WACO, Texas — The Waco Independent School District is launching a platform to help students, staff, and parents file anonymous incident reports.
STOPit, the online and app-based system, was funded by the Stop School Violence Act. Anyone who would like to safely and anonymously report bullying, threats of violence, or any dangerous situations regarding an individual's well-being or mental health can do so by downloading the app.
"As young people continue to engage more with technology every day, Waco ISD is taking a proactive step to empower students to become Upstanders in our community in the way that they feel most comfortable," said the school district website.
Once the mobile app is downloaded, users will submit a report and can attach media to their text. They will then be able to get a response from administrators, providing two-way communication.
“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.
Users may choose to identify themselves if they wish to do so, but the district will otherwise not be able to identify an anonymous tip from the app. For more information visit the Waco ISD website.
“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," said Dr. Susan Kincannon, superintendent. "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.”