My pre-teen son is no stranger to bullying, so I was pleased to read the most recent news out of our Wentzville school. Fortunately, our school has handled all incidents of bullying in a very acceptable manner, but now the Wentzville R-IV district has started a bullying hotline for school age victims. The CyberBully Hotline is about more than just cyber bullying, however.
From the Wentzville R-IV school district letter:
Bullying of any kind is wrong–no matter if it’s physical, verbal, online or off, before, during, or after school–and it is never acceptable. To help in our prevention efforts, the Wentzville School District is implementing the School Reach CyberBully Hotline.
Bullying of any kind is intolerable and should be reported to people who can do something to help. Students and victims of bullying need not do the actual calling.Parents, guardians, and neighbors can report bullying and harassment via the CyberBully Hotline as well.
The purpose of this program is to create an anonymous, two-way means for students, parents, guardians and others to report incidents of bullying, harassment, or intimidation, and to provide information about potentially harmful or violent acts by others.
One of the great things about this hotline is that it makes reporting bullying accessible to teens and others who don’t want to be seen as a tattletale or snitch. Calls and text messages are accepted and anonymous. They go straight to a “designated school official” to be handled accordingly. Furthermore, the school encourages everyone to report on any plans of violence or bullying we may know of, not just bullying that has already taken place.
With the very real threat of teen suicide as a result of bullying, and given my personal experience with a bullied child, this sounds like a phenomenal addition to the school’s no tolerance plan. Hopefully just knowing they can be reported–and so quickly–will help prevent bullies from acting out.