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News Conference

September 20, 2011

DA Ashley Rich, Mr. William Gray & Dr. Roy Nichols

District Attorney Ashley Rich has set up a program called BullyBlocker. The program is available to all students, parents and faculty of Mobile County Public Schools. As we know bullying has always been a part of the school experience. As long as there are kids who are perceived as "different" and those who wish to exploit those differences, it will remain a problem. And unfortunately, with the advent of social media, there are new cyber "playgrounds" on which these bullies can target their prey.

Cyberbullying is a type of bullying that, until recently, was relatively unreported. It mostly occurs over the phone through text messages, or on the computer through harassing emails, media use such as posting photos to mock or digitally manipulating them or harassment on social networking profiles. This means it is well outside the range of the school system for intervention, and it largely escapes the attention of parents and others who might be willing and able to help. Sometime kids wait until the last minute, and sometime by then it's too late. It is the sole responsibility of the affected student, parent or guardian of the affected student to report the harassment.

When reacting a bully is done the wrong way, it can lead to problems later in life. Nearly 60 percent will have at least one crime by the age of 24. Out of those, 40 percent will have three or more convictions by the age of 24. One of the things we are trying to do is to keep these kids on the right track, so we don't see them again in the court system. But now, the Mobile County District Attorney's office and the Mobile County Public Schools System are helping the helpless fight back with a couple of innovative programs aimed to helping individual schools in Mobile County, such as students who attend Bernice J. Causey Middle, Dawes Intermediate and Hutchens Elementary School which are in precinct 65.

If students find themselves uncomfortable at the idea of using the BullyBlocker program, there are other avenues of finding help, there are many nonprofits organizations and programs in the area deal with school bullying. One route is dialing 211, in doing so you will reach the United Way, which is a community resource for people in need of assistance. If someone has an issue and doesn't know what group could help find a solution, the United Way can direct the caller to someone in the community who can help. People helping people. This is one of the mean reasons why BullyBlocker is so effective in precinct 65. Make a pledge today to become a BullyBlocker in your neighborhood.

To leave an anonymous tip, text the word "bully blocker" to 444999 whether you are a victim or just know of a bullying that's happening.

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