Spirit of the Buffalo: STOPit Implemented to Help Stop Bullying

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McAlester Public Schools are now using the STOP!T app that allows students to anonymously report incidences to the office via text. Students are encouraged to report anything from bullying to threats of violence or self-harm.

Many times a parent will call informing me of situations that are going on at their child’s school. The first question I ask is, “Have you talked to the principal?” Why? I am not at the school to know what is going on and I know that there are always two sides to every situation. The number of times I have been told by parents that their child is being bullied and no one will do anything about it is astronomical. When I asked if they have talked to the principal, the answer is usually no. How can a principal be expected to take care of the bullying when they do not know anything about it? That is where an app like STOP!T will work to help. Students and parents will be able to report any incidences or problems that happen at their school anonymously.

We want to be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to dealing with incidents of inappropriate behavior that lead to avoidable issues. When students are comfortable sharing information with us, we then get the information we need to maintain a positive school climate and are able to get students the help they need. We will have the ability to address issues early on before they spiral out of control.

Each school will send out directions to their parents with information about the app and the password for the school. Puterbaugh Middle School is the only site so far to fully implement the STOP!T program with its students. They have been using it for over a week now and have received 36 incident reports. Visiting with the principal, they have verified that many of the incident reports have been middle school students joking around and trying to be funny, but there have been a couple of valid incident reports. The principals were thankful to be able to handle the situations and are seeing some very positive results from the program.

STOP!T will be fully implemented across the district.

Students can now download the free app on iPhones and Androids and each school will have its own ID to allow reporting. Students will be given the information for them to use and the elementary schools will send the information home to the parents. We hope that the implementation of the STOP!T app will provide one additional level of security for our students and staff.

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