Sand Springs Public Schools Launching New App to Anonymously Report Bullying


SAND SPRINGS, Okla. — Sand Springs Public Schools is constantly looking for the latest technology, preparing for the worst.

On Tuesday they’re introducing the STOPit app, with the goal of addressing everything from cyber bullying to self-harm.

“You never want to be caught in a situation where something bad happens and you could have prevented it. That’s why you have to look into whatever is going on and see what you can do to make your rules, your protocols be better,” Central Ninth Grade Center principal JJ Smith said.

The app allows people to report anonymously, putting in pictures and information that go to administrators. Staff then talk to students to learn more about what’s going on.

“Bullying dictates a lot of behavior in the classroom that I see. I know there are kids that are completely silent because they’re terrified to draw any attention to themselves,” ninth grade teacher Becky Painter said.

Earlier this semester the district launched the CrisisGo app, which walked teachers through emergencies and pulls up rosters to keep track of everyone in the classroom. Educators said it gives peace of mind to have so many resources available in case of an incident.

“You always have it in the back of your mind when you see a kid with their head down that doesn’t normally have their head down. You’re always thinking about that. What’s going on with them today? You really never know. Sometimes you learn things about your students where you’re like “no wonder they’re struggling,” Painter said.

Smith is head of the safety committee and said they continue to look at new drills and technology, as well as input from parents.

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Calling it Quits: Why Kids Are Dropping Out of Youth Sports in Droves

Part 2 of 2 in a series on Youth Sports & Bullying

Read Part 1

It wasn’t until he found himself standing on the sidelines watching his 5-year-old daughter’s soccer game that John O’Sullivan, a former college and professional soccer player, says he realized why kids were dropping out of organized sports at such an alarming rate. As he watched the pack of little girls (team name: The Unicorns) running happily up and down the field — cheered on by parents and coaches — he noticed a much more intense scene unfolding over at the 10-year-old boys game on the next field.

“It should be just the same, right?” O’Sullivan asks in his 2014 Tedx Talk, “Changing the Game in Youth Sports,” of the two soccer games. “But it was completely different.”

Instead of the boys being cheered on by parents and coaches, a young player was berated and “yanked out of the game” for a bad pass that allowed the other team to score. O’Sullivan — a former Division 1 college men’s soccer coach — watched as the boy’s coach, his father and then the parent of another player took turns “screaming” at the young boy.

“And as I’m watching this I’m thinking, ‘Wow, this is exactly why kids drop out of sports,’” says the author of Changing the Game: The Parent’s Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes, and Giving Youth Sports Back to our Kids. “Because sports is supposed to be about children playing, and children having fun, and learning. And none of that is happening here.”

‘It’s just not fun anymore’

In fact, of the 40 million or so kids who participate in organized sports each year in the U.S., 70 percent will drop out by the time they turn 13, according to the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS). Why the mass exodus of pre-teens? “It’s just not fun anymore,” reported many of the kids who quit.

But having fun is why kids start playing sports in the first place, according to a Michigan State University survey of 30,000 children. When asked why they played sports, researchers found that the number one reason cited was because it was fun. “They like to learn. They like to be with their friends. They enjoy the excitement, but they don’t play because of winning,” says O’Sullivan, whose organization, Changing the Game Project, is dedicated to returning youth sports to kids and putting the “play” back in “play ball.” “It’s not why they show up,” he adds.

The result is that our children are missing out on all the good stuff that inherently comes from running around playing a game with friends, at a time in their lives when they could really use some of those skills.

“Playing sports offers everything from physical activity, experiencing success and bouncing back from failure to taking calculated risks and dealing with the consequences to working as a team and getting away from the ubiquitous presence of screens” writes Julianna W. Miner, mom of three who teaches public health at George Mason University, in the The Washington Post. “Our middle-schoolers need sports now more than ever.”

The Great Race

Instead of celebrating youth sports as an opportunity to have fun and learn something about being part of a team and the value of good sportsmanship, the emphasis is now on being the best, regardless of the cost.

“Everything is focused on X’s and O’s, not the culture of sportsmanship,” notes Garland Allen, President of Personal Best Media, a not for profit providing evidence-based research and education focused on the epidemic of bullying, hazing and harassment in youth sports. Allen, a former teacher, coach, and director of athletics for Greenwich High School (CT) and Ridgewood High School (NJ), knows — first-hand — how misdirected adults have become about youth and sports, “It’s exactly the opposite of what we say we’re trying to accomplish,” he says, speaking about the current zero-sum-game attitude that’s pervasive in youth sports culture.

O’Sullivan calls this pressure put on kids by coaches and parents to perform at such high levels — at younger and younger ages — “the great race to nowhere in youth sports.” He says there’s too much emphasis put on the few young athletes who go on to get scholarships or play professional sports without taking into account the vast majority who “end up hating sports and in damaged relationships with their moms and dads.”

“And some kids end up with the physical and emotional scars that last a lifetime,” he adds.

Ow, that hurts

Kids are also hanging up their cleats before high school because there’s such a high incidence of injuries due to overuse. More than 3.5 million children a year under the age 14 need treatment for sports injuries, with nearly half of all sports injuries for middle and high school students caused by overuse, according to CNN.

Growing bones, uneven maturation and an inability to detect warning signs make children and teens particularly susceptible to overuse injuries, according to a report by UC Davis Health. Data suggests that athletes who had early specialized training withdrew from their sport either due to injury or burnout from the sport.

“A deep commitment to training for a single sport comes with a price,” says Wayne McDonnell, Academic Chair at the NYU School of Professional Studies, citing torn and pulled ligaments and stress fractures as common results of overuse. “Young athletes are more familiar with MRIs than they are with geometry.”

Bullying is a year-round activity

Kids are also dropping out of sports before high school because of instances of bullying or hazing by coaches and teammates. According to NAYS, one in seven children in grades K-12 is a victim of bullying, or is a bully themselves. “That means on a youth football team of 25 players, chances are pretty good that bullying is affecting the childhood of three players on just one team alone.”

Like most sports these days, bullying is year-round, cropping up not only on rec teams during the school year, but rearing its head during summer sports camp season as well. Kids are usually signed up for these programs to maintain skills during an off season from school or by parents who just want to get them outside and be active. But kids shouldn’t have to add bullying to the list of hazards to avoid, like the hot sun or dehydration, during the heat of summer.

“Bullies choose victims they perceive as vulnerable or lacking status,” explains Allen. “Younger athletes are particularly vulnerable for being bullied by older team members.”

Hazing, he says, can look a lot like bullying but it’s not repetitive. Older team members use humiliation and embarrassment to initiate new team members and hazing often occurs at the beginning of the season. “Unfortunately, many players and coaches mistakenly think that hazing will build a sense of team,” says Garland. “In reality, hazing undermines the very essence of team building.”

Empowering young athletes

So, what are we supposed to do about this mass exodus from youth sports? How do we help kids put the fun back into organized sports?

“We have to change the game in youth sports,” says O’Sullivan, who suggests that instead of parents critiquing their kids’ performance after a game, they instead say five simple words: “I love watching you play.” ‘We have to give it back to our kids by fulfilling their needs and their priorities — not ours.”

Miner, who writes the award-winning humor blog Rants from Mommyland, says, “Until we dismantle the parenting culture that emphasizes achievement and success over healthy, happy kids, we don’t stand a chance of solving this problem.

One of the biggest factors helping to perpetuate bullying in youth sports is silence. According to the Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center, 64 percent of children who are being bullied do not report the abuse. But there is a simple and powerful tool to help kids speak out and report incidents of bullying and harassment on the playing field or in the locker room.

STOPit is an app young athletes can download that empowers them to report incidents easily and anonymously. Not only can they alert coaches or camp directors about incidents with the quick tapclick of a button, the app also allows kids to include any videos or photos as supporting evidence.

Derek Green, who’s the counselor and head basketball coach for the Maury County Schools in Tennessee, says STOPit was critical for enabling a young athlete to anonymously report a teammate who had “made a bad decision in the locker room.” The STOPit app allowed the witness — who did not want to be perceived as a “tattletale” — to anonymously report the fight that had taken place and share a video of the incident, which went straight to the head coach. “They tried to play it off that it didn’t happen,” Green says, “but then we had the proof.”

While there were consequences for the player in the fight, he adds, the teammate who reported him through STOPit remained anonymous.

Putting the ‘play’ back into ‘play ball’

We want kids to play sports not only to reap all the benefits that come from physical activity and being a part of a team, but also for the sheer joy of playing a game.

By empowering more student athletes to eliminate so many of the negatives that pervade youth sports today — pressure from coaches and parents, chronic injuries from overuse, the push to focus on just one sport year-round, and the bullying and hazing culture on rec and summer sports teams — we help them remember how fun sports can be.

Instead of giving them reasons to drop out, we need to find ways to help them to stay.

If you would like more information about how STOPit can benefit your school or athletic organization, contact us via email at sales@stopitsolutions.com or by calling 855-999-0932.

Teacher, Mentor, Officer of the Law: The Many Hats of the School Resource Officer

Exploring the Role of the SRO in Today’s Schools

 

They’re part teacher and part counselor, with a little bit of social worker thrown in. On any given day in schools across the country, they can be found settling disputes, getting keys out of locked cars, teaching an Internet safety class or complimenting a group of young students on their choice of pajamas for the school’s Pajama Day. And almost always, they are wearing a sidearm.

School Resource Officers (SRO’s) are an increasingly popular additions to the roster of professionals being brought into school districts nationwide to help keep kids safe. Do a quick search on Google and you’ll find news articles about school boards from South Carolina to Texas to North Dakota approving the hiring of a new resource officers for their districts.

The position — a hybrid role combining law enforcement with teaching and mentorship components — slowly gained traction nationwide after the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. But with increasing instances of school violence in the U.S. and a call to arm teachers, school resource officers are making news as more districts opt to add them as the first line of defense in the event of an incident.

During the 2015-16 school year, 43 percent of all public schools had an armed officer present at least once a week, according to data from a survey conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a figure that is up over 10 percent from a decade earlier.

“We want our school, our students, our staff to be safe and feel comfortable and they’re protected so we can increase their learning,” Eureka Springs (Arkansas) School Superintendent Bryan Pruitt said in a report on KY3, after his school board approved the hiring of a school resource officer for the 2018-19 school year to monitor its three schools. The district wasn’t just hiring a police officer, he added, “but an educator, a counselor, a friend and someone to protect (students).”

What does a School Resource Officer do?

School resource officers are not security guards but sworn officers of the law — many of them retired after years on a local police force — and yes, they carry a sidearm. While there are no specific training requirements, the National Association of School Resource Officersrecommends that SRO’s complete a 40-hour course that includes emergency plans for schools, de-escalation techniques, and even some academic work, including studying the adolescent brain. Since most officers are members of their local forces, they also receive the same firearms training as their colleagues.

“They have to be a mentor — a kind, caring, trusting adult, the nice police officer who will give you a high-five and ask you how your day is going,” John McDonald, the security chief for the Jefferson County, Colorado, school district, which includes Columbine High, told The New York Times. “And very quickly they have to become a tactical cop. That switch is not for everybody. The ability to do that is very difficult.”

Resource officers build relationships

Justin Schlottman, a school resource officer at Cedar Crest High School in Pennsylvania, told PBS News Hour that he was surprised during last year’s commencement ceremony when the class president mentioned how the resource officer helped him get his keys out of his locked car. “All I had done was to help him get his keys out of his locked car. To me, it was such a small gesture, but for him it was an emergency. My helping him was so important that it became a highlight of his senior year,” said Schlottman.

“Every student is fighting a daily battle that we know nothing about,” he continued.

“We may think that student behavior at a given moment is driven by something trivial, but it often has much deeper roots than what’s visible on the surface. The key is to build relationships with students before problems arise.”

For Cpl. Pamela Revels, the resource officer at Loachapoka Elementary School near Auburn, Alabama, her daily role can fluctuate between helping a kindergartener who’s dropped his breakfast get new sausage and apple juice; watching a teenager storm out of a Spanish class and getting him back inside after a brief conversation; or going “mama bear” during a school lockdown and patrolling the school’s perimeter after a man carrying a gun was reported in the vicinity.

A school resource officer at the Johnson County School District in Kentucky told WYMT that it was great building relationships with the students. “The kids they come around and shake your hand and laugh with you,” he said. “It puts the kids at ease when they come to school.”

The bottom line: keeping kids safe

Instead of seeing upticks in arrests, many schools report that having a school resource officer integrated into the campus actually acts as a deterrent. In fact, that same NCES study released this year found that while student and staff fatalities persisted, students reported fewer instances of violence, theft and other abuse during the past decade.

“We have always had a good school culture and a good climate but I think this just adds an extra layer of warmth and security,” one Kentucky superintendent said of his district’s resource officer.

Revels — the Alabama resource officer — said she averted a potential attack several years ago after she began monitoring a student who was kicking, pushing and bullying other students. “I went deeper and found writings and drawings that were concerning,” she told The New York Times, and saw to it that the student began mental health treatment.

When it comes to bullying and harassment, whether it’s student-to-student or between students and school personnel, the long-standing MO of avoidance needs to end. Instead, it’s time to flip the script — change our attitudes and behavior and invest in forging a new culture in the classroom and on the playground — one that encourages children to feel safe reaching out and asking for help.

Hiring School Resource Officers is one, generally successful solution that’s gaining popularity at schools. Anonymous reporting apps like STOPit are another.

STOPit is a reporting app that students can download onto their phones, which gives them a simple, straightforward tool to report suspicious behavior — anonymously– to their school administrators. Many STOPit schools add School Resources Officers to their account so they can assist students directly through the application and gather evidence for their investigations.

At Bushland ISD in Bushland Texas, SRO Dennis Green is an active user of the STOPit platform. Implementing the platform has allowed more information to come forward to assist him with his investigations. Dennis states that “We find that a lot of students are reporting for their peers. We are a small town and close knit community but if we don’t know about it then we can’t STOPit.”

If you would like more information about how STOPit can benefit your school community, contact us via email at sales@stopitsolutions.com or by calling 855-999-0932.

You’re Out! When Bullying Hits the Playing Field

Part 1 of 2 in a series on Youth Sports & Bullying

Read Part 2

 

Warmer weather is (finally!) here, and kids across the country are gearing up to hit the playing fields. Unfortunately, many will find themselves flinching not just from fast balls, but from bullying.

“Thousands of children are bullied in school each day,” says John Engh, chief operating officer at the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS). “These events often cross into the youth sports environment and make the fields, courts and rinks places of intimidation and fear, instead of the positive, safe outdoor classroom that they should be.”

Of course, bullying in kids’ sports isn’t anything new. For generations, abusive behavior — name calling, hitting, taunting — was brushed off as “kids being kids.”

But now, that behavior has a name and more data behind it. We now know that students who are bullied are at an increased risk of depression, 2.2 times more likely to experience suicidal ideation, and 2.6 times more likely to attempt suicide.

We’re also starting to learn just how pervasive, and unselective, bullying in youth sports is:

  • 40-50% of athletes have experienced anything from mild harassment to severe abuse in their sport of choice
  • 8% of coaches acknowledged encouraging athletes to hurt opponents, 33% yelled at players for making mistakes and 20% made fun of a team member with limited skills
  • 4% of young athletes reported that a coach had hit, kicked or slapped them
  • Athletes are responsible for more sexual harassment of their peers than coaches
  • Abuse occurs in all sports, at every socio-economic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions, and at all levels of education.

A lot of times, the bullies aren’t the ones wearing the uniforms

Just like in the classroom, bullying in youth sports can take lots of forms — verbal, emotional/social, physical, cyber, sexual — and it’s not just fellow athletes who are doling out the abuse; plenty of parents and coaches exhibit abusive behavior along the sidelines aimed at young players. Team sports are supposed to be an opportunity for youth to learn how to support and encourage each other, driving hard toward a goal — with character and heart — but all too often these screaming, berating coaches and parents are exactly the wrong kind of role model.

“It was only a matter of time before (bullying) became an issue in youth sports, especially with the growing number of parent fights that break out at youth sports events,” Bridgette King, president and head coach of a Dallas-based girls basketball association, tells NAYS. “Kids mimic and receive reinforcement for what they believe to be acceptable behavior from those around them.”

There’s a kind of old-fashioned thinking around the idea that a coach’s abusive behavior is for an athlete’s own good, says Dr. Jennifer Fraser in her book, Teaching Bullies: Zero Tolerance on the Court or in the Classroom. “Bullies, especially in sports, are quick to argue that their intent is to teach the targeted child a lesson about adversity or toughening up.”

Silence isn’t always golden

One of the biggest factors helping to perpetuate bullying in youth sports is silence. According to the Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center, 64 percent of children who are being bullied do not report the abuse.

When the bully is the coach or someone in a position of authority, victims fear retaliation and also struggle with confusion with how to frame inappropriate behavior coming from a trusted figure.

One example of this insidious behavior made headlines recently when the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor, Larry Nassar, was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing female athletes — as young as six years old — under the guise of medical treatment. Many of his over 150 accusers reported they stayed silent because of Nassar’s position as a trusted authority figure.

Olympian Gabby Douglas has also spoken publicly about bullying from a coach and teammates when she was 14, behavior that almost pushed her to leave gymnastics and forced to find another coaching situation.

A safe, and anonymous, tool for reporting abuse

Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe for Athletes, a prevention initiative that promotes the well-being of youth athletes, reports that “a prime way to halt this potentially damaging behavior is to teach athletes across all grade levels to speak up against bullying in sports.”

That’s easier said than done.

Victims are often ashamed, embarrassed, and fear being seen as a “snitch.” They can also feel the pressure from teammates and other adults to remain silent and they worry that no one will believe them if they do speak up.

There is a solution that more and more schools, youth, municipal and corporate organizations are adopting, a tool that gives the power back to those who are targets of inappropriate behavior. This solution provides a safe, effective, anonymous way to take action, empowering youth to bring abuse, harassment and potential threats to the attention of those who can take the right actions to stop it.

STOPit is a simple, fast and powerful tool that gives young people a way to report bullying and other inappropriate behaviors anonymously and in real-time, using an app downloaded to their smartphones or through a website. With just a few clicks, users can send a message along with a photo, screenshot or video as additional evidence to designated authorities.

The STOPit reporting platform benefits both school and community sports teams by giving athletes the means to report bullying and harassment without putting them in jeopardy for retaliation and discrimination. Additionally, those who are already using the app in their organizations report that STOPit also serves as a deterrent for abusive behavior. When bullies and abusers know that potential victims can report abuse without fear of reprisal, incidents drop.

If it’s summer, there must be sports camps

Sports camps, including summer camps, are already accepting registrations as thousands of youth throughout the country make plans to spend weeks or months of their summer break practicing their athletic skills and building friendships on the field.

Summer camps can also benefit from implementing STOPit.

Eyes on Bullying, an organization dedicated to developing resources to help everyone successfully take action and prevent bullying, has developed a resource guide that speaks directly to the risks of bullying at sports camps and suggests several ways camps directors and staff can work with campers to create safer, bullying-free camp experiences.

In their own analysis of the problem, they assert, “It is important that counselors take action when they observe behaviors that may eventually lead to bullying. If counselors hear about or see bullying, they should intervene immediately. If an incident is ignored, it will escalate quickly. Counselors should meet regularly with directors to report and discuss issues that arise.”

Camp staff often see and hear instances of bullying and harassment but are fearful of losing their job and suffering other repercussions if they speak up. Camp directors can empower their staff to send an alert as soon as bullying behavior is observed and hopefully stop that behavior and prevent additional incidents. An app like STOPit gives these camp counselors and support staff the ability to keep themselves and their young athletes safer by making it easy to anonymously report inappropriate behaviors — behaviors that surely damage morale and put youth at risk.

To learn more about how STOPit can benefit your athletic organization, contact us via email at sales@stopitsolutions.com or by calling 855-999-0932.

Bullying is 24/7 – With STOPit IMS, Your Monitoring Can Be, Too

STOPit’s New Add-On Service Improves School Safety

 

Parents know, kids certainly know — and so do school administrators: bullying and harassment often occur long after the bell rings at the end of the school day.

“Over the last year, we have seen an increasing number of informative reports being sent in over the weekend and late at night,” said Neil Hooper, chief revenue officer for STOPit, the leading provider of comprehensive technology solutions to mitigate and deter bullying, harassment and other harmful or inappropriate conduct. “We now see 11.6 percent of reports submitted between Friday evening through school starting Monday morning.”

Other reporting tools require school districts to designate one particular individual to receive incident reports and determine appropriate next steps. This means that this one point person must monitor the platform 24 hours a day, 365 days a year — a truly daunting task.

STOPit, a simple, fast and powerful solution for reporting inappropriate behaviors, has solved this dilemma by giving customers multiple options for managing reports outside of school hours:

  1. Customized Alerts – Allow multiple administrators to receive alerts of new STOPit reports via email and/or text
  2. After Hours – Set a custom auto-reply message to inform students that reports will be addressed the next school day
  3. STOPit IMS – A monitoring service that reviews & assigns all incoming reports

With STOPit’s new Incident Monitoring Service (IMS), customers can address reports of bullying and harassment — 24/7 — and provide round-the-clock incident reporting coverage for their schools. Many STOPit customers are choosing IMS to save their administrators additional time and make sure urgent reports are acted on immediately. School issues remain as school issues and after hour emergencies are covered by your emergency backup team.

How does STOPit work?

STOPit gives students a way to report bullying and other inappropriate behaviors anonymously and in real-time, using an app downloaded to their smartphones. With just a few clicks, students can send a message along with a photo, screenshot or video as additional evidence.

STOPit gives administrators powerful investigative tools as well — such as real-time alerts, built-in reports and the ability to communicate directly with incident submitters — all to help them get in front of issues and mitigate risk.

“With STOPit, we have a program in place for students to report issues they see so that we can help,” said Cheryl Dyer, superintendent of Wall Township Public Schools. “From bullying issues through school safety, we want to know, so we can continue to provide a safe and civil environment that is necessary for students to learn and achieve high academic standards.”

Your safety and security back-up team

STOPit’s team of trained IMS operators are standing by 24-hours-a-day, 365 days a year to review inbound messages and manage a tip line. Operators are specially trained to know when to route reports to local law enforcement and when to direct reports to a school’s designated anti-bullying coordinator.

In the event of an urgent issue, technicians will notify appropriate emergency contacts or emergency services and provide a full report on the information submitted through STOPit — enabling authorities to conduct a full investigation. “With STOPit IMS, we know that if law enforcement needs to be involved, the STOPit team will help make it happen, round the clock,” said Dyer.

Operators, who are fluent in multiple languages, are staffed in three shifts. In addition to Spanish and English, more languages are available upon request.

“We can count on personalized customer service every time to make this a success,” said Kyle Phernetton, director of public relations for the Vanderburgh County (IN) Prosecutor’s Office.

STOPit benefits everyone

STOPit helps organizations improve their ability to respond to actual and potential inappropriate behaviors and also helps to deter incidents in a community. STOPit addresses issues such as:

  • Safety
  • Cyberbullying
  • Violence
  • Harassment
  • Substance abuse
  • Self-harm
  • Policy violations

The deterrent effect is, in fact, one of the biggest benefits of STOPit, according to school officials. As valuable as it is to be able to report an incident as it’s happening, the ability to prevent harm or prevent the most serious consequences of of a harmful action or planned action — anytime — is an extremely powerful advantage of leveraging a tool like STOPit.

Capt. Neil May, USN (Ret), a senior naval science instructor, said that he knew of three students who had benefited from early intervention counseling for suicidal ideation as a result of STOPit and were now, “getting the help they need.”

“If we can save one kid’s life, it’s worth it,” said Captain May. “I’m nearly positive we’ve already done that in just a few months.”

For pricing and more information on how STOPit IMS can benefit your school community, contact us via email at sales@stopitsolutions.com or by calling 855-999-0932.

How To Launch STOPit Reporting In Your School

Get Started with Anonymous Reporting in 3 Simple Steps

When school administrators are considering bringing in a new program to help report and monitor incidents of bullying, of course one of their biggest criteria is finding the most effective way to keep kids safe. Second and third to school safety are state compliance and time. How quickly, officials ask, can I get a reporting program off the ground?

The answer is, if you’re using STOPit, platform set up takes 30 minutes and rollout is as simple as booking a pre-programmed assembly or in-class activity.

STOPit is a simple, fast and secure platform for reporting and managing any type of harmful or inappropriate behavior and can be launched district-wide in just a few steps. With a simple mobile app, STOPit instantly and anonymously connects students with those individuals who can resolve school safety issues.

STOPit also equips administrators with a smart and easy backend system, which supports anonymous two-way communication and several other tools to save time and conduct an effective, efficient investigation.

Here’s how to roll out STOPit in your school – Your Launch Kit has everything you need

Prior to launch, STOPit will deliver your Launch Kit containing all of the tools and resources you will need to successfully implement the platform.

Launch Kit Cover 

Each Launch Kit contains:

  • Posters
  • Videos for students, staff and parents
  • Student Assembly agenda
  • Staff Meeting agenda
  • Press Release template

Launching the app for your students

Getting your students started on their reporting app can be done in just three simple steps.

1. Set up your STOPit access code

Your code will be specific to your school, allowing only your students to securely log in and access reporting and messaging functions. (See below section for setting up DOCUMENTit)

Access Code 

2. Host a STOPit launch assembly

Your school assembly is where you’ll announce STOPit to your students and is the most important part of launching STOPit at your school. Your student assembly can be a schoolwide event, a classroom event or both.

  • Introduce STOPit as a tool to help address and prevent issues of bullying, cyberbullying and other inappropriate behaviors in your school.
  • Play STOPit Launch video.
  • Invite students to have their devices ready to download STOPit as you play the video.
  • Announce and display your school’s access code.
  • Students should download and activate STOPit together along with the video.

Launch STOPit 

3. Continue to promote STOPit:

After the assembly, don’t forget to continually encourage students to download and use STOPit.

  • Pass out Download Cards to students as they leave the assembly.
  • As the year goes on, regularly encourage students to download STOPit and display the STOPit access code in classrooms.

Promote STOPit 

How to manage incidents quickly and simply

Now your students are ready to start reporting. DOCUMENTit is your team’s tool to manage incidents in a clean, easy to use system that doesn’t burden you or your staff.

DOCUMENTit is STOPit’s comprehensive, streamlined, cloud-based incident management system. School administrators use it to track and manage incidents submitted via the STOPit mobile app. It’s a proactive solution which helps schools save time. It is constantly at work identifying trends, sending alerts, and helping schools take control of incidents before they spiral out of control. STOPit’s video library is full of quick “how to” videos that help administrators with everything in the system.

Customizing case management in just four simple steps

DOCUMENTit is completely customizable for schools. As an administrator you can set custom alerts, incident tags or other trackable factors, create folders, and organize your data in whatever way is beneficial to your unique school. Schools can also assign or escalate incidents, as well as email parents, directly through DOCUMENTit. DOCUMENTit also helps ensure regulatory compliance.

Setting up the backend of the STOPit platform is a snap:

  1. Follow online setup wizard
  2. Create Access Codes
  3. Configure Settings
  4. Onboard Users

Other DOCUMENTit users will automatically receive an email invitation to set a password and log in.

Everything about STOPit is designed to save you time and reduce your workload. STOPit streamlines your processes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of investigations with STOPit’s case management system.

To download a sample of the STOPit Launch Kit, Click Here

To learn more about how STOPit can benefit your school community, contact us via email at sales@stopitsolutions.com or by calling 855-999-0932.

Looking for the Best Incident Reporting Tool? Here’s How STOPit Compares to HIBster, Anonymous Alerts and Others

5 Reasons why STOPit Outperforms the Competition in K-12 Schools

 

When it comes to finding ways to report and manage cyberbullying, harassment and other harmful or inappropriate conduct, school districts across the country are exploring all different approaches to keep kids safe.

From software to smartphone apps, to even basic Google docs used by some school systems, administrators are zeroing in on ways to equip students with the tools they need to report incidents safely and effectively.

While many of the reporting options offer important features — like user anonymity, a messaging function and incident management — only STOPit combines all those functions and more in one simple and powerful platform.

A fast and secure program for reporting and managing any type of harmful or inappropriate behavior, STOPit is transforming the way the world reports.

Here are five reasons why STOPit outperforms the competition in K-12 schools:

1. There’s an app for that (so your students will use it)

Kids love their smartphones. According to Pew Research Center, 91 percent of teens with cell phones actively text and over 16.7 million texts are sent in a typical U.S. high school annually. That’s a lot of their time spent looking at their phones. So it would make sense, since StopBullying.gov found that between 1 in 4 and 1 in 3 U.S. students say they have been bullied at school, to give kids a method for reporting incidents that they understand.

Unlike Web-based programs, such as HIBster — which is found mainly in New Jersey and Pennsylvania school districts — STOPit arms students with a mobile app that lets them quickly and anonymously report an incident. Students download the app, enter their school’s unique identification code and when an incident occurs, they can anonymously report it to the administrative team.

“Students are digital natives and many choose to communicate first through digital means, rather than face-to-face conversations,” Dr. Robb Killen, Supervisor of Counseling & Mental Health Maury County Public Schools noted. “(STOPit) meets them where they are.”

2. Individual school interfaces and reporting

For the broad populations of K-12 districts, a one-size-fits-all approach just doesn’t fit. Reporting apps like Anonymous Alerts utilize the same interface for an entire school district, but STOPit allows you customize your reporting fields for each one of your schools. For instance, middle school students might be given just three fields to report the most basic information to school authorities, while a district’s high school students might also ask for location, incident details, or students involved.

Regardless of what format is used for reporting, all students are greeted with just two simple buttons when they open the STOPit app — “REPORT” and “MESSENGER.” Anonymous Alerts presents students up to five buttons to choose from, which could create confusion and deter a student from completing the report.

3. Real-time reporting gets administrators ahead of incidents

As a perceived cost-saving measure, some school districts opt to create a Google Doc that is posted to the school’s website as a means for students to report any type of bullying incident. And while that may satisfy state mandates, there’s a great risk of delay between the report being made and it being seen and responded to by school authorities. STOPit research shows that 82% of reporters use a Mobile App – and this simply is not available with this “do it yourself” approach.

Additionally, this approach is manual. Reports can only be sent to specific administrators via email – there is no centralized system for managing and categorizing reports, allowing for mistakes in tracking and follow up.

STOPit, which has over 2,000 schools across the country on its growing platform, offers real-time reporting capabilities. In addition, the messenger feature allows administrators to engage in an anonymous conversation with the student to facilitate an effective investigation and get the information you need. With quick dissemination of information, school authorities can get ahead of incidents and mitigate risk.

4. You choose where your reports go (and how they’re handled)

Some state-supported programs, like Michigan’s Okay2Say or Colorado’s Safe2Tell, send student reports to trained technicians who filter the information to local law enforcement agencies, school officials, community mental health service programs, or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for a timely response. Schools using the STOPit platform designate where that real-time information gets sent. Local reporting means local decision making, without interference from other entities. After all, who knows your school community better than you?

As an add-on service, the STOPit Incident Monitoring Service is designed for districts who prefer to have students’ reports monitored 24/7 by bilingual operators. If a student reports something they witness at any time via the STOPit anonymous reporting application, a team of professionals gets alerted immediately and determines the next action. Operators are trained on when to route the report to local law enforcement and when to direct the report to your school’s designated anti-bullying coordinator.

“With STOPit, we have a program in place for students to report issues they see so that we can help,” said a Cheryl Dyer, Superintendent of Wall Township Schools, NJ. And with STOPit IMS, if law enforcement needs to be involved, we know that the STOPit team will help make it happen 24 hours a day and seven days a week.”

5. Better compliance and better reporting – without more of your time

Legacy reporting systems – paper, hotlines, even web reporting – no longer meet the needs of our modern connected society. In order to get the kind of insight that can make a difference, you need to meet people where they are. And you need an efficient system that won’t suck time from your day.

DOCUMENTit, STOPit’s robust incident management system, empowers administrators and management to get in front of issues to mitigate risk and adhere to the ever evolving compliance landscape. DOCUMENTit is completely customizable for schools. Administrators can set custom alerts, incident tags or other trackable factors, create folders, and can organize their data however is most beneficial. Schools can also assign or escalate incidents, as well as email parents directly from within the platform.

STOPit is a powerful deterrent – you’ll see the difference as people start thinking twice before making a bad decision. Together with you, STOPit is helping create safe, smart places for people to live, work and learn.

“Programs come and go,” said one school counselor, “but I feel like STOPit is a program that’s going to be here to stay.”

To learn more about how STOPit can benefit your school community, contact us via email at sales@stopitsolutions.com or by calling 855-999-0932.

STOPit: Fighting Bullying

What kid hasn’t used the directive “Stop it!” in some form or fashion? Run those words together and you’ve got new school technology aimed at averting issues such as bullying.

STOPit is designed for students, because life can be difficult. It’s not always easy for students to speak up about cyberbullying or even self-harm.

Dee Crabtree, Bedford County Schools coordinator of school health, recently discussed this new technology with Bedford County Board of Education. She informed the group that the STOPit mobile app provides a safe, anonymous and comfortable way for students to share emergency information with educators.

Safe and effective

“We recently introduced the STOPit app to our students,” said Crabtree. “It’s geared toward students third through 12th grade. It helps students prevent such issues . . . that which negatively impacts the learning environment.”

Crabtree advised board members that the mobile app is currently being used in 30 Tennessee school districts. The school systems have insurance partnerships which help reduce cost.

Each student has access to an individual code. School administrators and their designees are responsible for monitoring student use.

Most schools, Crabtree said, have downloaded the app on school devices, so even those without mobile phones can access it. She showed the school board a short video.

Easy to use

It’s virtually as simple as one click. Once the app is downloaded, students enter their personal access code. If students want to report bullying, they simply open the app, tap the report button, then send a message.

Board member Glenn Forsee asked. “To whom?”

“The principal and his or her designee . . . whoever they want to receive it,” said Crabtree.

Superintendent Don Embry said some school resource officers (SROs) receive student messages. Embry said principals were trained as well as students on proper use of the application.

“It just wasn’t just thrown out there,” said Embry. “They’ve gone through how to use it.”

Local effect

The superintendent said in just about three months, there have been some bullying incidences halted. He said some kids have just played with the app, which is to be expected.

“This is just one measure … one way to help a child,” said Embry. “They can do it anonymously.”

Embry said the app is being highly recommended by Tennessee Risk Management Trust, which is the school system’s insurance provider. He has discussed the technology with other educators across the state, noting STOPit receives positive reviews.

“We’re still working out those kinks,” said Embry. “Once it settles down, it will be a really good reporting method.”

Forsee said because of social media, and the plethora of information available, he asked about a firewall of protection. Crabtree said the STOPit education solutions company is responsible for protecting a student’s private information.

Off-hours

Board member Brian Crews asked Crabtree about their plans if the volume of calls becomes greater than the people available to respond to student messages. Crews, who is also acting deputy chief of the Shelbyville Police Department, explained there is a possibility that student complaints could go to a database at 7:30 a.m. or 9 p.m. when no one is monitoring. He asked how those calls would be monitored.

“That’s one of the kinks . . . what constitutes an emergency,” said Embry. “Those are things that need to be checked on.”

Board member Diane Neeley said Liberty School rolled out information about the new app on Facebook. School principals also have posters up advising students to become involved in STOPit.

As for misuse of the technology, Embry noted it falls under the same guidelines as abuse of any other school resources. “If a student misuses it … false reports, they can be banned or blocked out from the program.”

Background

STOPit founder Todd Schobel was driving home from work on a normal day when a story on the radio changed his life forever.

The story the STOPit creator heard was that of the tragic story of Amanda Todd, a victim of online predation and the cruel and relentless taunting by her peers. Amanda took her own life at just 15 years of age.

Amanda had shared her story via flashcards in a YouTube video that caught the world’s attention. Overcome with a sense of urgency, Schobel believed the key to helping people like Amanda was to empower them to use the same technology that was inflicting a lot of hurt.

In that moment, STOPit was born.

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Pacelli Enrolls with STOPit to Empower, Protect Students

Pacelli Catholic School has enrolled with STOPit, the leading technology platform for schools that deters and controls harmful or inappropriate conduct. STOPit empowers students with an easy app to safely and anonymously report anything of concern to school officials – from cyberbullying to threats of violence or self-harm. STOPit empowers students to stand up for themselves and others while giving our school the insight we need to keep students safe.

“With STOPit, students have the power to protect themselves and others from harmful, inappropriate, or unsafe behavior. STOPit makes it easy for students to do the right thing,” stated Jean McDermott, Principal of Pacelli.

With STOPit, students can submit anonymous reports containing text, photos, or video. Administrators are then able to manage incidents in a backend management system called DOCUMENTit. DOCUMENTit provides efficient and powerful investigative tools to our staff, including the ability to message with the reporter, which allows us to address issues instantly.

STOPit does more than just help schools address incidents and mitigate risk. STOPit will also help us go beyond reacting to bullying and inappropriate behavior, and instead start deterring it. As young people continue to engage more with technology every day, we are taking a proactive step to empower our students to become upstanders in our community in the way that they feel most comfortable. We believe our adoption of STOPit is an important step in our continued effort to provide a positive school climate and a safe learning environment for our students.

Our STOPit program launch took place last week with students learning about the program during a school assembly and parents receiving information at conferences.

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Los Lunas Police Launch New App Service for Submitting Tips

LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE) – The Los Lunas Police Department is offering a new way to submit tips about criminals through a mobile app.

The police department will launch the “STOPit” program Thursday.

The app lets the tipster upload images, videos and documents all while ensuring you’ll be completely anonymous.

To access the program, download the STOPit app and enter access code: LosLunasPD.

The app will replace the text-a-tip program.

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