Blackboard announced a new, free service for students to engage in two-way text interactions to confidentially notify school officials of bullying or issues regarding school safety.
The TipTxt service, in a partnership with the National PTA, will be offered to all K-12 schools and districts countrywide. The service is a tip line that enables confidential text conversations between students and school officials, opening a line of communication on the challenges of bullying and similar issues such as abuse, self-esteem or confidence concerns.
The new TipTxt service takes advantage of the primary means of communication utilized by young people today while eliminating the stress that often goes along with face-to-face interaction. The hope is that by engaging young people in a confidential manner, officials can provide the necessary resources, advice or follow-up efforts on a more individualized basis.
Schools participating in the initial pilot will receive access to the service in the form of a TipTxt mailbox along with implementation and support services. The TipTxt service includes the cost of each school’s text messages, meaning Schools need only purchase a dedicated TipTxt line to activate the service – an overhead of cost of roughly $125 per year.
The National PTA reports that more than 3 million students nationwide succumb to bullying each year, with an additional 4 million students participating in bullying activities. The initiative with Blackboard is leveraging a tool that a vast majority of students already possess, their mobile phones.