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School program tackles bullying

School program tackles bullying

BONNEVILLE COUNTY, Idaho - A new program allows students to report bullying without fearing retaliation.

Six schools in Bonneville Joint School District 93 – Hillcrest High School, Bonneville High School, Lincoln Alternative High School, Sandcreek Middle School, Rocky Mountain Middle School and Hillview Elementary School – are taking part in a new online program that will allow anyone to anonymously report cases of bullying or other issues affecting students.

John Pymm, director of safe schools for the district, said it allows people to report any inappropriate behavior that the school needs to investigate.

The program, Anonymous Alerts, is available on the schools' individual websites. Pymm said the schools each pay $200 a year for the program. He said he believes District 93 is the first district in Idaho to test the program.

He said the schools began using the program in late 2013 and are already investigating cases of bullying.

"At the high school level, it's not necessarily 'I'm afraid to tell,' as much as it is there's this code of silence. ... You just can't speak up because it violates the code. You don't rat anybody out. You don't ... cross that line," Pymm said.

Pymm said Anonymous Alerts lets students report bullying without worrying about becoming a target for bullies.

He said schools are always dealing with issues of cyberbullying and he hopes the program will curb that.

Pymm said even when it occurs during after school hours, school officials can still help.

"If it happens away from school between students, it still translates into potential problems at school," he said. "If they're seeing each other in the classroom, if they're being disruptive, learning begins to fall off because of these texts. Then you really have to act in some way."

Pymm said the schools pay $200 a year out of their own budgets for the program.

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