More Missouri School Districts Implementing Anonymous Reporting

By Paul Langhorst        October 31, 2012

The trend is clear…more and more Missouri school districts are implementing the CyberBully Hotline anonymous bullying reporting solution. The program, launched by SchoolReach in March of 2012 is quickly becoming the go-to choice for anonymous reporting needs.  Offering text and phone based access, the CyberBully Hotline is designed to meet students where they live – on line, and give them a voice that they did not have before.

“Many of our clients feel they are not faced with significant bullying issues, but still want to offer students a more comfortable and convenient way to say what’s on their mind,” said Joe Palacios, CEO of SchoolReach. “Many of those same customers are surprised to learn after they have implemented the CyberBully Hotline, that they did not have a full picture of what was happening at their schools, on their buses and elsewhere.”

The Affton, Wentzville, Bayless and Hancock school districts are just a few of the districts in Missouri that have implemented the CyberBully Hotline or are in the process of doing so.

The Wentzville school district is a prime case study of a district that was already fully engaged with robust bullying prevention efforts, but yet felt some form of anonymous reporting was needed to help students who might be reluctant to come forward. Upon implementation, the district was pleased to see that students were using the program appropriately to report on matters that were previously not being discussed and that parents were also using the program to report on incidents that their children were reluctant to address with their teachers.

If you would like more information on how the CyberBully Hotline can increase the effectiveness of your bulling prevention efforts, please contact us or call us at 1-800-420-1479.

Effective Bullying Prevention – What Works?

By Paul Langhorst                           October 24, 2012

National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month is coming to a close.  While it has not gained quite the status as Thanksgiving, or our other major holidays, the designation of October as National Bullying Prevention Awareness month has brought increased focus on the problem of bullying and building an effective bullying prevention program.

With all the added attention, it begs the question – what is an effective anti-bullying program?  I can tell you what its not:

  • It is not an annual “stop bullying day” where students get T-shirts and wristbands – if that is the only thing your school or district does all year.
  •  It is not having a speaker come in once, not to be supported by other ongoing efforts.
  • It is not signs or posters in the hall, or a pledge on the wall, if that is the only thing happening all year.
  • It is not a policy in your school handbook, if it is not supported with other proactive measures.
  • It is not a reactive “zero tolerance” policy, if not supported by proactive measures.

Effective bullying prevention is a continuous effort consisting of policy, education, training, reporting, motivation, dialogue, intervention, investigation, action, counseling and discipline/consequences that happen across the entire school year.

Recently I attended the Missouri School  Board Association’s Bullying Summit and during one session the speaker asked the audience members to raise their hand if they did not have a comprehensive bullying prevention program that consisted of ongoing multidimensional efforts as outlined above. The entire room raised their hand, save for a few individuals…well, there’s your problem right there!  Bullying will never be fully addressed if a comprehensive program is not put in place to address it.

As we work with districts across the country, here at the CyberBully Hotline, we encounter schools/districts that fall into two broad categories –  those that have comprehensive bullying prevention plans in place, or are under development, and those that have disjointed efforts, host sporadic events and do not appear to be heading toward a comprehensive program.  The difference?  School leadership. If the school leadership, be it the school board, the superintendent of an entire district or the principal of a single private school, does not see bullying prevention as a priority, little gets done. Those that make it a priority move heaven and earth to put an effective program into place.

The benefits of an effective, comprehensive bullying prevention program are significant. Not only are students spared the humiliation and torture of bullying, but the overall school climate and its cohesiveness as a team will grow. Absenteeism decreases and student performance increases, which can have a huge impact on district funding. There are also cost savings to be hand, and potentially the avoidance of legal bills and financial settlements which are on the rise.

We would like to offer our congratulations to those school leaders who see bullying prevention as a priority and encourage others to see it in the same light. Your students, school and community will benefit greatly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Effective Bullying Prevention Strategies Sponsored by CyberBully Hotline at MO-CES Bullying Summit

By Paul Langhorst                                         October 19, 2012

School administrators, teachers and counselors in Missouri were offered a fantastic opportunity to learn effective bullying prevention strategies first-hand during the Missouri Center for Education Safety’s first-annual Bullying Summit. The event was held on October 18th and consisted of multiple breakout sessions and keynote speakers who offered information and insight into today’s bullying prevention problems.

As a Missouri-based program, the CyberBully Hotline was honored to take part in the event through our sponsorship of Scott Poland, Ed. D, who gave the keynote address: “Bullying Victimization and School Safety.”  Scott Poland, is a psychologist and mental health expert and gave a riveting presentation on the links between bullying, harassment and suicide.

Dr. Scott Poland is a nationally recognized expert on school crisis, youth violence, suicide intervention, self injury, school safety, threat assessment, parenting and the delivery of psychological services in schools.  He has lectured andBullycide as Explained by Dr. Scott Poland written extensively on these subjects, appeared on all major television network news programs, and has presented over 1,000 workshops in every state and numerous foreign countries. He served on the President’s Roundtable on Youth Violence and has testified about the needs of children before the U. S. Congress on four occasions Dr. Poland is a founding member of the National Emergency Assistance Team for the National Association of School Psychologists and serves as the Prevention Director for the American Association of Suicidology.

The event also showcased many bullying prevention programs including, the CyberBully Hotline, Olweus, CharacterPlus, GreenDot, and featured other presentations, including Lynn Lang from the Archdiocese of St. Louis who spoke on Virtue-Based Restorative Justice ™, and Scott Sommers, an attorney with the Missouri School Boards Association who covered Missouri bullying statutes and case law.

 

 

 

Suicide in the School Community: Response & Recovery Webinar Posted

By Paul Langhorst                    October 17, 2012

On Monday of this week we hosted a webinar: Suicide in the School Community: Response & Recovery and were joined by two impactful guest speakers: Tina Meier of the Megan Meier Foundation and Dr. Scott Poland, of Nova University.

Both Tina Meier and Dr. Scott Poland shared their personal experience with suicide and School response to student suicide how it has shaped their personalities and career paths as a result. Tina provided a powerful summary of Megan’s Story and Dr. Poland covered the problem of teen suicide from a clinical perspective and school response perspective offering insight, information, and best practices.

The event has been archived and is available for viewing on YouTube. Click the image above or visit this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiZJKlQt-qc

 

“Parents May be Teaching Teens to be Bullies” – CyberBully Hotline Contributor Featured in Article

By Paul Langhorst                     October 15, 2012

US News Education featured a prominent article “Parents May be Teaching Teens to be Bullies” in their October 10th issue. This article echos a post made here in which I used the trashing of Braves stadium during Cards-Braves wild card game playoff to show how bad behavior by adults is transmitted to young people.

This article also featured comments by Dr. Nicole Yetter, who is a consultant and adviser to the CyberBully Hotline. We are pleased to see Dr. Yetter being sought out and recognized for her bullying insights.

Key points from the the article: Parent Fighting Can Teach Teens Bullying

  • Students pick up on how parents talk about others, but they are also tuned into how their parents treat one another.
  • Bullying between parents can take the form of overt verbal abuse, but it can also be a more subtle over-extension of power.
  • Fostering a sense of entitlement in teens who excel academically or athletically is another way well-intentioned parents may inadvertently breed bullies.
  • Kids that never hear no, or have few rules and guidelines can contribute to bullying behavior.

Great article and support of the concept that bullying behavior is learned by kids through their parents, peers and environment.

 

Anonymous CyberBully Hotline Implemented by Wentzville, MO School District

By Paul Langhorst                October 10, 2012

The Wentzville, MO School District announced the kick off of their CyberBully Hotline program to their parents and school community on Monday October 8th.  The school district utilized parent engagement best practices in their announcement, incorporating news of the service across all their school communication channels; including: website, social media sites, and issued a press release on the matter which was picked up locally by Fox 2 News.

As reported by Fox 2:Anonymous bullying reporting program helps fight bullying at Wentzville School District

“The program helps create an anonymous way for people to report bullying, harassment or intimidation.

A designated school official gets the message and can have an anonymous conversation, which the district hopes will encourage students to use it. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If parents or students have any questions or require further information, they can contact any school office, visit the CyberBully Hotline section of the District website, or visit www.cyberbullyhotline.com to learn more.”

Wentzville School District is joined by the Hancock and St. Louis Special School Districts who have implemented the CyberBully Hotline since the beginning of the 2012-13 school year and represent a new trend by school administrators who embrace new anonymous reporting systems as a means to reach students who may be fearful of an initial face to face meeting.

From the CyberBully Hotline team…way to go Wentzville, Hancock, and the St. Louis Special School District!

Bad Behavior is Learned – The Cards – Braves “Lesson”

By Paul Langhorst                               October 7, 2012

Once again I am thrilled to see my St. Louis Cardinals in the post-season hunt.  In 2011, they came from 10 games back with 30 days to play to make it into the post-season. This year the end of the season was equally dramatic but not so graceful.  With the season again coming down to the wire, the Cardinals earned the newly created 2nd NL Wild Card spot and the right to play in the single-game wild card playoff.

What does all this have to do with bullying?  Like Yadier Molina legging out a double…I’m getting there.

After being down 2-0, throwing errors by Chipper Jones and Matt Uggla, coupled with timely hitting and aggressive play, allowed the Cards to go up 6-3 on the Braves. Then in the bottom of the 8th, with two on, Brave’s Andrelton Simmon, hit a shallow fly ball to left field. Cardinal’s shortstop Pete Kazma, camped out under it and then suddenly veered away as left-fielder Matt Holliday approached.  Based loaded right? No!  Left-field line umpire Sam Holdbrook called “infield fly – batter out.”

After a long discussion with the Braves manager and baseball commissioner Joe Torre, MLB VP of Baseball Operations, who upheld the call, the fans erupted in furor tossing bottles, foam tomahawks, and anything not nailed down on to the field. The scene was eerily reminiscent of Disco Demolition Night in 1979 at Comiskey Field and 10-cent Beer Night in 1974 at Cleveland Field.  (It scares me that I remember these things – I am getting old!)

Getting to my point…Yadier makes it to 2nd!

While the Braves fans’ frustration is understandable, their behavior is not. Imagine how many young fans at the game and watching on TV got a lesson in how to react to adversity and disappointment.  A lone fan tossing a bottle is an idiot. Thousands doing the same is a reflection of our culture I fear, where today if you don’t like something you tear up the place. How many reality TV shows now feed our youth a daily stream of violence as when a boy starts a conversation with another girl, or when one talent show judge makes a remark that does not sit well with another.

Bad behavior is learned.  Babies are not born fighters and bullies, they are converted into them by parents, siblings, relatives, peers and even by so-called “TV stars” who show them how its done. Experts say bullying behavior is learned starting at the age of 3-4; by the time a kid starts school they may have had years of coaching in bullying and abuse.  Then, already overloaded school administrators must face the hard task of picking up the pieces where this behavior has 8 hours a day to manifest itself. Worse yet, through social media, bad behavior runs rampant on the internet where bullies can practice their trade with even less restraint.

So, sports fans, parents, brothers, sisters, and Reality TV stars, the next time you toss a bottle, an insult, or a punch, consider what message you are sending and who may be watching; and like the field crew at Braves stadium, who is left to clean up your mess.

Go Cardinals!!! 12 in 12!!!

 

 

Restorative Justice – Challenges and Opportunities

By Paul Langhorst                  October 5, 2012

“Restorative justice” is a big buzz word in bullying response and solutions these days and is garnering a lot of attention as a bullying response solution that produces significant results. However, restorative justice is not without its detriments and detractors as CyberBully Hotline contributor Janet M. Irvine points out in her latest submission: “The Opportunities and Challenges of Restorative Justice.

Janet M. Irvine, is a 20+ year former educator and lives in Canada, so not only does she bring extensive experience to the discussion, but also an international viewpoint. Janet is also an accomplished author, and her fictional book, When Push Comes to Shove Back, would make for a fantastic book report project that would also double as a lesson on how bullies, victims and bystanders can join forces for positive change.

You will enjoy reading Janet’s article, which can be found here.

 

 

 

Blue Shirt Day Supported by CyberBully Hotline Team

October 1st is being promoted as World Day of Bullying Prevention by the Love Our  Children organization.  In recognition of their efforts and this very worthwhile cause, all employees at SchoolReach wore blue shirts to work and we made a corporate contribution to Love Our Children.  Our company colors are blue and yellow so this was very easy to accomplish!  What a good looking group!

Blue Shirt Day Recognition at CyberBully Hotline

CyberBully Hotline Wins TAM Award for Bullying Prevention Materials

By Paul Langhorst            Sept. 27, 2012

SchoolReach, the providers of the CyberBully Holtine, was honored with several Targeted Marketing and Advertising (TAM) awards at the St. Louis Business Marketing Association’s annual award ceremony on Tuesday.

The main award for the night, like “Best Motion Picture” at the Oscars, was the Best-in-Class award for Total Campaign, which covered all aspects of a go-to-market strategy – website, direct marketing, newsletter, blog, brochure, and supporting collateral.  We are pleased to announce that the CyberBully Hotline took the top TAM award for Total Campaign – winning the coveted Best-in-Class award. In addition, as a single item, our 8-page CyberBully Hotline brochure took the Silver TAM for Best Brochure.

Cyberbullying prevention resource materials

Our winning materials and awards!

Our entire company was involved in the creation of the CyberBully Hotline campaign – from logo design to copy to image selection.  The marketing department would post concepts on a long wall near our reception area and employees were asked to vote on various concepts until the final product was produced. We were greatly aided by our creative agency, Bloodlines Creative, on the overall creative strategy and its development.

We wish to thank all our employees, Bloodlines, and the St. Louis BMA for making the Best-in-Class TAM award possible.

Thank you St. Louis BMA and TAM!!!!