School Resource Officers Support Annonymous Bullying Reporting Methods

By Paul Langhorst         July 27, 2012

Anonymous bully-reporting solutions, such as the CyberBully Hotline, are seen by the leadership of the Missouri School Resource Officer’s Association as a valuable and effective tool for combating bullying. This fact became evident when I attended the Missouri Safe Schools and Colleges Conference, held annually by the Missouri Center for Education Safety.  During a roundtable discussion with the incoming president, past SROs Support Anonymous Reportingpresident, and other members of the Missouri SRO Assoc, information was shared that supported the use of anonymous reporting systems to encourage and stimulate bullying reporting.

The roundtable discussion centered on bullying, cyberbullying and what role SRO’s play in bullying incident resolution.  “Bullying and drug use are the two most prevalent problems that SRO’s face,” said Trevor Fowler, incoming president.  “The two really go hand-in-hand. We see those engaged in drug use more likely to be engaged in bully or other inappropriate behavior, and their victims are also using drugs, perhaps as a way to escape their pain.”

Cyberbullying is also now seen as a much bigger issue than traditional physical or verbal bullying. “Mondays and the day after a holiday or long break are the worst days for an SRO, commented Les Martin, outgoing president.” Much of the cyberbullying and online attacks take place over the weekend and then we hear about it on Monday. We take all reports seriously, and with early intervention we are often able to stop things before they get out of control.” Les Martin is SRO for the Jefferson City, MO Public Schools, with enrollment of over 7,000 students.

Knowing about the bullying is a significant part of the solution. “We successfully resolve about 90% of the bullying cases that are brought to our attention, however we believe only about half of the bullying, cyberbullying and harassment ever gets reported,” commented Fowler. “The kids carry these problems around with them, and it can cause other problems such as absenteeism, poor school performance, drug use, and self-harm.”

The SRO readily sees how an anonymous bullying reporting solution fits into the bullying prevention equation.” A service like the CyberBully Hotline would be a tremendous asset to SRO’s,” said Martin.” Just knowing about the problem is half the battle, and many of these kids are fearful of coming forward. If the school offers an anonymous means to report bullying or bad behavior, it will open the door to faster resolution.”

It is not just bully victims, who might benefit from an anonymous reporting solution.” Bystanders, bus drivers, custodians and parents might also be prime users of the CyberBully Hotline,” said Fowler. “There are typically many people aware of what’s happening outside of the bully-victim circle, and often these individuals can be key to surfacing the problems and solving them.”  Martin added, “If bullies know that everyone around them can now anonymously report on them, we believe it will cause them to really stop and think about their actions.”

One thing was certain stemming from the roundtable discussion, the SRO officers fully understand the anonymous bullying-reporting solution, and see it as a valuable tool in the fight against bullying, cyberbullying, and all other forms of harassment.

Thank you to Trevor, Les and all those SRO’s who participated!