HAMLER — Patrick Henry Middle School is using a new app this school year to enable students to report bullying and share other information.
At Monday’s PH Board of Education meeting, middle school principal Jordan LeFevre said the app titled StopIt can be accessed on iOS and Android-based smart phones, which most of the middle-school students have, and on Chromebooks, which all of them have through the school and are allowed to take home.
LeFevre said students can use the app to file a report, with the option of anonymity, through text message or Messenger to the school’s online recording software, which is accessed by LeFevre and the school’s two guidance counselors.
“It’s a way for us to communicate in a way that they like to communicate,” LeFevre said. “It’s much easier for a student to text in a message rather than come talk to an adult about a situation, for most kids anyway.
“From there, we can basically ask questions back and forth with the student and just try to gain more information on whatever the incident is,” he added.
LeFevre said the app has also enabled him to upload resources for students, including access to a crisis text line.
“They can actually click right on their phone and there’s a phone number that they can text right away with somebody that’s trained to handle an emergency situation,” LeFevre said, adding the National Suicide Prevention hotline is readily available through the app as well. “Those are things that we make available to the students and we tell them about, but for a student in a tough situation, they might not remember how to get there. So this is another way that students have quick access to a resource to help them.
“It’s a preventative measure,” he added. “It also will help students be comfortable in communicating. We’re excited to use it.”
LeFevre said the StopIt app is only being used in the middle school currently.
“Middle school’s a tricky age,” LeFevre said. “You get a whole range of different kind of scenarios brought to your attention, so we figured this would be a good spot to try it out.
“We’ll experience it, see what it’s like and then evaluate how we want to continue to use it,” he added.
Depending on the experience of the app’s implementation in the middle school, Superintendent Josh Biederstedt said StopIt will potentially be used in PH’s other schools in the future.