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?