Bridgeport unveils new bullying hotline

BRIDGEPORT – Bullying. Drug abuse. Gang activities. Sexual harassment.

Those are four things that teenagers and their parents come across during a normal day’s activities.

However, students in the Bridgeport Exempted Village School District now have a way to report those type of activities anonymously.

Superintendent Ted Downing announced Thursday afternoon that the district was implementing a school hotline which will allow students, parents, staff and community members to report potential threats, or any other issues, that may be harmful to a student, or students in the school district.

“This is important for those students and parents residing in our school district,” Downing said. “These calls are all anonymous. They will ring right to me, and if I’m not available, they will ring to our high school principal, Rob Zitzelsberger.”

He said whether the calls are real or a prank, the district will have a way of looking into the possible actions.

The number to call in case of a possible incident is (855) 617-0288. The caller ID is not captured on the call to protect the identity of the caller, who is not required to leave their name or any other information they do not wish to leave.

The call is free to the caller and can be made from any phone at any time. Once the message is left, it is immediately transmitted to the superintendent or high school principal.

“A caller doesn’t have to worry about retribution or anything like that because no one, not even myself, will now where the call came from,” Downing added. “No matter what grade level the threat is at, we’ll be able to get the information to the right staff member and start an investigation.”

Downing said while Bridgeport hasn’t had any issues, the state of Ohio wants schools to be “more pro-active.”

He noted that the board of education voted to go ahead and take part in this plan.

“The hotline number will also be published on our web site,” he added.

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