Updating the shoebox-with-a hole-in-the-top outside the principal’s office, SchoolTipline lets children and parents report bullying to school administrators anonymously. If the school doesn’t read the tip, it even sends a reminder email a few days later.
Administrators using the service are willing to take the risk that they might get a few bad tips in with the good ones, the site’s founder told Teacher Magazine, because it makes children feel comfortable sharing things who might otherwise stay silent. Schools can require that students set up a log-in before sending a tip, which SchoolTipline says will help deter false tips.
Following up on an anonymous tip seems tricky, but at least it brings to the adults’ attention situations that can be hard to spot; principals can alert teachers to keep an eye out for certain kinds of behavior, increasing the likelihood of catching a bully in the act.
A handful of New York City schools are listed on the site, but none appear to be actively using it. Interested schools can sign up for a free pilot, and anyone can send an automatic email to a school suggesting they sign up.
Meanwhile, a study published in this month’s Archives of General Psychiatry found that early childhood behavior patterns can help predict which children will be bullied, perhaps making intervention possible:
The study found that children who were aggressive at 17 months of age were more likely to become victims in preschool than their less aggressive peers. Children exposed to harsh parenting were more likely to be chronic victims, as were those from poorer families.
“These results suggest that early preventive interventions should target both child- and parent-level risks, and focus on alternatives to harsh and aggressive interactions,” the author wrote.
How does your school, or your child’s, handle bullying?