WADSWORTH — Wadsworth Schools is now utilizing a mobile application that allows students, faculty and community members to anonymously report possible safety and security concerns to district officials.
“There is no limit of who can do it, but they can then report an incident anonymously through the app,” said Assistant Superintendent Gabe Tudor.
“At that point it goes to the correct administration, the building principles would then get that information and be able to address it as they would just at any other time.”
The STOPiT app is available for free on the Google Play and Apple app stores.
Tudor said an access code must be put in that determines which of the district’s buildings the tip pertains to.
Codes are available at wadsworth.k12.oh.us include WHSGRIZZLIES for Wadsworth High School and CISGRIZZLIES for Central Intermediate School.
Tudor said that while the district’s safety hotline (330) 335-1444 is available, the STOPiT app makes for a nice addition to the district’s safety tools. It launched at the beginning of the school year and Tudor said the district has already received some tips.
The nature and number of tips were not specified.
“We would love it when people say who they are and want to communicate to us and report something because that gives us more information,” he said. “At the same time, we also understand there are people that prefer not to say their name when they report things for a variety of reasons.”
Tudor said the district wants to make sure there are no obstacles to anyone if they feel they should report a safety concern.
District officials are notified by either an email or text alert, and can reply to whoever sends a tip for additional information, Tudor said.
Tudor said the STOPiT app will cost the district about $3,500 each year, with the option to be renewed on a yearly basis.
Neil Hooper, chief revenue officer for STOPiT Solutions, said Monday that app launched in 2015 is currently being utilized by more than 2,800 schools in 44 states across the United States.
“The world has moved to a preference of communicating using your mobile device for sure,” Hooper said.
Hooper said according to a recent poll by Common Sense Media, more people responded that they would prefer to text someone rather than talk on the phone.
“We have constructed the tool to be anonymous so the person who is bringing the tip forward isn’t afraid that they are going to be bullied or mistreated because of that,” Hooper said.
While the app was originally launched with a focus on K-12 education applications, the app has expanded to serve other needs.
“Because of our successes in K-12, we now have a version of the solution for colleges and very recently we announced a version of the solution to help workplaces combat sexual harassment and discrimination,” Hooper said.
Tudor said that while the district understands the app could be used for pranks, he believes the community will use the new technology responsibly.
“Even if there are pranks, if there are valid things that are said, that still outweighs the negative from it,” he said.