A graduate of the same South Hadley high school where Phoebe Prince’s death sparked a national debate about schoolyard bullying has taken up her cause, creating powerful new software to help bullying victims report attacks and give officials tools to track responses.
'Our product was a direct result of the terrible tragedy that happened to Phoebe Prince,' Edward Wall, a South Hadley High School graduate. told the press.
Founder of Earshot Technologies, Wall explained that the new anti-bullying software, which costs about $2,200, provides a Web-based tool for parents and students to anonymously report incidences of bullying.
It also provides schools with a tracking and record-keeping system for responses to the reports. The product, called Behavior Systems, comes seven months after Prince, a 15-year-old freshman at South Hadley High School, committed suicide after months of bullying.
Wall, a 40-year-old entrepreneur and father of three whose own father taught at the high school for 30 years, is providing the software to South Hadley school officials for free.
William Evans, an assistant principal at South Hadley High School, said Wall’s software has promise.
'Ed’s program was the obvious choice, because he’s a local business guy, he offered it to us for free and he’s developing the program and we’re there with him on the ground floor,' Evans said.
But Barbara Coloroso, a bullying expert who was recruited to train South Hadley school officials and parents after Phoebe's death, said software cannot substitute for human contact.
'These software tools can be helpful, but students really need someone they can talk to and trust,' she said. 'Schools can’t just rely on these tools. The real need is for someone fully trained on bullying that kids and parents can talk to about all aspects of abuse.'