INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Public Schools is taking a new approach to addressing bullying issues within its schools.
Fredrick Douglass School 19, a K-8 school, is using a new software program to allow students to anonymously report how they’re feeling that day.
Former Indianapolis Colt Marlin Jackson said, “Now we can get into the system and release what’s inside us, and leaders will quickly emerge.” .
The program and game software were created by Mr. Jackson’s foundation, Building Dreams.
“This platform anonymously tells us what’s going on in their lives, so we’re equipped as staff to address their situation,” Jackson said.
Just like in soccer, kids can throw flags for themselves and their peers to share what they’re working on.
“It helps support students through social-emotional learning,” Jackson said.
Leaders will be notified when a flag is thrown so they can address the issue.
“There is no time delay. I am already ahead of the curve by thinking about how I can take the next steps to help them get through what is going on right now. ” said Brian Hare, 19th School Climate and Culture Department Chair.
The goal is to foster a safer and more respectful school environment while giving each student a voice.
Over the past few months, more than 240 flags have been thrown, more than 25 of which were for physical abuse.
This problem is not unique to Frederick Douglass. Indiana schools reported an increase in bullying incidents during the 2022-23 school year, according to numbers released in August.
Schools reported 5,460 bullying incidents last year, an increase of 7% from the previous year.
The state breakdown is as follows:
- 2,060 oral incidents
- 1,656 physical accidents
- 619 social or relationship events
- 529 electronic or written incidents
- 597 complex cases
Principal Frederick Douglass said he was working hard to combat the issue.
Principal Daria Parham said: “Bullying is definitely an issue. Sometimes it’s obvious and sometimes it happens quietly.”
IPS says it has received inquiries about the program from other schools and hopes to roll it out at other schools soon.
Click here to learn more about the Building Dreams Flag feature.