Text tip line set up in W. Bridgewater to stop bullying
WEST BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- Parents and students in West Bridgewater will now be able to alert police and administrators about bullying by sending a text message.
“It’s a 21st century way for the kids to get a note to the principal ,” said Dr. Patricia Oakley, the Superintendent of West Bridgewater Schools.
“You need to have a place where kids can report things. It has to be easier for kids to report, and kids are just comfortable texting,” said Officer Ken Thaxter of the West Bridgewater Police Department.
To battle bullying, the schools and police have teamed up to start the Student Safety Tip Line.
“They might feel funny. They might know that something’s going on. They might know that a friend of theirs is being bullied. They don’t wanna be the one that squeals on the kids. So, this way, they could just text it to the principal,” said Dr. Oakley.
“If it’s gonna work, if it’s gonna stop bullying, then go for it,” said Ryan Illes, who likes the idea.
“90 percent of them are on the phone constantly anyways,” said Denise Cook, who likes the idea.
Parents admit that after seeing tragedies, like the death of South Hadley student Phoebe Prince, they are sometimes scared.
“Bullying is a very bad thing. You have to try and stop that,” said Marjorie Herard, who is worried about bullying.
Some parents, though, worry that a text message is a poor substitute for a child with a possible problem.
“You want to talk to somebody about it,” said one parent.
School officials and police stressed that the new policy doesn’t replace face-to-face contact, and should never be used in an emergency.
Principal Mark Bodwell said he’s hoping his inbox stays empty, but says if there is a problem, the sooner that officials learn of it, the better.
“With students texting now very often, it’s a great way for us to get firsthand information very quickly,” said Bodwell.
When officials first came up with the idea, they were worried about the cost to fund it. Then, after searching online, they discovered they could implement the new text tip line for free.
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