Phone app allows students to report bullying

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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Bullying is a concern that many parents and school districts worry about with their students. Now one local county is using technology to help. Washington County Schools are giving students the option to report issues to administrators by using their cellphones.

"It's just another tool to help us as a district to help our students and help our parents out," said Dr. Bobbie Dawson. She works as the Director of Federal Programs for Washington County Schools.

Students in the county can use the app as another way to speak out about issues like bullying. They can also use the app to report alcohol, drugs, or gang activity on campus.

"Some students do not have a problem having conversations with you as an adult," said Dr. Dawson. "When you get to the high school and middle school level they think of it as narcing."

Bonnie Taylor is an assistant principal at Kate M. Smith Elementary School. She and other administrators in the county have the app on their cellphones. When a student makes a report it comes to the administrators phone in real time. "It'll notify me of what it is and it will generate a report," said Taylor. "I go and investigate and they tell me where it happened on campus."

Some may not expect kindergarten or first graders to use the app, but Taylor says she's glad there's another option for students. "I think it's a great tool to have especially for our older students," said Taylor.

"The concern is that any student in the environment they hear peer pressure and all of those things," said Superintendent Joseph Taylor. "Sometimes they're reluctant to come forward."

School officials also say students are encouraged to not only use the app for themselves, but also if they see other children being bullied. Parents and students can also access the app by using the web.