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Waynesboro Public Schools Using Smartphone App to Address Bullying

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WAYNESBORO, Va. (WVIR) - Waynesboro Public Schools (WPS) has enrolled in STOPit, a smartphone app that allows parents, teachers, and students to anonymously report bullying and other unsafe situations.

Some students at Waynesboro High School (WHS) say they already feel safer in the classroom because of it.

“It's anonymous, so you don't really know who it is so no one's going to judge you," said student Jamey Archie.

WPS rolled out the app at the beginning of September. Administrators say they hope STOPit not only gives students an easy way to report inappropriate behavior, but that it also deters it.

"I want us to be more proactive than reactive," WHS Principal Tim Teachey said. "Some of the bullying that may be going on, and some of the cries for help that kids may be wanting to communicate, it gives them an avenue to do that."

Administrators can manage and respond to reports of cyberbullying, violence, self-harm, and others through a back-end system called document it.

"We probably get two to three to five reports a day that myself and two assistant principals will look at and respond to that are legit," said the principal.

Since rolling out the app, administrators got some reports from students who didn't take STOPit seriously: "They send us little funny things, like Mr. G. gives too much homework," Teachey said.

But they've helped other students out of difficult situations: "We had a young man who asked, ‘I just need someone to talk to.’ That was the original communication, and so from that we were able to help this young man get in contact with some of the City Community Services," Teachey said.

Sophomore Jamey Archie is encouraging those who don't have the app to download it.

"Once you're comfortable with just one person knowing, and then it helps them more to open up, and then helps them fix their problems," she said.

Students at all Waynesboro elementary schools and Kate Collins Middle School are also using the app.

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