Police at the McAllen Independent School District in Texas hope students will use a new mobile app to report bullying or other threats to authorities before they happen.
The district last month rolled out an app for iPads and other mobile devices that lets students anonymously report incidents of bullying and threats of violence or suicide to school police instantaneously.
The app, dubbed “Anti-Bullying,” is not a substitute for calling 9-1-1 in emergencies—a disclaimer that appears before each submission reminds users of that. But with about 25,000 students in the district now in possession of iPad tablets, police believe it can be an effective tool for dealing with bullying and preventing more serious incidents.
“Where the actual bullying goes on most of the time, it’s tough for an administrator to pick it up or even respond to it,” said Adrian Garza, project director with the district police department. “It happens in the bathroom … off school grounds … they’re essentially our eyes and ears outside the school walls, as well as when we’re not there.”
The app includes text, photo, and video capabilities for reporting or documenting bullying. It also directs students to additional resources, including the Tropical Texas Behavioral Health crisis hotline.