MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Now that students are back in school, you may start to hear about bullying in the classroom.
Did you know Mobile County tax dollars pay for a program designed to put a stop to the problem? It’s called Bully Blocker.
Stopping a bully can be difficult, but a simple text message could get authorities attention. You could have an advocate in the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office, working to help stop the problem.
"We contact the school. We work directly with the school on how can it be addressed. Is this bullying? Is it not bullying? How can we keep these children apart so that everybody can have a calm down period?” said Ann Sirmon.
Sirmon is the program's coordinator and works in the Mobile County District Attorney’s office. She said her office received at least three texts a week last year from concerned parents and students.
Sirmon said not every case is considered to be bullying.
"The true definition of bullying is when someone does something hurtful or hateful to someone over a long period of time. It’s a repeated offense of the physical verbal relationship, even the cyber bullying when someone does something hurtful,” said Sirmon.
Here’s how it works. Text the word “BullyBlocker”, with no spaces, to 839863. It will ask you a series of questions, and the DA’s office will follow up on your inquiry.
If you don't have an ongoing problem with a bully, but still want some help, the DA’s office can help you too. Sirmon said people often turn to her office when they have run out of options.
"If they just want to know what are some measures or what can I do to prevent it in case it's not a bad bullying situation. Or it could be possibly occurring later on-how can I prevent it,” said Sirmon.
Some families said bullying is at an all time high.
"You know, I don't know if it's lack of discipline or something of that degree because it just seems it is out of control,” said Denise Bodiford.
The DA’s office said a bully is five time more likely to become a criminal later in life. It hopes this program will cut those chances.
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