Meeting District Needs

New Texting Service to Report Bullying Gets National PTA Support

By Michele Molnar — May 31, 2013 2 min read

Students will be able to confidentially report and discuss bullying and other troubling incidents by text message with TipTxt, a new tipline offered by Blackboard, Inc., that is being promoted in conjunction with the National PTA.

The new safety-oriented service will be offered to all K-12 schools and districts in the country at no cost other than the $125 annual fee of setting up a dedicated line.

On May 29, the PTA announced the partnership with Blackboard, a Washington, D.C.-based business that provides enterprise technology and solutions for students and learners around the world.

“TipTxt is a tipline that allows for confidential, text conversations between students and school officials about critical challenges that students experience such as bullying, and issues that relate to bullying, such as abuse, self-esteem or confidence problems,” the PTA’s release says. “Armed with this insight, officials can provide resources, advice, or immediate action to help on a case-by-case basis.”

“The concept is one that is great,” said Ronald D. Stephens, the executive director of the National School Safety Center, an advocacy and advisory group in Westlake Village, Calif. “Texting is probably where the new action is” in terms of reporting threatening behavior, he said.

While a national “text-only” service for this purpose might be a novelty, the concept of using texting for tips is not entirely new.

As part of its “Silence Hurts Campaign,” Broward County Public Schools in Florida set up a phone, email, and text system for anonymous tips after the 2009 murder of a high school girl by another girl who had texted, “Ima bust a cap in somebody. Ima shoot somebody. Tomorrow I will shoot myself in the heart. I just might get arrested tomorrow. U gon visit me in jail.”

News reports indicated that, despite this very public warning, no one reported the threat.

The PTA and Blackboard are hoping they can affect students’ willingness to report incidents with the texting capability.

“National PTA has always believed that creating a dialogue around bullying is one of the most effective measures to putting a stop to the problem. TipTxt is a great tool that allows children to have a voice within this dialogue,” Betsy Landers, National PTA president, is quoted as saying in the organization’s release.

Stephens from the National School Safety Center said, “Schools will need to do some education of students about why it’s in their self-interest to do this [report threats via text], and for adults about why they need to respond.” The stakes are high. “Unchecked, bullying creates an atmosphere of chaos and a negative learning environment,” he said.

Learn more from the National PTA’s official statement.

A version of this news article first appeared in the K-12 Parents and the Public blog.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Elementary Teacher
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools

Read Next

Meeting District Needs Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories you may have missed.
8 min read
Meeting District Needs Coronavirus Squeezes Supply of Chromebooks, iPads, and Other Digital Learning Devices
School districts are competing against each other for purchases of digital devices as remote learning expands to schools across the country.
7 min read
The New York City school system has been handing out laptops and other digital devices for students to use at home. Recently, it moved quickly to purchase 300,000 new iPads for remote learning.
The New York City school system has been handing out laptops and other digital devices for students to use at home. Recently, it moved quickly to purchase 300,000 new iPads for remote learning.
AP Photo/John Minchillo
Meeting District Needs Commentary Open Educational Resources Fill Gap for Underserved Students
The NAACP advocates the use of OER as a way to equalize learning resources at scale for all students, write Lisa Petrides and Barbara Dezmon.
Lisa Petrides & Barbara Dezmon
6 min read
Open Educational Resources Fill Gap for Underserved Students In the wake of NAACP’s endorsement of OER, states have a responsibility to address resource inequality, write Lisa Petrides and Barbara Dezmon
Getty/Getty
Meeting District Needs 'Red Flags' to Look for When Evaluating Personalized Learning Products
Educators are asking tougher questions to sort the real personalized learning potential from the empty promises of some ed-tech products and services.
6 min read
Buzzwords in the Marketplace
Buzzwords in the Marketplace
Education Week