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CISD Launches New Two-Way Hotline for Students

After learning this fall that the hotlines that students in grades 5-12 had been using since 2012 to communicate with their school counselors were being discontinued by the vendor, Carroll ISD staff went to work to identify a solution to maintain two-way communication with students in crisis or reporting bullying.

School officials say they are excited to roll out a new two-way communication tool, STOPit, at the intermediate, middle and high school campuses. STOPit is the nation’s leading anonymous reporting system that teaches and empowers individuals to recognize and anonymously report safety, misconduct, and compliance concerns before they escalate into a crisis.

STOPit has been chosen by our school counselors to replace the student hotlines numbers the district has utilized for two-way communication with students in crisis. In addition, the new app will mean the district can streamline its anonymous communication systems from three different systems (Student Hotlines, Dragon Tip Line and Let’s Talk) down to just two: Stopit and Let’s Talk.

David’s Law was passed and signed into Texas State law on September 1, 2017, requiring all Texas school districts to provide a way for students to anonymously report cyberbullying. However, Carroll ISD had already been offering student hotlines for students in grades 5-12 for nearly a decade. The student hotlines were phone numbers that students could text and anonymously communicate with their campus counselors, but the parent company who provided the hotline services discontinued that product this fall.

The school counselors researched and met with multiple vendors and tip line providers, and identified STOPit as the most fitting program for Carroll ISD’s needs. The district was also able to receive a prorated refund from the company of the discontinued product, and put those funds toward the new STOPit services. The system costs about $1 per student per year. Over 6,000 K-12 schools, colleges & universities, workplaces, and public safety & government organizations use STOPit resulting in tens of thousands of students and adults getting the help, and for many, saving their life or the lives of others.

“Carroll ISD 6-12 campus administrators and counselors are excited to launch the STOPit App to support students by addressing and preventing pervasive issues such as bullying, cyberbullying, self-harm, and any issue which can negatively impact the learning environment,” said Carroll’s Counselor Coordinator Tammy Pulse. “STOPit gives administrators powerful investigative tools – such as real-time alerts, built-in reports, and the ability to communicate directly with incident submitters – so that we can address and resolve issues quickly.”

In order to effectively streamline the communication services for students through the STOPit mobile app, the district will be phasing out the Dragon Tip Line, currently available on the Dragon Mobile App. Let’s Talk will remain available on the campus and district websites for students, parents, staff and the community to build trust and open the lines of communication with the district.

In September 2018, the district’s #SAFEdragon program rolled out a series of “We Are Listening” posters for students to show the three ways they were able to communicate with the district. These posters hang in hallways, commons areas and in every classroom in our intermediate, middle and high schools. The posters will soon be updated to reflect the methods of two-way communication for students going forward: STOPit and Let’s Talk.

STOPit allows students to report anonymously via mobile app, web, or phone hotline service, and it is 100% anonymous, 100% of the time. Campus counselors and administrators will be rolling out STOPit on their campuses, familiarizing students with the new hotline platform, which is already available for student use.

“It’s our priority to meet the needs of all students and to support their social and emotional needs,” said Pulse.

FULL STORY

LPD Rolls Out An ‘App’ortunity, For Residents

 
LOCKPORT — It isn’t Police Chief Steve Abbott’s 6-foot-plus frame that gives him vision of a better future for policing and community involvement, it’s just what’s in his heart and on his mind.

The retired lieutenant and current chief at Lockport Police Department recently purchased a new “app” for the department, called STOPit, that allows anyone with a computer or phone to send LPD anonymous messages, photos and videos of suspicious things they see in their neighborhood. The app can be downloaded free of charge.

“We’ve had a lot of public meetings recently out in the parks and a lot of times what you see and hear from a lot of people is they want to be involved, but they don’t want to be involved,” Abbott said. “What I mean is, they don’t want their name involved or they don’t want to give a statement and that really is a hindrance to us.

“It should be a partnership with the community and residents because it’s all about safety and quality of life. I’m looking for anything and everything that can help us interact with the public better, do our jobs safer and do our jobs with the least amount of force.”

Abbott said the app came to his attention about a month ago, though in a different form, as a “Stop Bullying” app for schools.

“I saw that and said to myself, ‘Wow, that really has some law enforcement applications,’ so I reached out to the company, which is based in New Jersey, and the gentleman I spoke with said, ‘We’re getting a lot of calls from law enforcement.’”

Abbott said he played around with the computer software application and found it a worthy investment, especially since the $3,000 cost could come directly out of LPD’s budget.

“I had it for a week and I then made the decision to pilot the program for a year and if it works out, we’ll put it in the budget next year and we’ll keep going with it,” Abbott said. 

Only three LPD administrators currently have access to information sent to the app: Abbott, Patrol Capt. Kendra DiTullio and Capt. Anthony Palumbo, chief of detectives.

“Just because someone makes an accusation, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything. It just gives you a reasonable suspicion to watch an area,” Abbott said. “It’s a useful tool, but it’s not something you would use if you have an immediate need. If you have an immediate need … call 911.”

STOPit has the potential to empower citizens while helping the police do their job, according to Abbott.

“There’s a lot of people who want to help who just don’t want their name involved,” he said. “There are times when it’s unavoidable, but if we can work in conjunction with the district attorney’s office to make arrests based on evidence that’s sent to us like this, I’m all for that.”

To download the app, go the LPD’s Facebook page and scroll down.

FULL STORY

PVUSD Collaborates With STOPit To Empower And Protect Students

Press release from Pajaro Valley Unified School District:

Sept. 16, 2020

Pajaro Valley Unified School District has enrolled with STOPit, the leading technology platform for schools that deters and controls harmful or inappropriate conduct. STOPit empowers students and families with an easy app to safely and anonymously report anything of concern to school officials – from cyberbullying to threats of violence or self-harm.

STOPit empowers students to stand up for themselves and others while giving our schools the insight we need to keep students safe. STOPit empowers students with a voice and the ability to get help for themselves or their peers.

With STOPit, students or families can submit anonymous reports containing text, photos, or video. Administrators are then able to manage incidents in a backend management system called STOPit Admin. STOPit Admin provides efficient and powerful investigative tools to our staff, including the ability to message with the reporter, which will allow us to address issues instantly.

“As young people continue to engage more with technology every day, we are taking a proactive step to empower our students to become upstanders in our community in the way that they feel most comfortable. We believe our adoption of STOPit is an important step in our continued effort to provide a positive school climate and a safe learning environment for our students,” stated Dr. Michelle Rodriguez, Superintendent of Schools.

STOPit does more than just help schools address incidents and mitigate risk. STOPit will also help us go beyond reacting to bullying and inappropriate behavior, and instead start deterring it.

PVUSD’s STOPit program is in effect as of Monday, September 14, 2020. Students and families are encouraged to download free app via iTunes or Google Play. A site-specific access code is needed to make a report on the STOPit app and school site administration will communicate with families with this information and additional details on this useful tool.

FULL STORY

WPD Launches New App For Middle, High School Students

Weatherford Police Department School Resource Officer Justin Bushong is excited to announce he will be launching a new app for the Weatherford Middle School and the Weatherford High School.

Officer Bushong first spoke of the app at last week’s Rotary meeting, which was featured in the Thursday, August 13, Weatherford Daily News online edition.

The app, STOPit, allows students to report incidents to school officials. These incidents can be reported in an anonymous manner, if they wish, to protect the student.

Incidents to report include bullying or on-line bullying, drug usage at school as well as reporting if a fellow student needs help with mental health. The app can be used to submit questions to the School Resource Officer to get to know the officer better, just like the DARE box in fifth grade.

The app also will allow the schools to send students updates with the school, such as school closings and other special events. The app can be found in the Apple and Android stores and is a free app to download.

Officer Bushong has placed flyers in each of the schools as well as cards at the front desk. The cards will have directions on how to log onto the school’s account. Anyone with questions may contact Officer Bushong.

FULL STORY

STOPit Solutions Launches SafeScreen COVID-19 Health Reporting System

HOLMDEL, N.J., Sept. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — STOPit Solutions, one of the nation’s leading experts in safety technologies and compliance solutions that help create inclusive, connected, and healthy learning and working cultures, announced today the launch of its SafeScreen COVID-19 Health Reporting System.

“We are excited to share this comprehensive solution with schools, universities, and workplaces nationwide”, said Tim Makris, CEO of STOPit Solutions. SafeScreen is a HIPAA compliant web-based application that uses CDC-NIH guidelines (and your custom questions) to instantly screen-out and alert you of individuals who may have been exposed to or displaying symptoms of COVID-19 BEFORE they enter your school, workplace, or organization.

Each day users receive a system generated email or text requesting that they take the health screener. The user then signs in, completes the screener and instantly is informed if they are “clear to enter” or “do not enter”. If they are clear, they receive a color-coded “entry pass” to display as they enter school or work. If they receive a “do not enter” pass, then the system administrator is notified and reaches out, via our 2-way chat feature or phone, to assess the situation and provide next steps. The entire screening process takes less than a minute to complete each day.

Given the information being shared, privacy and data protection are of paramount importance to STOPit. All data is instantly and securely stored in the cloud using Amazon’s AWS cloud infrastructure and meets a broad set of international privacy and compliance standards. Additionally, the SafeScreen program is HIPAA-compliant, meaning all data collected has both administrative and technical safeguards to protect against inappropriate access and/or disclosures. Finally, all data is owned and managed by the school, workplace, or organization ensuring minimal visibility by only those authorized to manage the program.

Setup and launch of the system takes about 1-4 days depending on the size of your organization. Additionally, the program can support multiple locations, teams, and tens of thousands of workers. STOPit Solutions wants all schools and businesses to be able to afford to use the program, therefore SafeScreen pricing starts at $1,250 annually for an average size school or workplace and increases based on the total number of students or employees expected to use the system.

To learn more about SafeScreen and get a demonstration of its effectiveness, please:

About STOPit Solutions
STOPit Solutions provides the nation’s leading anonymous reporting system that teaches how to identify and get help for individuals displaying violent, unsafe, or harmful behaviors. Over 6,000 schools, workplaces, and other organizations use STOPit to proactively maintain a safe, healthy climate and get individuals the help they need, when they need it before an incident escalates to a crisis. This results in thousands of successful interventions every year – including lives being saved. Visit stopitsolutions.com to learn more.

An Open Letter on Recent Events from STOPit Solutions CEO Tim Makris

To Our Team, Customers, Business Partners, and Investors:

Once again, the black community is living and feeling the pain of injustice. I am disgusted and angry. And as witnessed in countless news reports and on social media, this anger is being expressed by millions who care about this social injustice and racism. The murder of George Floyd is the latest case of why our voices and actions are needed to create a just and equal society. Our hope is you join in making a difference where you live – in your community and in your home.

Despite some progress, Black Americans continue to be denied rights, respect, and dignity that most take for granted. Racism is the ugly core and enabler of these denials. As long as it exists, we will not be able to progress to true freedom, justice, and equality. At STOPit Solutions, we want you … our team members, customers, partners, and investors … to know that we are an organization built on diversity and inclusion. We want you to know that these fundamentals are the cornerstone of our values and principles. And that we will always protect you when threatened, including, and re-stating, having zero tolerance toward racism, injustice, and hatred.

Recently our team got together and discussed the importance of having real conversations, sharing difficult thoughts and vulnerabilities, and having open, honest relationships and friendships – these are fundamental to our organization’s soul. These very same drivers are needed to accomplish change in our communities. We stand with our team members, customer team members, business partners, investors, and communities within which we all live. We WILL always listen, speak up and act – that is who we are and more importantly, that is what we must do to end hatred, racism, and social injustice.

Please take the time to talk with colleagues and partners impacted by this injustice if they are ready and want to talk. Be compassionate toward the strain this has put on their mental wellness. Research and take a role in this effort in your community through organizations such as Black Lives Matter, Campaign Zero, Cities United, and/or Color of Change. Additionally, over the coming days and weeks, we will hold a series of discussions on this topic as an organization and will be accelerating the formation of a cross-organization committee on and implementation of race, equity, diversity, and inclusion principles.

I know this is not easy, no multi-generational problems are, but it is our obligation as an organization and as humans to support one another and create change because … Black Lives Matter.

Tim Makris, CEO, STOPit Solutions

STOPit Solutions Names Tim Makris Chief Executive Officer

HOLMDEL, N.J., June 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Board of Directors of STOPit Solutions has named Tim Makris as the company’s Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors. Mr. Makris was previously Co-Founder and Managing Director at Sandy Hook Promise, one of the nation’s leading school safety organizations.

STOPit Solutions Board Chair Kevin Kilcullen said, “I am delighted to welcome Tim as our new CEO. Tim is a proven leader who has excelled at strategic leadership and execution and is well-positioned to accelerate STOPit’s growth within K-12 schools, higher education, local and federal government and within the workplace.” With more than 32 years in leadership roles in sales, marketing, and general management at Proctor & Gamble, Gillette, Kellogg, Thule and Sandy Hook Promise, Tim has demonstrated a strong track record in initiating and leading change, driving results, and innovating within highly competitive markets. Additionally, Tim brings business acumen, integrity, passion for diversity and inclusion, and commitment to team development. These qualities have allowed him to be very successful in all he has been part of and now he will bring them to STOPit Solutions.

Parkhill Mays, who previously led STOPit Solutions as President, will continue in his role with critical oversight of finance and operations reporting into Tim. “The Board wishes to thank Parkhill for his leadership and outstanding accomplishments,” said Kevin Kilcullen. “He has set the organization up for success and we are grateful for all he has done. We know, with the addition of Tim, that we now have an all-star team.”

In addition to his new commitment to STOPit Solutions, Tim will also continue his passion of giving back through his various Board and Advisory roles with local and national non-profit organizations, associations, and universities.

STOPit Solutions is the nation’s leading anonymous reporting system that teaches how to identify and get help for individuals displaying violent, unsafe, or harmful behaviors. Over 6,000 schools use STOPit to proactively maintain a safe, healthy school climate and get students the help they need, when they need it before an incident escalates to a crisis. This results in thousands of successful interventions every year – including lives being saved.

FULL STORY

Curious why over 6,000 organizations worldwide are using STOPit’s anonymous reporting software and 24/7/365 monitoring services?

More SC Schools Offering Anonymous Tip Apps For Students To Report Bullying, Threats

By Jenna Schiferl

In an era where mass shootings have become more commonplace, school districts across South Carolina are beginning to implement cellphone apps that allow students to anonymously submit tips to report school threats, vandalism, bullying, drug usage, suicide attempts or any other potentially dangerous activity they observe.

The reasoning is simple. Advocates say that by providing students with the ability to anonymously report things with the devices at their fingertips, tragedies can be prevented and lives saved.

The challenge is creating a culture and environment where students feel comfortable enough to speak up.

Dozens of school districts in the Palmetto State have partnered with school safety-oriented tech companies to offer more options for students to report concerning behavior.

Many of these districts have partnered with STOPit Solutions. The New Jersey-based company has implemented its anonymous reporting services in 29 school districts in South Carolina, serving roughly 330 schools and about 184,000 students, according to company President Parkhill Mays.

Most of those districts have set up STOPit services within the past six months for free, thanks to a partnership with the S.C. School Boards Insurance Trust.

While many districts have offered some sort of hotline for students to report things for many years, “the big problem they bring about in education is they’re not anonymous,” Mays said, since many of them have some form of caller ID.

“There’s something about typing into a faceless, nameless keyboard that’s very comfortable for a student, compared to making an appointment and meeting with an adult or calling a phone number,” Mays said.

In South Carolina, STOPit has received tips on more than 2,000 actionable incidents over the past six months. Those numbers are going up rapidly, Mays said.

“It only takes one to make a life-saving difference,” he said.

Working from the inside out

In Charleston County, the STOPit app was implemented at Haut Gap Middle School after authorities confiscated a gun and more than a dozen rounds of ammunition that a 13-year-old student brought on campus.

A teacher was tipped off that the student had brought a firearm to school in a backpack after receiving a handwritten note from another student. The student who submitted the note alleged the other student “said he was going to shoot us,” according to an incident report.

Now, students can submit tips through STOPit three different ways: via the mobile application, a desktop website or a 24/7 hotline, said Director of Security and Emergency Management Michael Reidenbach.

“Schools are secured from the outside in, but we have to think about what we have to do to keep students safe from the inside out,” said Haut Gap parent Kelly Loyd.

Curious why over 5,000 organizations worldwide are using STOPit’s anonymous reporting software and 24/7/365 monitoring services?

Lex-Rich 5 Launches New App Promoting Student Safety

By Alicia Neaves

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A new app in Lexington-Richland School District Five gives students another avenue to report information to administrators without giving their name.

It’s called STOPit, and it launched this week in all middle, intermediate and high school campuses in the district.

STOPit is another option students can use to reach out for help. 

“We want to take something students and staff are very comfortable with, which is technology, and use that to further enhance our safety and our accessibility to administration in ways that they can reach out and ask for help so we can continue to maximize teaching and learning across the district,” said Kelly Brown, Student Services Officer with Lex-Rich 5.

Several schools in the district already had systems in place to report an incident anonymously, but the new app creates one district-wide system at no additional cost.

“The concerns could range from anything the student is experiencing,” said Brown. “They may see suspicious activity or if there was a bullying incident or a threat, or any type of self-harm or mental health concerns.”

STOPit sends reports anonymously. Students can access the app from anywhere using their smart phones or Chromebooks. 

They can upload pictures and videos from their device to the app to explain what’s going on without having to step foot in an office.

“When they report it, it immediately alerts administration,” said Brown. “So we are able to intervene and respond and provide intervention, resources and support strategies to the student and the family.”

To get started, students use a special code for their school.

“I think we’re gonna see a huge jump in the reporting of things that students see,” said Beth Thompson, who has children in middle school and high school in Lex-Rich 5.

Thompson believes the STOPit app takes anonymity to a new level.

“Even though they have other avenues to report [issues] anonymously, there is still that fear of, ‘Did they see me go in the office? Did this person see me talking to that administrator?'” said Thompson.

Reporting a concern can break trust in friendships at a critical age. But Thompson says this new app can help prevent that.

“This allows them a quick and easy way to report that without it ever having to come back on them personally,” she said. “Whether it be with a friend, or someone who might be bullying them or they witness it happening, or whether it be they’re worried about the social or physical impact.”

“My child and my children’s friends are less likely to slip through a crack. Like, ‘I was gonna report it but I just didn’t get time.’ It’s right there,” she added.

District officials hope to launch the app in elementary schools within the next month.

The app is for students and staff only. In case of an incident, members of the public should contact a school administrator or law enforcement.

Curious why over 5,000 organizations worldwide are using STOPit’s anonymous reporting software and 24/7/365 monitoring services?

Midlands School District Gives Students New Tool To Anonymously Report Incidents

By Tim Scott

Some students might be scared to come forward about incidents involving their peers because their name might be attached.

Now, with the STOPit App, administrators in middle and high schools across Lexington Richland School District Five can respond to incidents in real-time without knowing who submitted a report.

“The option of having this anonymous reporting app is a great one because it gets that chance to start that dialogue and starts to let them let go of some of that stuff, and not just let them focus on it and eat them up,” said Michael Carothers, the Assistant Principal at Chapin Middle School.

If students, teachers, and staff experience an incident, they can simply go on the app, click report, fill out information about the incident, and within seconds, administrators will respond.

“This way it’s going to come straight to us. We’ll determine who needs that information. Being anonymous allows them to reach out, and reach out to one of us so we can hear what they have to say,” said Anita Long, the Assistant Principal at Chapin Middle School.

The president of STOPit Solutions, the company that makes the app, says the technology is being used in 28 school districts across the state, serving more than 330 schools.

Leaders with Lexington Richland School District Five say this gives students the strength to report incidents without fear of retaliation.

“We want our students to feel empowered with this tool to speak up, to say something, and it allows us to immediately become aware with their concerns so that we can intervene much quicker and in a much more timely fashion,” said Kelly Brown, the Student Safety Officer at Lexington Richland School District Five.

Lexington Richland School District Five has already introduced the app on all student devices in middle and high schools, and plan on rolling it out to all of their schools.

Curious why over 5,000 organizations worldwide are using STOPit’s anonymous reporting software and 24/7/365 monitoring services?

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