May 29, 2013
WASHINGTON, May 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Blackboard Inc. has launched TipTxt™, a two-way texting service that encourages students to confidentially notify school officials of activity related to bullying or school safety, and will offer the service for free to all K-12 schools and districts in the country. In addition, Blackboard has partnered with the National PTA® to bring visibility to the program and help address the nationwide dilemma of bullying in schools.
TipTxt is a tipline that allows for confidential text conversations between students and school officials about critical challenges that students experience such as bullying and issues that relate to bullying, such as abuse, self-esteem or confidence problems. Armed with this insight, officials can provide resources, advice or other follow-up to help on a case-by-case basis.
"Some students tend to not be as comfortable with face-to-face and text is how they communicate," said Dr. Lisa Andrejko, Superintendent of Schools for Quakertown Community School District, one of the first districts to pilot the service. "Using technology to report situations and alert school officials without having to be in their presence or be seen is a very effective means of communication and helpful in anti-bullying efforts. With TipTxt, we can help students report bullying without fear of retaliation."
Blackboard is offering TipTxt at no charge to every public, private and parochial K-12 school in the country. Participating schools will receive access to the service, a TipTxt mailbox and implementation and support services. The TipTxt service also includes the cost of each school's text messages. Schools will just need to purchase a dedicated TipTxt line at a cost of $125 per year to enable the service.
"More than 3 million students are victims of bullying each year, and almost 4 million participate in it," said National PTA President Betsy Landers. "The epidemic scale of this problem can be paralyzing, but when students, parents, and school officials are equipped with the tools to tackle it, they can banish bullying from the classroom to the chat room, one incident at a time."
"The vast majority of students already have a bullying prevention tool in their pocket – we just need to give them a way to use it," said Jay Bhatt, Blackboard CEO. "Helping them communicate with trusted adults in the same way they communicate with each other helps increase the likelihood of engagement. Just as we strive to give students a voice in the classroom, we also want to give them a voice in the hallways, on the playground, and in the lunchroom. We hope this effort can be a small step toward making school and students safer."
For more information about TipTxt for K-12 or other institutions, please visit Blackboard.com/tiptxtK12 and follow #TipTxt on Twitter.
About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.
Standard text rates may apply for parent or student TipTxt message senders; they should consult their carrier plans for details. TipTxt uses standard text messaging and may be subject to the security vulnerabilities of any other text message sent to, or received by, the user's mobile device.
About Blackboard Inc.
Source: Blackboard Inc.