Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Community News Network

October 7, 2013

New software program helps schools track bullying

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — A Pennsylvania company says it has found a better way to help the nation's schools battle bullying – with the click of a computer mouse.

A program called Hibster, created by Coast 2 Coast Cellular, allows school officials to quickly file, report and track bullying and intimidation accusations and to spot trends, said Chief Operating Officer Lonta Townsend.

In the past two years, more that 200 schools have adopted the Hibster software program in New Jersey, where a strict 2011 law has mandated that school leaders both report and address bullying accusations. With other states considering similar moves, Townsend said the company has new opportunities to take the program nationwide.

"We've created a universal reporting system that I don't think anyone else can match," said Townsend. "It gives schools a program that is set up specific to each state's guidelines ... and streamlines the information collection and reporting process."

Coast 2 Coast's operations director, Beth Freiwald, said the software was conceived three years ago as a way to help schools battle bullying. The development came at a time when stories across the country drew attention to students who had killed themselves because of mistreatment at school and through social networks.

New Jersey crafted requirements in 2011 forcing state schools to document, investigate and resolve accusations of bullying. State guidelines require school administrators, parents involved and board leaders to be alerted of findings. Schools were expected to quickly implement the new guidelines, and some worried about the cost.

Townsend said that's where Hibster comes in. The software program saves school officials time by eliminating the paper process, providing an efficient reporting program so schools "don't have to reinvent the wheel" to comply.

School staff and administrators are able to add data into the program, selecting the type of offense and location where it occurred. They also can upload surveillance camera video or screenshots of social media harassment, if applicable, Freiwald said.

Text Only
Community News Network
Biz Marquee
AP Video
Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites