Students at Lebanon High School now have access to an app called STOPit, which gives them the ability to anonymously report anything they’re concerned about – from threats of violence to cyberbullying – directly to school officials.
The move comes on the heels of a groundswell of concerns about bullying that culminated with a community meeting at LHS last month.
“The anonymous feature [of the app] gives students the opportunity to report anything they want, without being fearful,” LHS Principal Dr. Scott Walters said. “If a student is being harassed by an adult, we need to know about it. If a student is a threat to themselves, we need to know about it.”
Once students download the app, school officials say they will be able to submit anonymous reports along with any evidence they have, including screenshots, pictures and video clips. Wilson County Schools spokesperson Jennifer Johnson noted that, at schools where the app is already in use, it acts as not only a reporting tool but also a deterrent to bullying.
After a student files a report via the app, it is immediately sent to an administrator, counselor or school resource officer, who will respond to the student as quickly as possible in an exchange similar to an online chat. Neither the student nor the faculty member will know the identity of the person they’re communicating with, and all incident reports and conversations will be stored in the system, allowing schools to maintain thorough records on every complaint or incident.
Wilson County Director of Schools Dr. Donna Wright described the app as an innovative solution to a complex problem.
“Technology is here to stay, but this gives educators a way to finally get their arms around some of the pitfalls that are associated with it,” Wright said. “This app empowers students to partner with us in a way that’s no so intimidating.”
In the coming months, school system officials say the app will also be launched at the county’s three other high schools. Statewide, approximately 60 schools currently use the STOPit app.