Administrators at South Allegheny Middle School began the academic year with a new way of addressing bullying. Sprigeo is an online tool that allows students to anonymously report bullying that happens in their school. Introduced to 250 seventh and eighth graders on August 25th, the system received its first report that very night.
“It was an anonymous student and she gave the name of a girl who was making fun of her clothes in the lunchroom,” Principle Lisa Duval told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The incident was then handed over to the school’s guidance counselor. “She called her down and said ‘You need to think about the way you are talking about people. You may not think it’s hurtful but it is,’ ” Mrs. Duval said.
Sprigeo was created by Joe Bruzzese of Santa Barbara, Calif., former middle school teacher and author of “Parents Guide to Middle School Years.” Since its launch in November, the system has been used by 21 schools in seven states. South Allegheny is the first school in Pennsylvania to implement Sprigeo.
The key to the system’s success lies in the anonymity it provides users. Although many students are victims or witnesses of bullying, few come forward. “No one wants to be seen walking into the principal’s office,” Mrs. Duval said. By taking away the pressure of publicly outing a bully, administrators hope to gain more awareness and insight into these instances and to take steps towards creating a safer space.
Sprigeo is just one example of how technology can be used in ways other than classroom teaching tools to improve the lives of students. What do you think? Would you like to see Sprigeo used by your local school?