Shawnee Mission unveils new bullying reporting tool on district iPads, Macs

Shawnee Mission Director of Safety and Security John Douglass introduced the new bullying reporting app at Monday's Board of Education meeting.
Shawnee Mission Director of Safety and Security John Douglass introduced the new bullying reporting app at Monday’s Board of Education meeting.

Shawnee Mission students will soon have the ability to anonymously report instances of bullying with a single click from the desktop of their district issued devices.

The district has for a time had an anonymous bullying incident reporting function placed within the websites for every single school. But administrators worried that having the reporting tool buried within the schools’ websites may have dissuaded students from filing reports. So this week, a bullying reporting tool shortcut icon will be pushed out to the iPads and Macbooks used by Shawnee Mission students.

When school administrators receive the report, they will be required to make a follow up investigation, and a new analytics effort will allow district administrators to see how long it is taking to follow up on individual reports.

“In my former line of work we used to say justice delayed is justice denied,” said district Director of Safety and Security John Douglass, who introduced the effort to the school board Monday. “And I think there’s a lot to that. So if in fact we are postponing something for an inordinate amount of time, this will give us the opportunity to know that, and see that and to deal with that.”

Douglass stressed that bullying takes a serious toll on its victims and can lead to decreased academic achievement that can have consequences long after it occurs.

“One of the things that is essential is the ability of a student to feel safe in their environment,” he said. “Bullying is an issue that has been going on for a long time, obviously since all of us were in school. But there has been a real light shown on it here lately.”

Douglass and SM North Associate Principal Brock Wenciker, who helped lead the effort to get the desktop reporting tool ready, say they expect the feature to be pushed to the district devices by the end of this week.