Not LOL: Service allows bully reporting by text

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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Students are getting a new weapon to fight back against bullies: their cell phones.

A leading education technology company on Wednesday announced it would give schools a free and confidential way for students to tell school officials via text that they are being bullied or are witnessing bullying. Blackboard’s TipTxt program could change the school climate — or reveal just how pervasive student-on-student harassment has become.

Blackboard provides products to more than half of the nation’s schools and will offer the service for free starting immediately. Texts sent through the confidential system will be routed to school officials, who then will determine how to investigate.

Bullying takes many forms, from face-to-face intimidation to online harassment.

The Education Department estimates that roughly a third of students have been bullied.

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