Teachers and parents join 'Streetchat' app to fight bullying

Teachers and parents join 'Streetchat' app to fight bullying

HOUMA, LA (WVUE) - At Ellender Memorial High School, the writing is on the wall when it comes to bullying.

"You're looking at suspension or expulsion from school," Guidance Counselor John Navy explained. "There's zero tolerance when it comes to bullying - it's illegal to bully."

So naturally, Navy was concerned when he first heard about the app, "Streetchat." Users find their schools, and the app lets them post photos and messages anonymously.

"In these instances, technology is not good because these kids are using it as a dangerous tool. They're using it to get at one another in different schools or people within their school that they don't like," Navy said.

Navy thinks the application a new trend in cyber-bullying, and he says it's the perfect venue for that activity at Ellender and other schools throughout the bayou area.

Even teachers ended up as targets.

"It's just such a hateful thing for people to do anonymously," said Ellender Principal Blaise Pelligrin. "It's already a cowardly thing to bully someone else, but when you can do it without knowing who it is, it's even worse."

So to fight that, Pelligrin says parents and teachers signed up for Streetchat.

"Got a great idea from one of the other principals, he said to get your parents to take it over," Pelligrin said. "Instead of a negative website where kids are doing things to make people feel bad, build up the positive things going on in the school."

School officials noticed a difference immediately. New posts show the students did too. One features the caption, "Streetchat has a virus. Y'all's parents."

"We even got our student council, our band, some of our bigger organizations to help take it over - highlight the positive," Pelligrin said.

But Navy and school officials are remaining vigilant.

"We're asking kids who may know who is posting this stuff to let us know," Navy said. "We're asking parents to be proactive, get on their kids about it. Talk to them."

Navy says that's because as technology advances, the school knows new avenues for cyber-bullying will still pop up.

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