Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay hosted a press conference today promoting a program to stop bullying in Hillsborough county schools. Near Lowry Park Zoo, representatives of participating organizations exhibited a bench from their new campaign.
Crimestoppers has partnered with the outdoor bench advertising company Metrobench to promote the Hillsborough County’s Bully Buster Program. Using bus bench advertising, this cooperative effort hopes to stop bullying in its tracks. Funding was made possible by a grant from the Crime Stoppers Trust Fund Program, which is managed by the Office of the Attorney General, Bill McCollum, and a donation from Metrobench, according to Crime Stoppers. Coordinator Lisa Haber.Haber, says that funding comes from the Crime Stoppers trust fund for 25 benches, which was matched by Metrobench who donated 25 benches.
According to Hillsborough County Commissioner Rose Ferlita, Jan MacCleod was key in getting funding for the program. McCleod is a criminal justice specialist for the Hillsborough Board of County Commissions.
This program acts as a means to address cyber bullying, which has led some young teens to receive threats, and has troubled others enough to lead them to commit suicide. According to iSafe.org, 42% of kids have been bullied while online. One in four have had it happen more than once. Hillsborough County Commissioner Rose Ferlita talks about how students can respond anonymously through calls and text messaging through the program.
Lisa Haber says that Crime Stoppers already has benches all over the community that show the various programs that they promote using bus bench crime prevention.
Haber says she has already received calls from bully busters, but maintains the privacy of the specific cases.