I won't soon forget the day my daughter came home from school and casually mentioned what had happened in her classroom that day: "After recess, we were all in our seats reading quietly when a boy who was not in our class -- Mom, he's not even in our grade, he's older than us! -- this boy walked right into our classroom and right up to Jason* and started punching him in the face."
At the time she told me this story, my daughter was in second grade.
I asked her, "What did your teacher do?"
"She didn't know what was happening at first, but she yelled for the boy to get out of her class, and followed him into the hall to bring him to the office."
"Did anybody know this big kid was going to go after Jason?"
"Well, some of us saw him at recess, he was teasing Jason and trying to fight. Jason was pretty scared, but when the bell rang we all just came inside."
As I watched my young girl tell me this story in her it's-just-what-happened-today tone, my heart broke a little as I hoped she wouldn't be exposed to too much of this at such a young age, to say nothing of the more severe violence which is so prevalent in schools worldwide.
Bullying in schools is a reality. Unfortunately, many students don't report bullying due to fear of retaliation. But now, those who witness bullying can be more empowered to speak up, thanks to SchoolTipline.
SchoolTipline** is a service which offers students an anonymous tip line, using text or going online to report bullying or other situations which compromise the safe school environment. SchoolTipline originated in Utah, and is used by over 300 schools nationwide, but currently only 35 schools in Utah, largely due to lack of funding.
Once again: Sweet Tooth Fairy to the rescue!
The Sweet Tooth Fairy is declaring a Cupcake War on Bullying in Utah. For every cupcake sold at any of the nine Sweet Tooth Fairy locations, 25 cents will be donated to Safe to Talk***, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds to support SchoolTipline. The Sweet Tooth Fairy herself told me she wants to see SchoolTipline available in every school in Utah.
You buy a cupcake, and 25 cents goes toward giving Utah students access to SchoolTipline, a tool used to empower kids to speak up when they see, or experience, bullying.
Simple? Yes. Everybody wins? YES.
Which flavor will you choose?
*Name has been changed
**Check out the SchoolTipline graphic to see exactly how the system works
***Please visit the Safe to Talk site to see how they're making an impact (I recommend reading the case studies)