Kern County students testing new app to report, prevent bullying

BAKERSFIELD - Seven schools around Kern County are piloting a new phone app that could help curb bullying at schools.

The app allows selected students to electronically report incidents of bullying that they have seen and intervened in around campus. 

The pilot period started last month and is being using by student ambassadors that are already a part of the Safe School Ambassadors program. Each of these students are mentored on how and what types of situations they should be reporting.

“I think it’s more effective for kids to listen to kids, because you know you’re listening to your friends,” said Rachel Hampton, a student ambassador at Rosedale Middle School.

Rachel has already reported a few incidents through the system and explained it’s been useful tracking how she intervene in different bullying-type situations.

“I had a situations between my two good friends,” explained Rachel, who is in 8th grade. “They’re still not talking to each other but at least I stopped the name calling.”

The program, which is collaborative effort between Community Matters and Sprigeo, is being tested at Bakersfield High School, Golden Valley High School, Greenfield Middle School, Lincoln Junior High, Rosedale Middle School, Taft High School and Tehachapi High School. These schools are the national pilot sites for this project.

Rosedale has 50 School Safety Ambassadors and just over 700 students.

“The kids relate to each other much more than they would to us,” said Barbara Hashim, 8th grade science teacher who works closely with the school ambassadors.

Districts committed to support the pilot project through May at which time feedback will be analyzed and used to make adaptions in the app design so that it may be improved and eventually be used in some or all of the more than 1,500 SSA public and private school sites across 32 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and Canada.

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