BAY COUNTY, Fla. - Bay District Schools launched a new in-house program for local students wishing to report any bullying or harrasment.
'Students Accounting For Everyone,' or 'SAFE' for short, replaced FriendWatch, the previous anonymous reporting platform of the school district.
The new system will have more resources available to the students such as the option to provide contact information and the ability to communicate with the administrators through a unique code login.
School officials said SAFE offers bullied and harassed students the help that they need.
"Often times I think kids when they are really being bullied have a hard time communicating that to an adult for fear of retaliation or making the bullying potentially worse. Or even bystanders in this way can see bullying go on and say look I saw this going on in the hall after 3rd period, the student that was being bullied and they can give that students name," explained Sarah Whaler, Bay District Schools student placement options coordinator.
Another way the schools are helping the students is through mental health assistance which is more important than ever in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.
"A lot of the misconceptions were getting with administrators and teachers in the community is that these are bad kids. What we're failing to do is build that relationship with the kids and talk about really where they are, what's happening to them, and what's causing them to act out the way that they are acting so I think that's a big piece. We just need to go back to how are you, what's going on instead of making assumptions, taking that proactive approach," emphasized Cheri Wroblewski, an administrator with the Bay District Schools mental health team.
Bay District Schools urge any student struggling with mental health issues or bullying to get help through SAFE anonymous reporting or counselors available at the schools.
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