FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – OCT. 5, 2017
Seattle Public Schools: Kim Schmanke, 206-252-0203 (desk), firstname.lastname@example.org
iCanHelpline.org: Anne Collier, 650-458-7948, email@example.com
Google: Sam Leeds, 415-342-9923, firstname.lastname@example.org
TO MARK NATIONAL BULLYING PREVENTION MONTH, SEATTLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND ICANHELPLINE PARTNER TO REDUCE CYBERBULLYING
Through a Google grant, iCanHelpline.org, the new social media helpline for schools, will provide Seattle Schools with help in addressing online harassment
SEATTLE—[October 5, 2017]——As part of National Bullying Prevention Month, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and iCanHelpline.org today announced the launch of a year-long pilot program and partnership to provide schools another tool to address online harassment, intimidation and bullying of students.
This pilot is made possible through a Google grant, which will give 40+ SPS middle and high schools access to email or call the helpline toll-free for assistance with social media in schools, specifically navigating apps and services, reporting abuse, and addressing harassment, cyberbullying, and other harmful content.
School and district personnel will receive:
- Toll-free and email access to help when social media incidents happen
- Research-based social media advice for smart, restorative incident response
- Help with navigating apps, reporting abuse and working with students to resolve cyberbullying problems on social media
- Assistance through the helpline’s contacts at Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Kik, Tumblr and other apps that are popular with students.
“We want our schools to be safe places that foster positive change and growth for all of our young people,” said Tina Meade, SPS student civil rights compliance officer. “It is part of all of our responsibility, as educators, parents and community members, to help students learn how to interact with each other with respect and civility, and how to build resiliency in the face of adversity.”
The pilot program is part of an integrated district approach to keeping students safe from harassment, intimidation and bullying.
“With 92 percent of US teens online daily, 24 percent ‘almost constantly,’ and about a third having experienced cyberbullying, schools need and deserve help when problems turn up in social media,” said iCanHelpline founder Anne Collier. “The helpline is social media intelligence and take-down help for school incident response.”
Google has supported the development of iCanHelpline as a resource for schools, including financial support of the nonprofit’s initial pilot, and its statewide deployment throughout California last year.
“We all use the web to learn, play, and communicate, and students are no exception,” said Darcy Nothnagle, head of external affairs for the NW at Google. “We’re proud to support iCanHelpline as a resource for Seattle schools to help keep kids safe online.”
Access to iCanHelpline.org is limited to school or district staff. Links to emergency and specialized help services and school social media resources are available to everyone, 24/7, at iCanHelpline.org by clicking on “Resources” on the home page. The service is made possible through the helpline’s partnerships with social media companies. For more information, visit the SPS website post on the district’s multi-tiered approach to supporting students in this area.
About TNSC: iCanHelpline.org is a project of The Net Safety Collaborative, a Seattle-based national 501c3 nonprofit organization that aims to increase students’ safety by helping schools delete cyberbullying and grow kindness online and offline. TNSC collaborates with California-based national nonprofit #ICANHELP (icanhelpdeletenegativity.org) to grow students’ digital leadership. iCanHelpline, which was recognized in 2016 by the National School Boards Association as part of its Ed Tech Innovation Showcase, was piloted with independent evaluation in 2015-’16 with support from Facebook, Google, Snapchat, Twitter, Yahoo and Digital Trust Foundation.
About Google: Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Google has over 2,900 employees in Washington state in offices in Seattle and Kirkland; since 2011, Google has awarded more than $20 million to nonprofits and schools in Washington state. In 2016, Google generated $8.91B in economic impact for Washington businesses, website publishers and nonprofits and provided $19.7M in free advertising to Washington state nonprofits.