ANDERSON, MO.--- A new texting program is introduced to McDonald County schools today to prevent bullying and other issues. It's a great innovative way to try and stop any bullying or other problems in children's lives that they are scared to confront face to face. It's called "Talk About It."
"It gives kids an opportunity that might have an issue that they don't feel comfortable speaking with someone about it, to text it," said Ken Anders, Anderson Middle School Principal.
It was created by the Ozark Center a year ago. "Talk About It" is a free 24 hour service that allows students to tell an adult anonymously when they have problems that might need adult intervention. These issues include bullying, depression, family concerns, suicidal thoughts or anything else. The text gets sent to school officials and Ozark Center counselors. Since kids are more comfortable communicating through electronics, the Ozark Center thought bringing a product that's just for them is the best way.
"You can voice your opinion, and that's the most important message to send to these kids, is they now have a voice. And it's an anonymous voice, but they don't have to let it be anonymous. They can tell who they are, stand up for what they believe in and maybe make a difference," said Vicky Mieseler, Ozark Center.
Bullying is one of the biggest issues amongst children, and the principal at Anderson Middle School feels social media is the main reason for the increase.
"Because of all the social media, it's part of our culture. You know kids say things to each other on Facebook they wouldn't dare say face to face, and because of that, most of our bullying is because of that," said Anders.
This project has been around for only a year, but already has many success stories.
"They saved a couple of kids last year who were on the verge of suicide and because of this program, they saved them," said Anders.
Students at Anderson Middle School say they have witnessed bullying and believe this new program can help.
"It's a really big issue. There is a lot of it going around. I don't know why, but I hope we could stop this someday," said Hana Ricket, Student.
"I think it's great that people can say whatever they want to people and get help from anybody," said Ashley Rece, Student.
The "Talk About It" program has already been introduced to schools in Joplin and Carl Junction. For information on how to sign up for this program, click here.
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