SANTA MARIA, Calif. - One Central Coast high school is working to stop bullying. Righetti High School has created an app for this.
Righetti's school counselor added what's called the Bully Button on the school app for smart phones and tablets. It allows students to report bullying quickly and with the push of a button.
"This allows a student, a parent, even an adult witness to report a bullying incident," says Eric Blanco, the school counselor.
Blanco says the Bully Button on the school app changes the way bullying is reported. He says students may shy away from reporting an incident for fear of being being bullied even more.
"They have fear that coming to administration or security office that the person who is bullying might see them come in," says Blanco.
If a student or parent wants to report bullying, all they have to do is click on the Bully Button inside the app, and fill out the form that pops up. It asks for the names and genders of the victim and the accused bully, and where and when the bullying took place.
Blanco says students are more willing to report bullying if it can be done discreetly. Not only is it easy to do it over the phone but they can do it anonymously.
"Our hope is this allows someone to report without that feeling of fear," says Blanco.
And Righetti High School students seem to agree.
"I think it takes a lot of fear out of it because everyone's so immersed in their phones anyway's and it's discreet instead of going up to the office yourself," says senior Kaitlyn Furst.
But students at most schools don't have the option of a Bully Button. Central Coast News made calls to several school districts and found out that reporting bullying usually requires a student to make a report in-person.
Senior Ryland Towne says, "it creates this whole new environment for students, I think it's a great idea."
Blanco says he hasn't received data on how many times the bully button has been used. But he did say the school app has over 7,000 views in less than a year.
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