Jefferson School District No. 251 to Launch Anonymous Reporting App

“I think that’s a positive, for students to have direct access to administrators in a manner that hopefully won’t be as intimidating for them,”
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Chad Martin
District Superintendent

Jefferson School District No. 251 has come up with a new way for students and parents to anonymously voice their concerns.

For at least a few weeks, administrators have been training to use STOPit, a reporting tool for individuals to anonymously report anything “inappropriate or unsafe” directly to administrators, district superintendent Chad Martin said. Students and parents can report things like bullying, violence, discrimination, weapons possession, substance abuse and more through an app, website or a phone hotline service, according to the STOPit Solutions webpage.

Martin said reporters will have the option to share their name and contact information when using the tool, though it is intended to offer anonymity. Sherry Simmons, district director of secondary education, said middle school students in particular tend to be afraid that if they say something, they will not remain anonymous.

“I think that’s a positive, for students to have direct access to administrators in a manner that hopefully won’t be as intimidating for them,” Martin said.

Martin said the plan is to roll out the app for parents and students shortly after the Thanksgiving break. He said it will initially only be used at the high school and middle school levels, but could be implemented in elementary schools at a later date.

Martin said he and Simmons have been researching options for a few months. He said the idea for STOPit comes from other schools that provide similar ways for students to share anonymous information.

“They’ve been seeing some great results,” Martin said of schools using the tool.

Martin said administrators often hear about student activity indirectly, and said the hope is this will allow for more direct interaction. He said administrators will verify STOPit reports, follow up and take appropriate action when necessary.

“As a district, we’re always looking for ways to help kids be able to feel safe,” Simmons said.

Martin said the funding for the tool will come from the safe schools budget.

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

Brooke County and STOPit

By Tara Jabour

Brooke County administrators introduced a new app to students to help fight bullying in schools.

“The STOPit app is something that we decided to put in place in Brooke County so that our students K-12 can anonymously report bullying that takes place to them or friends,” said Stephanie Zimmer, director of technology assessment and communication.

The app affords students to directly contact administrators if they are bullied, allowing them to write out what exactly happened and provide evidence in pictures or videos.

“It’s actually better for cyberbullying because you know how Snapchat disappears in 24 hours, so now you can take a screenshot and send it to your principal,” 6th grader Elliot McDonald said.

Other students like the idea because they don’t feel as intimidated to tell administrators when something is wrong.

“I think the STOPit app is a really great idea because I know a lot of kids who feel like principals have the stereotypical ‘mean’ because they are going to yell at you, but this app helps them understand and do this anonymously so they don’t have to have a human interaction with the principal, they can do it through their phone,” 6th grader Lorelei Costlow said.

The school district wants to do everything they can to stop bullying in its schools.

“Ultimately, we are just hoping to improve safety and security for our students. We want all students to come to school excited to learn, and if we can combat bullying, then that’s one less obstacle for students to face,” Zimmer said.

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

Merced Middle School Student Arrested for Making Threat Against School

By Jim Herrin

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) — A middle school student in Merced has been arrested after police say they made a threat against Tenaya Middle School on social media. The Merced City School District said it was made aware of the post around 8 p.m. Monday after a tip was sent into the district’s “Stop It App.”

The tip contained an Instagram post made by a student, threatening to carry out gun violence on campus.

District staff contacted Merced Police who arrested the student, who made the post, around 1:00 am Tuesday.

Police say they did not find a weapon at the home.

The district says the student, who will not be identified because they are a minor, has been booked into juvenile hall and charged with terroristic threats. Officials added that the student will not be allowed to return to school.

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Brooke County Tackles Bullying with New App

By Gage Goulding

Brooke County Schools are booming with technology. Just last week school officials rolled out a new notification system that alerts students and parents about emergencies, school cancellations, delays and more using text messaging.

Now coming up in December, students will have a new way to anonymously report bullying right from the palm of their hands.

“Students can download this to their smartphone. They can also access this from their Chromebooks,” said Technology Director, Stephanie Zimmer.

Students will answer several questions, including where and when the incident happened, and can also attach video or picture evidence.

“Once the student reports it, it goes to administration. It goes to all the principals in the school,” said Zimmer.

Students in each school will be given a unique code for their school.

“I think it’s a great tool in our new toolbox as we begin a very robust initiative here in Brooke County on how to address bullying,” said Alternative Learning Center Principal, Mike Lewis.

“I was bullied last year really badly, and I felt alone,” said Student Senior Kaitlyn Lahita.

Kaitlyn took that experience and started the anti-bullying club at Brooke High School, which now has 30 members and had a role in bringing STOPit to Brooke County Schools.

“I love that they are trying to help out. Dr. Crook brought the idea, the STOPit app, to me and I told him it was a good idea,” said Lahita.

The STOPit app is free and can be downloaded on both Apple and Android devices. It goes live December 2nd.

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

Lexington Four Uses App to Help Stop Bullying in Schools

By Nic Jones

SWANSEA, S.C. — Lexington School District Four has announced the use of a new app to help students stop bullying in schools.

In today’s world, bullying doesn’t just happen at school or even just in person. A lot of the times, it can happen online through social media.

Students in the 7th to 12th grade will be able to start using the app, STOPit, on Wednesday, November 20th.

According to the district, students will be able to submit report anonymously to the school administration and communicate with a school administrator, and be notified when the report has wrapped up.

Lexington Four said in a Facebook post, “The STOPit app empowers students to stand up for themselves and for one another. Students have the power to help put an end to harmful and inappropriate behavior they see online through social media and other means. They can use STOPit to reach out for help if they or a peer are facing a personal crisis or experiencing bullying, abuse, or are otherwise in need of assistance. Our goal with STOPit is to create school communities which are safe and welcoming.”

When students make a report, they are not required to identify themselves. Students can identify who they are in the report, only if they choose to.

Dawn Patterson, an assistant principal at the school, says it should be a big benefit for the students and faculty.

“We hope that this allow our students to know that they are listened to, that they are safe, and that there are ways that they can communicate with us to let us know of any kind of concerns that they may have,” said Patterson.

The assistant principal says the app allows students to report incidents, even during after school hours.

“It allows them to report any kind of issues, whether there’s an issue with bullying, if they feel that there is a threat, if they think someone may have something they don’t need to have or they feel that someone may have a weapon,” explained Patterson.

Lexington Four says, “School and district personnel will determine the appropriateness of STOPit for use in the lower grades based upon what we learn while using the system with the upper grades. Students who do not have access to a smart device will have other reporting options at a later date.”

Kenneth Jenkins, a junior at Swansea High, says it’s going to be a difference maker for him and his classmates.

“It will be a way for students to communicate with administration at the school but it will be a safe way,” said Jenkins.

Jenkins says he was bullied when he was growing up because he skipped a grade. He believes it’s important to stand up for those who are being picked on.

“When you do that, you feel different when you stand up against it,” said Jenkins. “I think it’s important that we don’t be bullied because you may not know what that person may go through and you don’t know what your bullying could lead to.”

As a student, Jenkins thinks more students will report bullying because of the new app.

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

Franklin Township: Want to Report a Crime? There’s an App for That.

By TAPINTO FRANKLIN/SOMERSET STAFF

SOMERSET, NJ – Franklin has seen more than its share of shootings this year. One of the first shootings happened last Christmas and two men were shot to death in May.

Police are offering reward money to anyone with information leading to the arrest and indictment of the individual or individuals responsible for the homicide of David D. Anderson and Dominic J. Frederick. 

Police are also investigating the shooting of an unnamed person on Baker Road and shots being fired on King Road. Yesterday, police-reported a North Brunswick man who shot an unidentified New Brunswick man turned himself in to police.  

Monserrat Noyola-Narvaez, 20 was shot on Oct. 22 and later died of her gunshot wounds on Oct. 24. Noyola-Narvaez was studying to be a nurse, and her family donated her organs following her death. 

“She was a girl who always dreamed of helping and saving lives, that’s why she was studying to be a nurse,” Noyola told TAPinto while speaking of her sister. “Our family decided to donate her organs to a non-profit organization and that way, she made her dreams come true and saved six lives.”

Back in August Mayor Phil Kramer called on the public to speak to police on the record to help end the cycle of violence. 

“At the local level, it’s about gun violence,”  “When there are gun crimes in Franklin the police usually can figure out who did it very quickly,” Kramer told TAPinto in August. “They do a good job. Too often, however, people are not willing to speak on the record and thus the assailant gets away with it. This prevents the police from ending the cycle of violence.”

Back in October 2017, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office launched the STOPit appThe STOPit account for Somerset County is called Somerset Strong and has had over 400 anonymous reports come in since its inception, according to officials. The reports have provided information on numerous types of police matters such as fugitives, narcotics, as well as information on homicides.

“STOPit is a powerful tool that allows citizens to provide information to law enforcement anonymously, without fear of reprisal,” Robertson told TAPinto in a statement. “Law enforcement cannot be everywhere so citizens are our best source of information. The confidential STOPit app allows everyday people within the community to have a voice.”

With the app, users can upload photos, and videos anonymously, it also allows for real-time communication/chats with police dispatchers and/or law enforcement officers.

Robertson says the app can also has a “get help” section be used to communicate with the public with information on how to get resources for things such as opioid addiction, child abuse, sexual assault, suicide, and domestic violence.

The STOPit app can also push information out to the people of Somerset County by way of STOPit broadcasts. 

 

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

Putnam City School District Rolls Out New Anonymous Safety App

By Ashley Holden
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Putnam City School District is working to make it easier for students to anonymously report bullying or any inappropriate behavior. 
 
Administrators rolled out a new app called StopIt at the beginning of the year, hoping to encourage students to come forward. 
 
A group of 8th Grade students from Capps Middle School spoke with News 9 about the app. All four, Dacha Daniels, Tanner Wood, Denivya Williams and Yuli Calderon, said they had been bullied in the past. 
 
Wood said that he had been bullied for anything and everything ranging from what he was wearing, his classes or even who he hangs out with. 
 
These students understand how much bullying can hurt, which is why they wanted to make sure students feel safe reporting anything that happens. Their experiences are part of the reason they helped with a video to let students know about the new safety feature available.
 
Administrators asked Drama teacher Austin Sterling to help with the roll out of the app.  
 
“It has really help the administration team respond quickly to incidents,” said Sterling. 
 
Sterling said they tested the app last spring and then began regularly using it just after school started in the fall. 
When an incident is reported, administrators and teachers get a notification. Each school has a certain code students use to access the app. Parents can also use StopIt, and report anything they see or hear as well. 
 
Stelring said the notifications are also available to counselors too. 
 
“They are able to quickly address situations where there may be self harm involved,” he said. 
 
Sterling said this app can be particularly helpful when it comes to cyber bullying, since administrators are not “friends” with students on social media. 
 
The app has a portion where students can upload pictures and videos. 
 
“They are available to download the app on their device,” said Sterling.  “So they can get things off of social media and do screen shots.” 
 
The group of students said they’ve already had friends use the app that said they feel more comfortable. 
 
But the group also had another message for students.
 
“Just be yourself don’t change,” said Calderon.
 
The STOPit App is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play. 
 

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

Bullet-Proof Glass, Mental Health Teams Among New Efforts to Keep Frisco Schools Safe

By Hannah Costley

Bullet-proof glass, lockdown technology and stepped up intervention to help students at risk of hurting themselves or others are part of the Frisco school district’s newest efforts to keep schools safe.

After the deadly shooting at a high school in Santa Fe last year, Texas lawmakers made school safety a priority this past session by funneling additional money and requiring districts to enhance security efforts.

Frisco’s stepped up initiatives include focusing on mental health awareness for students and making campuses even more secure with enhanced features.

“When you look at the research, the best thing we can do to prevent school violence is to make sure every single kid has a place where they feel like they belong and they’re safe,” said Dr. Stephanie Cook, managing director of guidance and counseling services for Frisco schools.

And key to that is focusing on students’ mental health as their emotional well being has a direct connection to school violence, Dr. Cook said.

 

Enhanced building security for the district includes installing bullet-resistant glass to interior classrooms and campus lockdown technology, which can electronically lock doors and notify authorities in case of an emergency. In 2018, voters approved a bond package that included $4.3 million for such campus safety features.

The bond also includes $8.3 million for surveillance updates, which will help replace about 2,400 existing security cameras with updated models.

Texas’ new school safety bill requires districts to have an emergency plan. Frisco officials said in addition to that, the district is one of the few that has a position solely dedicated to emergency management. Jon Bodie, the emergency manager, works across the district to support training on safety, such as what to do in active-shooter situations.

“I definitely feel like we are ahead of the curve just from the standpoint of having a position fully focused on emergency preparedness,” Bodie said.

Schools have increasingly stepped up security since deadly school shootings like those at Columbine High School in 1999 and Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012.

For over 10 years, Frisco has collaborated with local police, fire and other emergency officials on the Situational Awareness for Emergency Response, or S.A.F.E.R., program that allows FISD and authorities to conduct safety drills as well as gives them live feed access to cameras inside and outside of the schools. The unique program helps first responders and school administrators work together as they plan and practice responses to emergencies in real time, Bodie said

The STOPit app was created two years ago as a tool for students and parents to report concerns anonymously. The app allows users to upload pictures, video, audio and, most recently, screenshots. The app has been downloaded about 19,800 times and is constantly monitored, including on weekends and holidays.

“It’s been a very valuable program to us,” Bodie said. “The monitoring around the clock makes a big difference in how we’re able to respond.”

Frisco also offers resources for teachers, including webinar-based and scenario-based training that help prepare them for emergency situations.

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

Rutherford County Schools Using Stop It! App As Tool For Students To Report Safety Concerns, Threats

Rutherford County Schools wants to provide a simple way for students to report threats or safety issues, which is why the district has launched the Stop It! reporting app.

“The intention of the app is to provide an easy opportunity for students to communicate concerns,” said School Safety Director David Crim, who is a former school resource officer with Rutherford County.

Launched in August, the app provides a way to report everything from bullying to school threats or suicidal statements, Crim said.

All leads are received by a call center which vets the validity of the report, classifies the threat and immediately reports the information to the school safety director, communication coordinator, staff attorney and respective administrators.

If the report is classified as urgent the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office is also contacted.

In the first three months since launching the app, there have been approximately 85 reports.

A vast majority of those reports have come from middle and high school students, who have the option to remain anonymous or chose to make their identity known. Elementary level students have occasionally used the app, Crim said.

There were three particular incidents when police officers were dispatched to a residence to check on a student’s wellbeing following suicidal threats.

“Those are some of the significant ones,” Crim said, “but we’ve also had drug use reported and potential violent situations, where people were being threatened or there was a fight that was going to break out at a certain time.”

The Stop It! App proactively prevented those incidents from taking place.

Stop It! is available as a free download from the Apple App Store and Google Play store. To use the app, students must obtain the local code from their school, which is provided on posters.

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

New App ‘fills a gap’ For School Safety ‘STOPit’ Allows Students to Anonymously Report Threats

by Mark Dee

A pair of incidents at Blaine County schools brought student safety back to the fore last week. This year, though, administrators are using a new tool to help secure schools—and, they say, it’s already paying dividends.

Students at Carey, Silver Creek and Wood River middle and high schools started using the STOPit smartphone app to report incidents at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year. The online platform allows students to anonymously text administrators and school resource officers when they see suspicious behavior, and help staff coordinate a response.

So far, those tips have led to “successful interventions” on concerns involving self-harm, bullying, harassment, drugs and alcohol use, cyber-stalking and possible domestic violence between dating students, according to Hailey Police Officer Shawna Wallace, who is assigned to Wood River High School.

“I think it fills a gap,” Wallace said. “We’re capturing tips that wouldn’t be reported, because kids are too afraid or embarrassed to do it in person.”

Different schools can set it up differently, Wallace said. When a report is made at Wood River High School, Wallace, Director of Student Safety Dave Stellers, Principal John Pearce, and Vice Principals Julia Grafft and Keith Nelson all receive notices on their own phones. From there, the team assigns a member to investigate the tip. They can make notes in the app, close the case when it’s done and file it away in a common record stored with Stellers.

At Wood River Middle School, Principal Fritz Peters, Vice Principal Rob Ditch, social worker Tod Gunter and School Resource Officer Brad Gelsky get the message. They’ve gotten 14 reports this year: 12 legitimate and two hoaxes, Peters said.

“While the number of reports is relatively low, the app has been very useful for us, as well as for the person reporting the incident,” he said. “Overall, the effectiveness of the app will be determined over time, but the key aspect for our community is that students, staff and parents feel good about reporting incidents to school officials and school resource officers.”

At that age, it’s mostly bullying. The anonymous dialogue has been “key” in encouraging witnesses to reach out, Peters said.

For Wallace, it does change the way she investigates a tip.“You have to keep that in the back of your mind,” she said.But kids need to check a box reminding them that they could face legal action for calling in false reports. Wallace said she’s had “a few” at the high school, “but it hasn’t been a problem.”

STOPit continues to send notifications to staff over the weekend, though they aren’t required to monitor it after hours. Wallace does anyway, and so do other administrators, she said. STOPit Solutions, which runs the app, does, too; an operator with the company gets all off-hours tips, and can notify law enforcement if something rises to that level.

While technology can broaden their reach, both Wallace and Peters agree that there’s no substitute for the strong relationships staffers hope to build.

Last Tuesday, Hailey police responded to a potential threat against Wood River High School after students reported a suspicious Snapchat image to school staff during a volleyball game. Earlier that day, teachers at Ernest Hemingway STEAM School in Ketchum were notified that a student had brought a knife to school. Both cases were resolved without incident—and both were reported face-to-face.

“I still want kids to trust us,” Wallace said. “I like that they trust us, and I hope that they’ll come and talk to me if anything’s wrong.”

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