By Dr. Nicole Yetter, CyberBully Hotline Contributor
Upon receipt of an anonymous bullying or cyberbullying incident through a CyberBully Hotline number:
Acknowledge the message by assuring them that you are here to help.
Gather as much information as possible; who is involved, where, when, and how is it occurring. Avoid asking for all the details in one response.
While gathering the information, support the bullied student in a way that allows them to feel supported and safe from retaliation.
Reassure the student that has been victimized that all steps will be taken to address the current situation and prevent a recurrence of the bullying.
At the end of the messaging, acknowledge their courage and thank them for 'doing something' about the situation.
Next Steps Once the Report Has Been Made:
If the staff member who takes the report from the hotline is not the person who completes the investigation, they will give the report to the staff member designated to investigate the situation (i.e. administrator, principal, counselor, teacher, etc.)
Once the report is investigated and if the allegations are founded, the school must take action to stop the bullying while following their published code of conduct to implement the appropriate consequences. The school may also want to offer empathy training and support to the student(s) who have exhibited bully behavior.
If the student decides to come forward and identify themselves; support their courage and offer them support from the school counseling department or offer them outside resources.
It is important to document all steps that are taken to address the bullying situation whether it is founded or unfounded. This documentation will be your record that you put forth all necessary efforts to address the situation. It will also be a record of where the situation has been occurring (you may decide to provide more supervision in that area), as well as a record of the named student(s) involved and if it becomes a reoccurring incident.