Children Avoid Bullies and Discovery Via Internet

SALT LAKE CITY – Hoping to combat the “snitch” label that often leads to silent suffering, six schools in Utah have introduced a Web site that allows students to anonymously report bullies. A Brigham Young University student, Justin Bergener, created the site, which also allows students to post information about thefts, drugs and bullying.

Bergener said he hopes that students who otherwise might be too afraid or ashamed to talk until they are ready to publish on the site.

“There really is this culture and the code of silence that prevails particularly in schools and high schools,” said Bergener.

Many students do not want to be seen in the office talking to a figure of authority, said Rosanna Ungerman, Provo’s main Dixon Middle School.

“It allows students to have an exit route and report things that otherwise might not have reported,” said Ungerman.

About 50 schools in other states are also using the Web site.
That’s how it works: school administrators are aware of the suggestions, either by e-mail or text message, Bergener said. For some schools, students must create a username and password to send a tip, but still remain anonymous, though. But in most cases, allow schools to send anyone to an end without having to give personal information.

“We prefer to have 10 good and a false nothing at all,” Bergener told The Associated Press on Monday.

Bergener said his Web site is merely a third party vessels along the tips. SchoolTipline, which also has participating schools in Texas, Washington, California and Arizona, do not read the boards or the response to them. If you go without a tip for a day or so, however, schools SchoolTipline remember it’s there.

The six schools in Utah using the Web site include elementary, middle and high schools.

Even some parents have reported incidents of anonymity, said Judy Runolfson, the Lehi Junior High assistant principal.

“There is a growing awareness that it is a situation that must be examined immediately because we know that can lead to something that is not so bad to something much worse,” said Runolfson.


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