St. Louis, MO March 15, 2012 – Anonymous bullying reporting is now required for schools by many state laws and is recommended by the major anti-bullying curriculum programs. In response, SchoolReach, a leading automated parent notification service used by public, private and parochial schools throughout the United States, has introduced the CyberBully Hotline. The CyberBully Hotline provides schools with another valuable tool of helping their students deal with all forms of bullying. The two-way communications tool allows students to instantly text an anonymous message directly to school officials and those officials can also reply anonymously in order to provide students the help they need to address the offensive bullying act.
If anyone believes that bullying doesn’t take its toll on schools, families, society and, most of all, children, consider these startling statistics*:
ü 1 out of 4 children is bullied
ü 43 percent of young people have been bullied while online
ü 35 percent of adolescents have been threatened online; nearly 1 in 5 have had it happen more than once
Bullying is a problem that affects millions of students and today, child and teen bullying and cyberbullying are at an all-time high. Interestingly, forty-seven states in the United States have passed school anti-bullying legislation, many mandating anonymous bullying reporting. Yet there are no federal laws dealing directly with school bullying. This has left schools and districts searching for anti-bullying curriculum programs and effective resources to address this epidemic problem.
“At SchoolReach, we specialize in automating school communication processes,” said Joe Palacios, CEO of SchoolReach. “In this case we developed a solution that will resonate with students -- anonymous texting. Today’s students don't talk, they text and live in an online world. Our research showed it was important to create a service that would be easy for students to use and have all the features and security factors needed to satisfy school administrators and new state mandates as well.” With the theme “Do Something About It,” the CyberBully Hotline program gives the latest technology-driven solution to those school administrators looking for anti-bullying resources. The CyberBully Hotline offers an automatic number for students to call or text anonymous tips to, and it includes a complete bullying prevention program. Schools and districts that purchase the program receive an exclusive telephone number that accepts both text messages and voice calls, anonymously. In addition each school receives influential, anti-bullying posters that not only create awareness of the school’s own unique telephone number; the commanding materials also reinforce the “Bullying is Wrong” messaging that is vitally important to keep top-of-mind with all students. Each student is also given a wallet card containing the hotline number and the colorful posters include QR codes encouraging students to save the number to their personal contacts.
The anonymity is the key aspect of the CyberBully Hotline. Many students internalize bullying episodes and are often reluctant to tell a parent, a teacher, a counselor or even their own friends. Bystanders and witnesses are often equally fearful of being seen going for help or coming forward. With the CyberBully Hotline, students can now anonymously call or text without fear of retaliation. This sends a powerful message to bullies that the curtain of silence is being torn away.
“We understand that bullying and cyberbullying is detrimental to a student’s well-being and development,” added Palacios. “Yet, current anti-bullying legislation, typically an unfunded mandate, requires schools to have anti-bullying policies but provides no financial resources to improve school climates and security. We realized we could not only help schools and districts with an affordable and easy to implement program to support their anti-bullying efforts, but we could also use the SchoolReach platform to create the all-important anonymous voice and text-based bully reporting system that students will feel comfortable using.”
To learn more about the CyberBully Hotline, please visit www.cyberbullyhotline.com or call 1-800-420-1479.
SchoolReach is the K-12 division of St. Louis-based GroupCast, LLC, a broadcast voice, e-mail and SMS notification provider. SchoolReach specializes in automated solutions for school communication needs. From emergency communications and school closing announcements to absentee alerts, and now anonymous reporting, SchoolReach is the solution. More information about SchoolReach can be found at www.schoolreach.com and www.cyberbullyhotline.com
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Charlotte Andrist @ 770-578-8007 or Charlotte@EicherCommunications.com
Leslie Eicher @ 314-965-1776 or Leslie@EicherCommunications.com
*Source: National Education Association.