LOS LUNAS—Students in Los Lunas Schools can now anonymously report anything of concern to them, including students talking about committing violence, by using an app called STOPit.
Los Lunas Schools launched its STOPit program Dec. 6 in an event with law enforcement agencies.
The district, in conjunction with the Los Lunas Police Department, is utilizing STOPit to protect students and empower them to stand up against bullying and threats to their schools.
STOPit empowers students with an easy app to safely and anonymously report anything of concern to school officials and law enforcement — from cyber-bullying to threats of violence or self-harm. It allows students to stand up for themselves and others while giving schools the insight they need to keep students safe.
“We’ve got to keep our kids safe and give them a way to report things anonymously that are going on in their lives,” said Los Lunas Superintendent Dana Sanders.
Sanders said students’ can trust their anonymity completely unless they choose to divulge who they are.
“They get a special code — we don’t know who they are and they don’t know who they’re talking to but it’s a school official or a law enforcement agent,” Sanders said. “Everything is coded with a number.”
If something illegal is reported, school officials or law enforcement can track the code number to the student but they would need to obtain a subpoena to do so, said Deputy Superintendent Brian Baca, who initiated the STOPit program for the district.
“We would be able, through the subpoena system, to go and see if we could get an IP address or a phone number related to this,” Baca said.
Only if a serious threat is posed would they pursue the process to obtain a subpoena, Baca said.
“Since Columbine, there have been (more than) 200 mass shootings and last spring we received several threats of violence against our schools, and between Desi Garcia (director of security) and our SROs (student resource officers) we began to talk about what it is we need.”
The result of those discussions is a partnerships with local law enforcement agencies and first responders to increase communications, collaboration and sharing resources to increase security at the schools.
“Several agencies were involved with a demo of the STOPit app and they will be responsible for monitoring the tips and other information that come through the app,” Baca said.
With STOPit, students can submit anonymous reports containing text, photos or video. A press release states the administrators are able to manage incidents in a back-end management system that provides efficient and powerful investigative tools, including the ability to message with the reporter which will allow officials to address issues instantly.
“Our kids are our most prized possession,” Baca said. “When our parents drop off their kids at the door of that school, they want to have that assurance that their kids are going to be safe and we want to provide them that assurance.”
There are SROs, through the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office and Los Lunas Police Department, at every school site.
Additionally, the STOPit app will not only help schools address incidents and mitigate risk, it will also help the district deter bullying and inappropriate behavior.
As young people increasingly engage with technology, the district is taking a proactive step to empower them and believes the adoption of STOPit is an important step in its continued effort to provide a positive school climate and a safe learning environment for students.
Members of the New Mexico State Police, LLPD, VCSO, Bosque Farms and Isleta police departments, Los Lunas Fire Department, Valencia County Fire Department, as well as Los Lunas Schools Safety and Security signed posters for each of the 15 campuses signifying their commitment to the safety of the schools.
“We also want to thank the school board for approving the funding to hire additional school resource officers,” Baca said.
To learn more about STOPit, visit stopitsolutions.com.