Refugio Independent School District in Refugio, Texas, has deployed a revolutionary new anonymous tip system that is designed to deter bullying before it even happens. Much like surveillance cameras deter crime, the district has placed highly visible posters that warn would-be bullies of a pervasive yet discreet tipping system. This system, called uTip – The Bully Buster, empowers fellow students to anonymously submit on-the-spot tips from their cell phones. The uTip program is provided free of charge for the first year by Omnilert, the leader in school safety communications.
“I feel certain there are incidents of bullying in school, but they are the most under reported incidents,” explained Lisa Herring, Director of Education at Refugio ISD. “Though we didn’t really have a problem here, we are trying to be proactive and implement some kind of deterrent to try to keep incidents from becoming a problem. The uTip program is going to make it very easy for us to record and track incidents and hopefully prevent bullying.
“The uTip service was very easy to implement and it’s based on something students already have and use daily – cell phones. In addition, having these free posters available and posting them throughout the campuses have made it clear that we have the system in place and students have a way to contact us and report incidents. It’s very practical.
“I think just having the posters up is going to be a deterrent. The ease of use for students to report these things very quickly, easily and confidentially will be an added bonus.
“I see those posters as kind of like security cameras. They’re visible. We’ve got them on the doors at entrances and exits, and it’s a constant reminder – if you see something or you think you see something, here’s an easy way to let somebody know. I think that’ll work.
“To get the whole thing approved, I discussed it with the administrators at each campus and my superintendent and they all thought it was a good idea. In light of all the bullying legislation and attention it’s getting nationwide, we decided to go ahead to try to do something about it.
“For others looking to get it started at their school district, I would start with your campus administrator. Present the uTip materials to your principal and let him or her run with it and take it to the appropriate level.”
About uTip – The Bully Buster
Already in place at schools around the country, uTip – The Bully Buster is the award-winning revolutionary “Bully Deterrent System” that combines technology with psychology to decrease bullying and crime at school. uTip technology uses SMS text messaging to put the power in the palm of students’ hands – enabling them to discreetly and anonymously report a situation immediately, so schools can respond quickly. Plus, uTip includes free promotional materials for the school to inform tipsters while sending a warning to would-be bullies. uTip is the most relevant and effective way to gain on-the-spot information from students about bullying. Results are guaranteed.