CINCINNATI -- Reds Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench vividly remembers the two boys who bullied him 54 years ago as an eighth grader, and now he wants to help schoolchildren face their own bullies.
On Thursday morning, Bench’s new company moblWorks unveiled the Smithfield School App to help stop bullying in schools nationwide. About 5,000 schools will get the app nationwide for a small monthly fee, while it will be free for parents and students to download and use.
“This is the app needed for schools, teachers, parents and students to communicate about everything school-related. The special features can send alerts to warn about school closings and serious incidents," Bench said in a news release. “It also offers instant reporting of bullying, cyber bullying and other threats.”
The Smithfield School App, named for its sponsor Smithfield Foods, will send push notifications to alert school communities about delays and closings caused by weather and facility problems. In case of an incident, factual and accurate information will be sent in real time directly to parents, students and teachers.
The incident reporting feature puts the power in the student’s hands to report bullying, crimes, threats, weapons, mental health issues and much more.
"There is way too much bullying going on in schools these days and cyber bullying is the No. 3 cause of teen suicide in our country," Bench said in a news release. "I have schoolage kids, and I want every child protected as much as possible.”