StopIT! Or Keep It Going?
Harassment and bullying is a significant problem in high school. According to the Anti-Bullying Institute, six out of 10 teenagers say they witness bullying every day. However, because many of these incidents go unreported, administration doesn’t always have the information to address the issues.
This year, the district implemented a new app called StopIT! Where students can anonymously report things such as bullying, vaping, self harm, and other harmful behaviors.
After attending a National Threat Assessment Conference, associate principal Mrs. Sherri Monhollon and the counselors decided StopIT! would allow students to act when they witnessed a problem. Students can submit messages, pictures, screenshots, and other evidence that shows up as an anonymous message directly to administrators. On their end, admin immediately receives a notification, including the evidence, so that they can act quickly.
“We used to have a Google form for bullying and the students never took the time to fill one out,” Mrs. Monhollon said.
So far during this year, there have been more reports with the app than there was all of last year with the google forms.
“I think it’s a good idea if people were to take it seriously but a lot of people just think it’s dumb so they just abuse it,” another Heights student said. However, that same student self reported they do not use the app as intended.
Although there have been a total of 250 reports sent in this year, only about 20 percent have been serious or real reports, according to Mrs. Monhollon. The rest have been false accusations against other students or pranks.
“I say stupid stuff on it, like one time I said that there were floating cows in my classroom,” a student who asked to remain anonymous said.
“Once we get passed reporting yourselves, it works out pretty good,” Mrs. Monhollon said. There have been at least 3 or 4 reports of self-harm or suicidal thoughts and they have all gotten help already. A school safety issue had been reported and within 4 minutes of it being sent out they had dealt with it.
There is a problem with the seriousness of the app. There are students who don’t take it seriously and report false accusations on other students or report things that don’t even make sense.
Even though roughly 80% of students use the app for the wrong reasons, some still use it the way they are supposed to.
“It helps people who don’t have a voice,” another anonymous Heights student said.
The app gives students a way of anonymously reporting things such as bullying, vaping, self harm, or other harmful behaviors.