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?

SC Midlands School District Rolls Out App To Let Students Anonymously Report Bullying

By Lucas Daprille

A Midlands school district is introducing a new app that will allow students to anonymously report bullying and threats, officials said Thursday.

Lexington-Richland 5 is introducing the STOPit app — made by New Jersey-based company STOPit solutions — to all high, middle and intermediary school students, which will allow them to send texts, pictures and video from their smartphones to school administrators, the district said in a press release.

Once an administrator sees the report, he or she can continue to talk back and forth with the student without the student having to share his or her name, the press release said.

“With STOPit, we are doing more than just helping schools address incidents and mitigating risk,” Kelly Brown, the district’s student services officer, said in the press release. “It is allowing us to go beyond reacting, and instead deter incidents in some cases.”

Some schools in Lexington-Richland 5 have a system to report anonymous complaints, but this would be the first time the service is available to all schools, the press release said.

The press release said the service adds “no additional cost” to the district.

It’s becoming more common for school districts to offer apps with anonymous reporting. Both Richland 1 and Richland 2 offer anonymous reporting through their apps, spokeswomen from the districts told The State.

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

Students Can Anonymously Report Concerns With New App

By Mitchell Willetts

ENID, Okla. — Enid Public Schools has implemented an anonymous reporting app, allowing students to alert school officials to bullying, hazing and other inappropriate behaviors or dangerous situations without identifying themselves.

Through the STOPit app, by tech company STOPit Solutions, students can send reports complete with text, images and video. Designated district employees will receive an alert on their phones or computers when a report is sent in, can review them and decide what action to take.

“STOPit empowers students with an easy app to safely and anonymously report anything of concern to school officials — from cyberbullying to threats of violence or self-harm,” according to the district.

Administrators also can reach out to tipsters with a messenger tool included in the app, allowing for “100 percent anonymous two-way chat,” according to the company.

“STOPit allows students to share their concerns using a medium that is comfortable to them — their cellphone,” said Jason Priest, director of school safety and security. “They can also report their concern anonymously without worrying about their safety or retribution. We believe the adoption of this program is an important step in our continued effort to provide a positive school climate and a safe learning environment for students.”

To use the STOPit app, students must enter a specific code assigned to their school. Posters with the code have been placed around each school site, according to a district release.

 

STOPit Solutions said its platform is an effective deterrent. Not only helpful in putting an end to issues that arise but for preventing them from the start.

“When students are comfortable sharing information with you, you will get the information you need to maintain a positive school climate and get students the help they need. You will have the ability to address issues early on, before they spiral out of control,” according to company information.

“STOPit streamlines your processes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of investigations with STOPit’s case management system. STOPit is also a powerful deterrent. Students start thinking twice before making a bad decision.”

Enid Public Schools was able to implement the app at no cost, according to the district, “thanks to a partnership with its insurance provider, the Oklahoma Schools Insurance Group.”

Besides the app, students also can file reports on their Chromebooks, according to district information.

Though EPS is rolling out a new way for kids to share their concerns, face to face interaction is always welcome.

“While the app will provide students with anonymity and convenience, they also are encourage to continue to talk with school adults in person about their concerns, if they prefer,” according to a district release.

 

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

Safety App Lets Delaware Students Report Bullying, Dangerous Situations

By 

School administrators are increasingly looking to connect with students where they are — and that means on their phones. Now some are using that technology to create a safer school climate and trying to help kids in distress.

Delaware’s Colonial School District now has joined a handful of others in the state by introducing a safety app that lets students anonymously report bullying, dangerous situations and other troubling matters.

At William Penn High in New Castle, Colonial supervisor John Barr showed senior Leah Green how to download the STOPit app to her phone. Then Barr gave her a tutorial on how to report issues such as a looming fight or concerns over a student’s mental health.

“So you are going to select, whether it’s a bullying issue, the location, if it was at the bus stop, the cafeteria,’’ Barr counseled, showing her a variety of options.

“This is a 24/7 monitored application,” he said. “So it will notify the folks that are designated at the district, and we will decipher what kind of emergency it is and get you the help you are requiring.”

Green said that students need such a vehicle to let teachers and administrators know what’s happening at Penn, the largest high school in the state with nearly 2,300 students.

“It would be much easier to report the incidents that happen in our school because so much happens and not everybody knows about it,’’ she said.

She noted that students share information “on social media, but adults aren’t up on all that stuff.”

Green also likes the anonymity, pointing out that students fear the backlash from reporting problems that are ongoing, imminent or brewing.

“You don’t want to be a snitch or get involved in drama,’’ she said. “So this app is going to help students be able to talk to the administration without putting themselves in danger.”

Penn sophomore Andre Monroe agrees.

“I like the anonymous part of it because many students of course are dealing with peer pressure,’’ he said. “Especially with fights, you don’t want to be known as the student that went to the principal’s office and snitched.”

The app, developed by Holmdel, N.J.-based STOPIt Solutions about five years ago, is available in a handful of Delaware’s 19 school districts, including Appoquinimink and Milford, company president Parkhill Mays III said.

The app is also being used by 160,000 New Jersey students and 2.9 million students nationwide, Mays said. The cost to schools is about $1 a year per student.

“We give students a simple and powerful tool to reach out for help and they can reach out anonymously and securely,’’ Mays said. “All our focus groups show that you need to give a young person the ability to stay anonymous. They don’t like traditional ways of reaching out, like a telephone, and there’s something about typing into a faceless, nameless keyboard.”

The app even has a chat feature that lets students have anonymous conversations with school leaders. Barr said he sees the app helping Colonial defuse simmering situations before they explode, and providing needed assistance to struggling kids.

The app is being rolled out at Penn and Colonial’s three middle schools but will eventually be expanded to district elementary schools and all 10,000 students.

It’s costing Colonial about $20,000 over two years, courtesy of a state safety grant, but Barr said it’s a worthwhile investment.

“If we can help one kid save a life, stop an event, it’s worth it,’’ he said.

Tom Poehlmann, director of safety and security at Appoquinimink in southern New Castle County, said STOPit has been in use for a year and is currently generating about 120 reports per month.

Initially, he said, kids put bogus or “nonsense” reports on the app such as a teacher who gives too much homework but that practice has ceased and instead the app had alerted schools to serious situations. For example, he said, a friend reported that a girl was harming herself and officials arranged for an evaluation almost immediately.

“We take this stuff seriously and we want to stamp it as quickly as we can,” Poehlmann said.

Green’s mother Dawn said it could help kids in distress. She plans to download the app and encourage other parents to do so as well.

“There’s a lot of cases of kids feeling hopeless and feeling suicidal,” Green said. “I’m hoping kids at least feel like they can maybe report that a friend is feeling that way.”

 

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

Got a bully? There’s an app for that

By Jessica Fuller

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – Elizabethton students have a new, anonymous way to report bullying.

The school system rolled out its subscription to the STOPit app last week, an anonymous reporting app that students can use to report incidents such as bullying, threats or mental health concerns.

Assistant director of Elizabethton schools Richard VanHuss said students can download the app, type ‘Elizabethton’ into the keyword search, and select their school to begin the reporting process.

“We always run into the situation where kids may not feel comfortable talking one-on-one about an issue,” he said. “This gives them, it kind of gets into their world, what they’re used to, and that’s the use of technology.”

Students answer questions about the incident before sending it to administrators for review. Students are able to attach photos or screenshots to the report.

“The neat feature of it is it allows the administrator, once they receive the report, they can anonymously talk back and forth with the student via text, via message, just to get additional information if they need that,” VanHuss said.

The reporting system is also included within the new app for Elizabethton High School, which rolled out this week.

VanHuss said measures like anonymous reporting apps are becoming more common in the face of cyberbullying. He said students who face bullying from peers online may also report those incidents.

The app also includes resources for suicide prevention, VanHuss added, including the National Suicide Prevention hotline.

False reports are a concern for administrators, VanHuss said, which is why students must acknowledge that false reports will be investigated before submitting a report.

While he said it may increase the workload for administrators, he said he is excited to reap the benefits of the app.

“It’s a proactive tool in our minds that we can get a jump on anything that may potentially be an issue,” he said, adding, “Any situation, if they’re concerned, they’ve heard a comment about a student maybe making threats or anything like that.”

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

6 Effective Tools for Reporting Harassment in the Workplace in 2020

By Staff Writer

Gallup’s study had several interesting insights. Worryingly, U.S. adults seem to be less concerned about this issue in 2019 than they were two years back. However, respondents were widely in agreement that sexual harassment is a “major problem,” with 70% of women and 53% of men talking about this issue.

Employers must adopt a culture where reporting harassment in the workplace is easy and free of stigma. This would increase accountability, inviting employees at every rung to put their best foot forward without fear of discrimination or inappropriate behavior. It also shows employees that organizations care about them, an essential driver of job satisfaction and security.

Here are six tools that can help you achieve this in 2020, arranged in no particular order.

1. STOPit Solutions


STOPit offers an end-to-end suite of tools for reporting sexual harassment in the workplace. It comprises an employee-facing portal to capture reports, anonymize communication, and provide two-way messaging support. At the backend, it offers an incident management platform to review and act on these reports. STOPit also comes with an incident monitoring service, comprising a team who will listen to incoming reports 24/7/365. You can follow up with employees anonymously using this solution to ensure that they see their commitment to justice through.

STOPit follows a bespoke pricing model, and costs are based on the size and nature of your business.

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

Sevier County Schools Launching App To Help Students Fight Bullying And Discrimination

By Gabrielle Hays

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. — National data shows only about 20 to 30 percent of students tell an adult they are being bullied. 

That leaves a pretty large number of incidents that go unreported and that only includes bullying. Educators believe students face a lot these days and need new ways to report.

Right now students have two ways to report an incident in Sevier County.

“They get reports to the counselors the administration and then to the state department,” student health coordinator Don Best said. 

However, educators add some students are falling through the cracks
and that is a problem.

“So there’s a gap in between those two particular programs,” Best said. 

The county is now addressing that problem and in a world of full of technology all you need is a phone.

“We’re going to announce an encrypted, anonymous student app,” he added. 

It’s actually called “STOPit.” A quick glance at the program’s website shows how it works. All you have to do is hit report then type what kind of incident it is. You can also add evidence like pictures and videos and lastly hit submit.

It goes directly to school officials who can either follow up with you anonymously or start looking into the report.

That can include anything from bullying, cyber bullying and violence to discrimination, hazing and inappropriate teacher relationships.

“Even a possible suicide,” Best said. 

Again it’s completely anonymous, which Best said helps.

“The help can be there without them being identified and possibly creating some other problems within their own groups,” he said. 

After 45 years in education, Best has seen children go through a lot.

“You’ve got to understand that they are youngsters and they are trying to grow, trying to mature,” he said. 

However, with the help of this app, all he wants is to help them along the way.

“We need to give them the best help we can possibly give them,” he said. 

Sevier County Schools plans to track reports long term and then decide what schools need more resources and why.

 

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

Lexington Three Using App Designed To Keep Students Safe

By Tony Baughman

Students and teachers in Lexington School District Three have a powerful new tool in the fight for a safer, healthier learning environment – one that could have the ripple effect of a safer overall community.

For the past couple of months, students at Batesburg-Leesville High School have had access to a free smartphone and desktop app called STOPit that allows them to anonymously report unsafe conditions, including bullying and potential security hazards in and around school.

“STOPit is a simple app that allows for anonymous reporting by students to the administration of things of concern,” said Ralph Schmidt, Assistant Superintendent for Personnel and Administration. “It could be dangerous situations, or it could something as simple as a broken window or an open door. It can be utilized in a lot of ways.”

Founded in 2013, STOPit Solutions is a New York-based company originally created to combat cyberbullying in schools, to curb the epidemic of students using the Internet and social media to attack other students. The scope of the project has since expanded, according to the STOPit website, “to inspire speak-up cultures in not only the education space but also the workplace and public safety sectors.”

STOPit now boasts more than 3.5 million subscribers. Schools pay $2 to $5 per student for the monitored service, and students and teachers may download the STOPit app to their smartphones for free.

However, STOPit is not costing Lexington Three Schools anything. The South Carolina School Boards Insurance Trust, which provides the district’s insurance coverage, is paying for the service. “They made the offer to all of its members that they would provide STOPIt,” Mr. Schmidt said.

“Every student has the ability to put it on their cellphones, and we’ve expanded that and we’ve now put it on their Chromebooks,” Mr. Schmidt said. “So, now these students can make a referral in a number of ways.”

Students can submit written reports of suspicious activity, bullying or other concerns. They also may take photographs or videos and submit those to STOPit Solutions anonymously, too.

“It is designed for us to be able to have an anonymous reporting system for kids. If students do not feel comfortable in sharing something with a teacher or administrator, then they can report it through STOPit,” Mr. Schmidt added.

Once received, anonymous reports are vetted by trained operators on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. STOPit Solutions states that reports “are guaranteed to be addressed in under an hour, and most are addressed in under five minutes.”

“They review every report, and if there are things of a critical, urgent nature, then they will make phone calls,” Mr. Schmidt said. “I’m listed, as well as the Batesburg-Leesville Police Department.”

In this age of tragic school shootings, STOPit offers Batesburg-Leesville schools an added layer of potential protection. In many cases, students and others who may be contemplating school violence will telegraph their intentions on social media or in private conversations.

“If a student were to post something on Instagram at 7 o’clock and it’s reported at 8 o’clock, then we can have the police looking into it by 8:01,” Mr. Schmidt said.

STOPit also has proven effective in other school districts in alerting administrators and caregivers when a student may be contemplating suicide or experiencing physical abuse at home. “We can intervene with them much quicker, rather than have to wait until the next morning,” Mr. Schmidt added.

There are some safeguards in place to ensure that STOPit is not used by students to harass other students or otherwise disrupt school activities unnecessarily. “We take every report seriously, but we have to look at the facts of every situation,” Mr. Schmidt said.

The STOPit app, now that it has been piloted at the high school, soon will be replicated in other schools in Lexington Three, and officials hope it will be a 100 percent effective barrier to loss of life to students here.

For more information on the app and its security solutions for schools and businesses, visit www.stopitsolutions.com.

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