How Cisco ISD stopped school thefts with the help of the CyberBully Hotline.

Snapshot Overview: Cisco Independent School District, situated between Abilene and Fort Worth, Texas, serves a large rural community. A total of 800 enrolled students are educated in the district's three school buildings. Kelly Jo West, a junior high counselor with the district, describes Cisco ISD as "a tight-knit community where, because of a transient population, the students have learned to be very accommodating of change and each other."

The Problem: Cisco administrators wanted to make sure they were in compliance with new Texas anti-bullying regulations and prevent bullying from happening in district schools. The results of a district survey on bullying showed that name-calling and relationship aggression were the biggest issues reported by students. "We made the decision to implement classroom meetings and the CyberBully Hotline to increase the avenues through which students could reach Cisco counselors," said West.

Implementation: Cisco ISD implemented the CyberBully Hotline at the beginning of the 2012 school year. "We started by training the teachers on the program, and then used our classroom meetings to train the students," commented West. "The CyberBully Hotline student training videos are great, and we used information found on the CyberBully Hotline website to create our training materials."

A number of other steps were taken to implement the CyberBully Hotline program:

  • Parents were shown a presentation on the CyberBully Hotline at an open house event
  • Parents received an introduction letter and were shown the CyberBully Hotline videos
  • Students received a wallet card and were encouraged to save the number in their phones
  • High-impact posters were placed in high traffic areas of all school buildings
  • Information was posted to the district website

Immediate Results: Upon implementation, the Cisco ISD hotline began to receive reports. Consistent with the district bullying survey, there were many reports on name-calling and other issues. However, a report of gym locker thefts got the immediate attention of the middle school principal. Theft
"We received a report from a parent whose child told them that things were being taken from gym lockers while students were in gym class," said West. "We immediately alerted the principal, and he addressed the gym classes the very next day. The thefts stopped immediately, and an investigation is still underway."

Comments: "We believe just implementing the CyberBully Hotline has been a deterrent to bullying and other bad behavior," said West. "What little bullying we had, was decreased even more because the kids knew that anyone could now report on what they saw." Additionally, West added that the CyberBully Hotline is proving to be a great time saver for administrators. "Our school counselors are busy," said West. "Through the CyberBully Hotline, we receive actionable information and can start working a situation immediately. The time it has taken us to respond to issues has been reduced dramatically, and the students are very pleased with this."

Parents are also benefiting from the program. "We are pleased to see our parents using the program," said West. "Parents don't have the same reservations that students do. When their child tells them what's happening, they make a report on behalf of their child."