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Bullied? Try‘Blackhawk Hotline’
Number established to battle student issues

by Susan Bromley

January 18, 2012

Brandon Twp.- 1-248-660-0138.

This is the number Brandon High School students can call, anonymously, if they are being bullied, have witnessed bullying of others, or have other concerns over issues including theft, safety, or substance abuse.

BHS Assistant Principal Mike Tucker established what will now be known as the "Blackhawk Hotline" with the help of teacher Andrew Spiece and it was put into effect this week. Students are encouraged to call or text 248-660-0138, which will put them directly to Google Voice. Tucker will receive the voicemails and texts immediately and investigate all claims and concerns.

"Students will no longer have the fear of other students knowing they came into the office," said Tucker. "I may ask a student for more information (on a situation), but I won't ask for their name."

The program is modeled after one implemented at Flushing High School in December. In the first week of having a hotline number, Flushing officials received 40 text messages, Tucker said, some legitimate and some false. However, the school's hotline now averages about 2-3 calls per day, all legitimate concerns.

Tucker hopes to use the hotline as another tool to put an end to bullying. Students may use the hotline before or after school, between classes or in class with a teacher's permission. If Tucker receives calls that names a victim or an aggressor, he will contact both.

"Sometimes kids won't reach out for help and it takes a friend to make that first step for them," he noted. "If the person being bullied doesn't feel comfortable talking, I can also go directly to the aggressor. Sometimes just talking to a student about the behavior sheds light that it is not appropriate. Sometimes a 5-minute conversation can be very powerful if done correctly."

Blackhawk Hotline, 248-660-0138.