New App Helps Mission Heights Students Report Bullying, Safety Issues

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By Melissa St. Aude

Many of the students at the school had downloaded the app by early Friday afternoon, according to Davenport.

Once a report is made through the app, administrators are able to analyze the issue using a back-end management tool that includes the ability to message with the student who made the report.

“This allows us to address issues instantly,” Davenport said. “STOPit will help us go beyond reacting to bullying and inappropriate behavior and instead start deterring it.”

STOPit Solutions created the app in response to cyberbullying in schools nationwide.

“What began as a tool to combat bullying in schools has now grown into a suite of customizable products and services meant to inspire speak-up cultures in not only the education space, but also the workforce and public safety sectors, spanning over 3.5 million subscribers,” STOPit Solutions says on its website.

Davenport said the goal is to empower students to work toward a more positive school climate and learning environment.

“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,” he said.

MHP seems to be one of the only schools in the area using the STOPit app.

The Casa Grande Elementary School District doesn’t use an app for reporting bullying but refers students to the DHS.gov “See Something, Say Something” website.

“Each school has their own methods in terms of encouraging students and families to express their concerns,” said Michael Cruz, communications and marketing specialist for CGESD. “As we continue to explore our district and school safety response plans, we may consider platforms that facilitate such reporting services. This entire year, our district will be improving security at all schools.”

The elementary school district is working to update its visitors management systems, electronic access system, enhanced video surveillance and other safety factors, Cruz said.

The Casa Grande Union High School District also does not use the STOPit app, said Superintendent Steve Bebee.

At MHP, along with the new app, a series of safety drills were held to teach students how to respond in a dangerous on-campus situation such as a school shooting.

Through the drills, the students learned the school’s evacuation process and parent-student reunification procedure.

“With the help of the Casa Grande Police Department and some parents, each of these drills went smoothly,” Davenport said. “Our students also handled themselves very maturely.”

The school plans to hold emergency drills once a month throughout the school year.

“We know parents and students must feel safe so they can focus on getting the best education possible and be prepared to succeed at the nation’s top institutions of higher learning,” he said.

FULL STORY

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