The Lima City Schools has started using a new app that allows students and parents to anonymously report bullying incidents immediately.
BRIM is an anti-bullying software that is used in more than 200 schools around the country. The Lima City Schools is the only school in Ohio to use it. The software consists of an app students and parents can download to anonymously report bullying incidents.
Students can report from their personal cell phones, or from desktop computers in their schools. Every computer has easy access to the app. Elementary schools now have ipads that will be in inconspicuous locations for student use.
The Lima City Schools has received grant money to assist with the program.
Nate Garlock, the district’s director of safety and security, said students involved in an incident or someone who sees it, can make a report without anyone knowing. This cuts down the fear of retaliation, he said.
“I hope kids will feel empowered by this and feel like they don’t have to be afraid to speak out,” he said. “By empowering the kids and putting it back in their hands to be able to take control and know their voices are being heard, it will likely lead to better decision making and reduce bullying.”
Students are able to type in what they experienced or saw and can also attach a screen shot in cases of cyberbullying.
Each school has a designated response team made up of four to five school staff members who will be responsible for quickly investigating any report and taking the appropriate action. Once a report is made the response team members immediately get an email.
Garlock expects that along with bullying, the app will be used by students and parents to report other issues in the school.
The app can be downloaded at the App store. Or students report from any school computer or at www.limacityschools.org. The link to report is under the “Student Life” and “Parent” tabs.
School Social Workers and School Resource Officers will visit classrooms to demonstrate how the app works and to answer questions. Lima Senior Graphic Communications students designed posters that will hang throughout all of the schools.
The Lima City Schools will continue its existing anti-bullying programs; the app serving as an additional piece officials believe will be proactive and positive. Parents and students are still welcome to report bullying and other issues directly to school staff.
The app will also allow schools and the district to get in-depth reports on bullying, including places and times where there is a higher level of incidents. Officials can also get reports on individual students. All this will help the district use its resources in the best way to address issues.