Taft City School District students who feel they are the victims of bullying can now report it online. The district is using Sprigeo, a new software program as part of its ongoing efforts to battle bullying.
The online reporting protects victims and the people who report it, said Greg Mudge, the district technology coordinator.
“We've always taught our students that when they see misconduct whether its happening to them or somebody else to report it,” Mudge told the board last week.
Reporting it online is safer, he said.
“When you get caught telling you get targeted for more bullying or you get labeled a snitch,” Mudge said.
That's where Sprigeo come in.
A link to Sprigeo is included on the website for all the district school website and the district site.
It allows for confidential reporting or the person can use their name. Only authorized personnel can access the reports.
Surprisingly, the students making the reports often use their names even though they don't have to.
“Parents and students can leave messages, but only principals and administrative staff can retrieve them. It's all password protected,” Mudge said.
Administrators are notified immediately when a report is made, either by email or text massage, according to the Sprigeo website.
Most of the reports made so far involve Lincoln Junior High School.
Four of the reports involve bullying on Facebook.
The online reporting system doesn't only protect students, it can protect the district from liability from bullying.
“The burden of proof is on the district to provide documentation, to show we are doing something,” Supt.. Ron Bryant said.
Districts are being sued for bullying, Bryant told the board at a March meeting, and taking a proactive approach to dealing with the problem can prevent the district and employees from being targeted by suits.
Even teachers' homeowners insurance has been targeted by some lawsuits.