Holmen High School has found a different way to help its students fight back against bullying, and it's one of only a handful of Wisconsin schools to do it.
Holmen began using a website called Sprigeo last year, along with about three other high schools across the state. The site allows students, parents and virtually anyone else file a report about a bullying incident. The entire process is online and anonymous, and school administrators follow up with each report.
Holmen senior Noah Risch already has a full plate this fall with a fast-paced football season and college planning – but the football field isn’t the only place he and his peers face opposition.
Though Risch said he’s never been bullied and hasn’t had a reason to use the site, he acknowledged it’s a useful tool for students who are afraid to confront the situation face to face.
“Students might not feel comfortable telling anyone, or even telling a teacher or parents or a friend,” he said. “Sprigeo is a good way to get their information to the principals and administrating of our school without [sharing your name].”
It's a fairly simple concept - you can find the link at the school's website, under the “Parents” tab. The following report allows you to fill in as much information as you want.
According to administrators, most reports filed come from high schools students, and the majority of them deal with a bullying incident that took place over social media. Holmen Assistant Principal Nick Weber said he sees on average one report a week.
So, does it work?
T: 4726 "I think it's helping,” said Weber. “I still think the best way for our school to combat bullying, and I think our staff does a wonderful job of it, is making relationships with kids, being proactive, educating."
The website's gotten about 40 hits in the last year it's been active, but Weber said it's just one of many tools to combat bullying.
Whether you're protected by football pads or a computer screen, Risch said perhaps the best way to fight bullying may be to have a good offensive guard watching your back.
"It helps a lot when you have good faculty members supporting you,” he said. “All the teachers here are great. If [students] wanted to talk to someone about bullying and not submit it anonymously, they could find any faculty member here at Holmen to report it to.”