WACO, Texas- The Waco Independent School District has announced the debut of the “STOPit app” in an effort to empower students to stand up against bullying.
The new app allows students, parents and teachers to anonymously report dangerous situations or activities.
The Midland Independent School District launched a similar app years ago called Anonymous Alerts with the same goal in mind. Midland Teen Court Executive Director Teresa Moore, formerly Midland ISD Executive Director of Student Services, says students are technically savvy – and this is their preferred method of communication.
“The app allows for instant two-way communication between the reporter and the receiver,” Moore said. “It’s completely anonymous, so we hope that the anonymity aspect will encourage students, in particular.”
The Waco ISD STOPit app has two features: Report – where users can submit pictures and videos, and Messenger – where users can communicate with school officials through text.
School administration can respond to incidents and help students, but they can not identify the anonymous submitter.
“We hope it significantly reduces not just the reports, but the actual incidents and occurrences of bullying. That is absolutely our hope,” Moore said.
The STOPit app is funded through the Stop School Violence Act by a Department of Justice grant awarded to the ESC Region 12 last October.
Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon said in a statement:
“We are grateful to Region 12 for providing us the opportunity to utilize this very valuable tool. Providing a safe way for students to report any harm or if they feel in danger is just another layer of protection for their well-being. While STOPit won’t replace the relationships that we want staff to build with our students, we hope the app will encourage them to feel safer reporting bullying or other concerns and not fear retaliation.”