Bullying on notice

Claire Peralta, Staff Reporter

Every 7 minutes, a child is bullied at school. One in three kids report being bullied, and one in ten report being bullied several times a week. 57 percent of students would not report an incident even if they could do it anonymously. Administrators hope that by implementing SafeSchools Alert, students will feel more comfortable reporting incidents. SafeSchools Alert is an online tip reporting service available for the district. It allows students to report to administrators a potential threat to anyone’s safety (bullying, intimidation, harassment, weapons, drugs, etc.) anonymously through an online forum.

“It is a district-wide endeavor to give students the opportunity to report personal issues or other issues that they are encountering,” assistant principal Bruce Coachman said.

SafeSchools was implemented two years ago, but only recently have the walls been plastered with posters urging students to report any issues. Since then, administrators have been able to resolve many safety concerns using the program.

“There have been at least a half dozen instances this year that we have been able to resolve incidents with the program,” Coachman said.  “It may give teachers, students, or parents more comfort to report it this regard because they don’t have to take the chance of going to an authority and have someone see them.”

Students feel safer using the “Report It” alternative.

“I would rather report (the incident) online,” junior Madi Franquiz said. “If I was in a situation that I was uncomfortable with, where I was being bullied, I wouldn’t want to report it to someone face-to-face because I wouldn’t be comfortable with it.”

However, the anonymity of the system has its downsides.

“It gives them the forum to report something confidentially so that we can at least address it,” Coachman said. “I have had a couple of reports that were confidential, that I have had no idea who to talk to to resolve that with. They gave no information, just the incident. It’s a good forum to report what’s going on so that we can address the issue, but there’s nothing you can do because you don’t have enough information to resolve it.”

Overall, the system gives students an outlet to comfortably report incidents, without the added pressure of potential harassment for doing so.

“It seems like it would be embarrassing for someone being bullied to go to an administrator,” junior Emily Teague said. “It would be so much easier to report what was happening online.”

If you have information about a threat to safety, use one of the following ways to report the threat.

Online: http://1186.alert1.us

Email: [email protected]

Call: 1-855-4ALERT1, ext. 1186

Text: #1186 @tip+ your tip to: ALERT1 or 253781