One middle school in Brooklyn is taking the war on bullying into the digital age by using an app that will allow bystanders to anonymously report incidents to school officials.
Unfortunately, the fear of being judged by classmates can keep many children from speaking up when they see other students being bullied or harassed.
Officials at David A. Boody Intermediate School 228 in Gravesend have decided to use technology to eliminate this fear and make sure any students who are caught bullying are dealt with quickly.
The school launched a campaign against bullying about six years ago and they hope incorporating the Bridg-iT app will leave students feeling safe and empowered at school.
“It’s a tool of empowerment,” said PTA president Heather Fiorica. “The sense of helplessness that a child feels when they’re being bullied is no longer there.”
All it takes is the tap of an icon and app users will immediately be directed to a form that will allow them to include details of the bullying incident they have witnessed.
The app will allow their identity to remain anonymous.
“We want the bystanders to be upstanders as far as reporting and take leadership roles in saying, ‘I’m not going to accept this type of behavior toward my friend or this person,’ ” the school’s principal, 49-year-old Dominick D’Angelo, told the New York Daily News.
The app is a new tool for students to use, and, so far, five reports have already been filed through the app.
Now, D’Angelo explains, school officials can focus on getting to the root of the issues that are causing bullying.
The school has called on various mentors to reach out to school bullies and help them correct their behavioral issues.
The important thing is that students have another tool that makes them feel safe when they should be focusing on their education.
“The main this is, we need to emphasize to the students that this type of behavior is not acceptable and we’re clearly watching you,” he added.
D’Angelo said that the number of bullying incidents at the school has already declined since integrating the new app.
Based on the app’s success, this could lay the foundation for more digital means to be used in schools to monitor bullying and ensure students are able to thrive in a comforting learning environment.