SURPRISE, AZ – The issues of bullying and teen suicide have forced one Valley school to look at a 21st-century solution.
“It’s just crazy to think that very, very young people take their lives,” said Arizona Charter Academy student Cassandra Lopez. In just eighth grade, Lopez knows the weight of the world and its expectations are at times overwhelming.
“You wish you could have done something to help that person,” said Lopez, who is well aware of the statistics.
Every year more than 4,400 of her peers commit suicide. The reason can vary from bullying to mental illness and depression.
“I really think that this app is a great tool for schools to have and invest in, I do think that it is going to save lives,” said Arizona Charter Academy Principal Jordan Beckman.
The app, called Bully Raadr, is in use by all of the 500 students at the Surprise charter school.
“Students can download the app and they create their own account which is then linked to the school,” said Beckman.
The application puts a solution directly in the palms of those who see the signs of future trouble firsthand. The app guides students through several steps, including labeling what type of incident the student witnessed and then giving a description.
“You would write the report name, maybe bullying or whatever the case is, and you would write ‘Oh today I saw so-and-so being bullied, they pushed him down the stairs,’ or whatever the case may be,” said Lopez as she demonstrated how the app works.
Those reports are sent directly to school officials and can even be sent anonymously.
“Oftentimes kids don’t report issues because they don’t want to be seen as a snitch or they don’t want to be seen walking into the principle’s office,” said Beckman.
Thanks to the app, they no longer have to–hopefully allowing parents, classmates and teachers to head off tragedy before it happens.