Fresno Co schools unveil new anti-bullying app

FRESNO, Calif.

A smartphone app that allows students to anonymously report an incident to school staff.

See it, text it, send it.

That's the message behind a new smartphone app designed by the Silicon Valley company Resiligence.

Starting this month, 36 Fresno County campuses in eight school districts will launch TipNow, a unique mobile-based reporting system that allows parents, students and staff to send information anonymously to put bullying, theft, drug use and other suspicious behaviors to an end.

"We're real excited about what this does for us. It gives us in a school of a thousand kids, two thousand new eyes on what's going on and a chance to notify us of what's taking place," Fresno County Superintendent Larry Powell said.

Fresno State is already using the app and just recently it helped officials at College of the Sequoias track down a dangerous weapon a student brought to campus.

"Somebody saw a gun in a backpack of a student and they reported it on TipNow and the security, in fact the chief of police acted on it and communicated to find out where this person was," Resiligence Inc. CEO Cyril Rayan said.

It led them to a 21-year-old student and they made an arrest before anyone got hurt.

It's the same technology the company is now offering K-12 schools for free as part of year-long pilot program.

"The idea is simple. People download the apps on their smart phones. It could be students, parents staff and if they see something suspicious they can use the app to send the information to security or school administration," Rayan said.

Washington Colony Unified Superintendent Craig Bowden was one of the first district officials to jump on the offer and was surprised just a few others signed up.

"One of the key things that drew us to this is often times at school, kids won't come to us face-to-face and say anything for fear of retaliation from whomever is bullying them or giving them some trouble," Bowden said. "So what this does for us is allow that access to the kids and the kids can do it from the privacy of wherever they are."

A new tool empowering students to speak up and make their schools safer.

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