Eau Claire community concerned about cyberbullying

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The Eau Claire community is hoping to put an end to cyberbullying in the schools. On Monday, the Women’s Giving Circle hosted a free event on how to prevent and handle cyberbullying situations.

"We want our student to be safe, we want them to be respected, we want them to respect other people,” said Eau Claire Area School District Superintendent, Dr. Mary Ann Hardebeck.

The Eau Claire Area School District is reminding students and parents about how to conduct themselves online. "What we are seeing today is there was more and more online misbehavior and misconduct, not only among students but among adults as well and so we just want to make sure our students are safe and if they do feel threatened or bullied in anyway, they know what to do and their parents know what to do,” Hardebeck.

The event hosted speakers who shared with parents about the misuse of technology, including bullying or any other inappropriate behavior. "I think it begins with conversations at home and parents have to know what sites their students are accessing, how they are responding to messages that they get and they need to know who they are communicating with online,” Hardebeck said.

The schools are hoping to spread a positive message to keep schools focused on learning. "We always want our students to feel safe, we want them to feel supported and we want them to feel respected and if any of those things are not taking place we want students to know that they can go to a trusted adult and someone will help them,” Hardebeck said.

The event was free to attend but any donations went to help with cyberbullying prevention in the Eau Claire community.

Also happening on Monday, the Gilman School District is taking a different approach to help report bullying within its schools through a new app, known as STOPIT.

The school district launched the new app today to help students anonymously report bullying. "We want to empower our students how they can stand up for themselves as well as each other; through STOPIT students have the opportunity to report inappropriate behavior, any type of bullying, online behavior that's inappropriate,” said Jon Hess, the Gilman Schools 5-12 principal.

On Monday, all students at the Gilman school district downloaded the app on their Chromebook and were also able to download the stop-it app on their smart phones.