Stickers printed with a hotline to report incidents of student bullying are being adhered to school buses to assist transportation staff in reporting and intervening for improved student safety.
The stickers inform students as well as parents to call 587-STOP and are being used district wide in classroom and campus buildings in addition to school buses, said Scott Lane, director of transportation for Oklahoma City Public Schools, the state's largest district.
The hotline was shared with drivers last month during in-service training.
“If we get any kind of report about (bullying), of course we are one of the people who receive it when it has to do with buses," he told School Transportation News. "We investigate, and the principals hands out discipline. We’ve had a couple of situations where it was helpful to have that information.”
The hotline is a bilingual incident reporting system also available to school staff. Lane said several bus drivers have already used the phone number, and feedback has been positive. While Lane said no students had used the number at this writing, he did say parents have begun to report incidents involving their children.
The reporting method was developed through Awareity’s TIPS (Threat Assessment, Incident Management and Prevention Services) system, which was purchased with a state grant. Awareity provides web-based software tools to improve risk management, public safety, emergency response, threat assessment, incident reporting, school safety, and campus safety.
“OKCPS must provide a safe environment in order for our students to reach their academic goals and be successful. This new system provides another tool in reporting, addressing and intervening on incidents to ensure the safety for our students and staff,” added Sandra Park, OKCPS Deputy Superintendent.
Lane said the hotline is in compliance with decade-old state law on bullying prevention that guides schools on developing and implementing policies. He also said bus drivers already receive student behavior management training, which includes bullying intervention.