National Stop Bullying Week is Sunday, Oct. 6, through Saturday, Oct. 12, and the Collier County Sheriff’s Office reminds the community that the best way to stop bullying is to tell someone it’s happening.
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive and often repeated behavior that leaves its victims feeling powerless. It takes on many forms including name-calling, social exclusion and physical attacks. In today’s technologically savvy society, bullies can even take to text-messaging and social networking sites to harass their target.
CCSO offers several tools that teachers/family/students can use to help stop bullying.
CCSO.TV features multiple educational videos that focus on the general nature of bullying, the differences between boy and girl bullying and cyber-bullying.
CCSO, Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers and Collier County Public Schools partnered in 2012 to provide the community with a text-messaging line to report bullying and remain anonymous.
Using the keywords DNTH8 (don’t hate), anyone wishing to report bullying can text a tip to 274637 (c-r-i-m-e-s). The software provider, TipSoft, encrypts the text message and routes it through several secure severs, protecting the tipster’s identity. The tip will come in through Crime Stoppers, whose hotline is monitored around the clock, and then be sent immediately to CCSO. Once CCSO receives the tip it will be evaluated to determine the most appropriate course of action. Potential actions include everything from contacting the alleged bully and victim and their respective parents, to informing the school guidance counselor, principal and Youth Relations deputy if the alleged bullying is taking place at school.
The service is not for acts of bullying in progress, which should be reported by calling 911 or CCSO’s non-emergency line at 239.252.9300, depending on the seriousness of the act.
Youth Relations Bureau deputies are also assigned to all CCPS schools, serving as a law enforcement presence to mentor students and deter crime, including bullying. In addition, teachers and deputies undergo training to recognize and address instances of bullying. Deputies also make sure students are aware that they can report crime anonymously and be eligible for an award by calling the Student Crime Stoppers phone number 1.800.780.8477.