missouri law enforcement agencies.

 

Reporting Cited as Biggest Problem with Bullying Prevention

By: Paul Langhorst

At the School Safety Advocacy Council’s 2012 National Conference on Bullying, “failure to report” was cited as one of the main problems facing school administrators in their fight against bullying. Attendees learned that students fail to report bullying for a variety of reasons, which mostly revolve around fear – fear of retaliation, loss of status/reputation, and loss of computer, phone and other privileges.

The CyberBully Hotline was created as a means to combat reporting fear. Schools should strive to create a climate in which students feel comfortable reporting face to face, but certain situations will be better served by an anonymous reporting system. In fact, many state laws now mandate some form of anonymous reporting.

The CyberBully Hotline is a text and web-based system that allows students to send text and voice messages from where they spend most of their time these days – from their mobile phones. Students are more comfortable texting than they are talking and the CyberBully Hotline leverages that comfort to increase the likelihood of more timely reporting. Students can text anonymous reports which are delivered immediately and simultaneously to a school official’s email and mobile device and to their CyberBully Hotline user account where messages can be viewed and archived.

A unique feature allows for an anonymous two-way dialog between sender and receiver completing a complete communication cycle.

The CyberBully Hotline is not just a number. It is a comprehensive bully prevention and reporting solution involving three core programs:

  • A local text & voice capable number that does not require the use of short codes
  • Eye-catching bully prevention reinforcement and awareness materials for display and hand out to students
  • A private online Resource Center where our clients can read best practices, informative articles from our dedicated Subject Matter Experts, and sign up for our free bully prevention professional development series.

The CyberBully Hotline is budget friendly and can qualify for school safety grants and there are corporate sponsorship opportunities as well.

The CyberBully Hotline can help your school or district prevent and reduce bullying. To learn more, click here.

 

 

 

The Bully Project – A New Bullying Resource

By: Paul Langhorst

The soon-to-be released movie, ‘The Bully Project’ directed by Lee Hirsch, and released by The Weinstein Company (of Academy Award winning ‘The Artist’ fame), is stirring national interest and debate. Students across the country are petitioning to have the R-rating changed to PG-13 so that they can see it as part of class discussions.

The movie follows the lives of several students who are bullied and tormented and focuses on the family of Tyler Long, a 17-year-old boy who hanged himself due to bullying and harassment. After only having having seen the The Bully Project trailers at this point, it is clear that this is a powerful movie. It should be seen by those impacted the most – the bullies, their victims and the bystanders.

Regardless of whether the rating is changed (which I think it should), the “silver lining” here is that any light that can be shed on the problem of bullying by raising awareness of the seriousness of the matter, whether caused by the movie itself or the fight over the rating, will be positive in the end.

Does CyberBullying Stop over Spring Break?

By: Paul Langhorst

Spring Break vacation – what a wonderful time of year for students of all ages. While the college kids may enjoy a wild time on beaches, high school and younger students may also be getting away on family trips. But, does that mean if they are involved in cyberbullying that it stops? No!

Unlike physical forms of bullying, cyberbullying knows no space or time limitations. If a kid has their mobile phone with them, they can play the role of bully, bullied or bystander. 24/7 access to social media sites means bullies can launch attacks from anywhere – including from the balcony of their beach condo. Online bystanders can watch or chime in to ignorant posts and their targets end up helplessly watching it happen.  And, when the victims return from Spring Break vacation, they get to enjoy a whole new painful world of ridicule and humiliation from what may have happened while school is out.

The online world in which kids live today is rife with turmoil and trouble. According to research studies their yet-to-fully-develop brains can not cope with the social consequences of their actions. They may be having a good day on the beach, but their online life could be a sea of trouble. Talk to your kids about what they are doing online, monitor their activities, set rules and guidelines for access, and have a open door policy. Many kids fear getting their phone and Internet privileges taken away from exposing what they are experiencing on line. Make sure they know that what is happening is not their fault and that you are there to help.

Enjoy Spring Break!

Do you have suggestions to share on how to talk to kids about their online life?

 

Steps Schools Can Take in Response to Cyberbullying

By: Paul Langhorst

School response to cyberbullying is impacted by student’s First-Amendment right and the fact that much of cyberbullying occurs not at school or during school hours, but after school and off campus. However, a recent article on BusinessRisk.com suggest some simple steps that school administration can take to respond appropriately to cyberbullying. The steps are:

  • Develop clear rules and policies to prohibit the use of school technologies to bully others.
  • Educate students and staff members about what types of behavior constitute cyber bullying and how the school district’s policies apply to them.
  • Provide adequate supervision and monitoring of student use of technology.
  • Establish systems for reporting cyber bullying or misuse of technology.
  • Establish effective responses to reports of cyber bullying.

In addition we recommend that you speak with your district or school attorney, and your state attorney general to get a clear understanding of where your authority starts and stops over the matter of cyberbullying.

What steps is your school or district taking to respond to cyberbullying?

When Push Comes to Shove Back – Book Review

By: Paul Langhorst

At the School Safety Advocacy Council’s National Conference on Bullying, I had the opportunity to meet author Janet M. Irvine and pick up her book “When Push Comes to Shove Back.”  It was a chance meeting that happened while I was exploring the exhibit hall. What caught my eye with this book?

First, I love to read. Second, as part of launch of our CyberBully Hotline program I was attending the Bullying Conference to learn as much as I could about bully prevention efforts and programs. So, it was no accident that I had an interest in Janet’s book which was a fictional account of a bully, a victim and a bunch of bystanders who banded together to thwart a ring of drug dealers infecting their school.

The two main characters, Jeremy Wilson – the bully, and Matt Carver – his daily victim, are accidentally thrust together following Jeremy being tricked into becoming an agent for the dealer, Tim Halliday. Fearing he has no way out of the drug circle, Jeremy relents and accepts Matt’s offer for help. Matt uses his fascination with military strategy to plan an elaborate ruse and trap for Tim and his agents.

The book is compelling and fast paced, with short chapters consisting of just a few pages, laid out for easy reading. With the exception of some fantastic cell phone eavesdropping software that is used to track and capture the drug dealers, (which, I am not even sure exists but probably does!) the book is more than believable.

I believe “When Push Comes to Shove Back” would  make a great read for middle school aged students as part of a class room project on bully prevention to drive home the point that people are not what they may seem, and that he/she who was once the bully or the victim, could easily have those tables turned.

Enjoy it. I did!

Paul