St. Louis, MO – April 11, 2012 – With bullying and cyber bullying on the rise, districts and schools are looking to step-up their anti-bully efforts with programs that are more student-centered, but at the same time are highly effective in this digital era where constant dissemination, and in some cases manipulation, of information via computers, cellphones and social media outlets is the norm.
McLean County Unit 5 Districtin Normal, Ill., is one such district. The 13,314-student district is piloting the CyberBully Hotline from SchoolReach in six of its schools, including four junior and two senior high schools. The solution will provide schools and its students a two-way communications tool that allows students to instantly and directly send text messages -- or leave a voicemail -- anonymously with school officials. In response, those officials can immediately reply, also anonymously, and provide students the support they need to effectively address the offensive bullying act, whether they are witnessing it, or on the receiving end of it.
“We are dedicated to keeping our students safe whether they are at school or not,” said Nancy Braun, behavior interventionist and external coach for Unit 5. “We currently have a number of effective bully prevention programs in our schools including the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports system that encourages the “expect respect” philosophy, but it was important to us to add one more layer – one that empowers students to successfully report bully behavior and one that will give our administrators a better understanding of when bully behavior is happening. Is it on the buses to and from school, or during lunchtime, or perhaps at school sporting events? With the addition of the CyberBully Hotline, we have a comprehensive solution that can help us not only reduce tensions but find the patterns and quell them.”
With the theme “Do Something About It,” the CyberBully Hotline program gives the latest technology-driven solution to school and district administrators eager to augment their current anti-bullying resources. 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, but the commanding materials also reinforce the “Bullying is Wrong” messaging that is vitally important to keep top-of-mind with all students. Students are 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. District officials will also have access to the CyberBully Hotline Resource Center which offers a wealth of information on report response best practices and access to ongoing professional development materials.
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. More information about SchoolReach can be found at www.schoolreach.com and www.cyberbullyhotline.com
Charlotte Andrist @ 770-578-8007 or Charlotte@EicherCommunications.com
Leslie Eicher @ 314-965-1776 or Leslie@EicherCommunications.com
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