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Boston Public Schools Adds Anti-Bullying Texting to Hotline Service
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Three and a half years after the City of Boston implemented a "bullying prevention hotline," Boston Public Schools has expanded options by adding a texting service for a similar purpose. TipTxt, a mostly free service from Blackboard, provides two-way texting. Now the district's 58,000 students can notify their schools of bullying or other safety concerns via texting device.
TipTxt is a service that allows people to text information about a bullying incident to a dedicated number. Authorized individuals receive notification about the incident and can start a two-way text conversation with the person who made the report and use texted details to respond. Although Blackboard doesn't charge schools for the service, schools are required to purchase a "dedicated TipTxt line" at a cost of $125 per year per location.
In a message on a Web page about anti-bullying resources, the district reminded parents that it "strongly recommended" reporting instances of bullying directly to school administrators and staff. But, the page stated, "We also understand that families, and students in particular, may feel more comfortable calling the hotline in some instances. While it is essential that all reported instances are treated with the utmost seriousness, we also believe that proactive measures are critical to prevention."
"Ensuring the safety and well-being of our students is a top priority and essential to our mission of accelerating students' academic achievement," said John McDonough, interim superintendent at the district. "Bringing TipTxt to our schools is another example of how the City of Boston is committed to using proactive, innovative, and educationally sound strategies to prevent bullying."
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.