Waco ISD launches anonymous tips app for students to report bullying, threats
As part of Waco ISD’s continual effort to ensure students have a safe learning environment at school, the district is introducing a new safety app that enables anonymous reporting of bullying, dangerous situations and other potentially dangerous activity.
STOPit is an online and app-based system that enables students, parents, teachers and others to safely and anonymously report anything of concern to school officials – from cyberbullying to threats of violence or self-harm.
“There’s always a stigma around tattling or snitching, which makes it harder for students to feel comfortable enough to speak up,” said Dr. Rachelle Warren, assistant superintendent for student services and support. "Bullies are empowered by a culture of silence, so we hope the STOPit tool will empower students and give them a new way to stand up for themselves and others."
Once the STOPit mobile app is downloaded, users can anonymously submit an incident report consisting of an image, video and/or text. Administrators can then respond to the incident and get help to the student in need. The app also allows for anonymous two-way communication between students and administrators. While a user may choose to provide identifying information, the district will not be able to identify an anonymous submitter.
Funding for the platform is being provided through the Stop School Violence Act by a Department of Justice grant awarded to ESC Region 12 last October.
“We are grateful to Region 12 for providing us the opportunity to utilize this very valuable tool,” said Dr. Susan Kincannon, superintendent. “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.”
More information and resources including videos and FAQs can be found online at wacoisd.org/STOPit.