Saturday, March 21, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           
Contact: Marla Kilfoyle & Melissa Tomlinson
Email: contact.batmanager@gmail.com

Badass Teachers Association Applauds Facebook for New Suicide Prevention Feature

March 21, 2015 The Badass Teachers Association (BATs) applauds facebook for creating its new suicide prevention feature which enables facebook users who see posts that appear to express suicidal thoughts to refer them for potential help from professional social workers. BATs learned about the feature via Huffington Post:
  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/25/facebook-suicide-prevention_n_6754106.html

BATs is a grassroots public education advocacy group on facebook with over 54,000 users, mostly public school teachers. Dozens of volunteers moderate discussions in over 50 BATs groups.  In addition to sharing information and organizing political action, members of BATs commonly post about feeling defeated, worn down, stressed, anxious, and scared.

“Sometimes, it’s clear that one of our members is in real trouble,” said Michelle Murphy Ramey, a BATs moderator.

Teachers are facing severe stress in the midst of punitive education policies disguised as “accountability measures”. BATs previously had established its own protocol for posts that appeared concerning. Creating a private group called “The Haven,” BATs provided a forum for beleaguered teachers to openly share their stories with sympathetic, supportive peers.

“Immediately after we launched BATs, we noticed a category of posts that were deeply troubling. These teachers expressed hopelessness and despair beyond the usual stress, and they needed help,” said Michelle. “Many times, just being able to tell their story to understanding peers was enough, but not always.”

 “As our community has grown so fast via Facebook, we see that sometimes our members need professional support or crisis intervention,” said BATs General Manager, Marla Kilfoyle. “We are grateful that Facebook is taking this important step in suicide prevention.”

                BATs launched as a Facebook group in June, 2013 under the banner, “This is for every teacher who refuses to be blamed for the failure of our society to erase poverty and inequality, and refuses to accept assessments, tests and evaluations imposed by those who have contempt for real teaching and learning.”

Additional information is available at http://badassteachers.blogspot.com and www.badassteachers.org. The Facebook groups are not open to the public. Spokespersons are available in every state and may be reached by emailing Marla Kilfoyle or Melissa Tomlinson at contact.batmanager@gmail.com.

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