Smithville ISD is serious about stopping bullying in all forms and now has an anonymous way for people to report bullying and online abuse – the online STOP!T tool. The person reporting the incident does not have to identify themselves.
Our goal with STOP!T is to create a safer, kinder school community, both online and off.
Mirium Hirschstein, Ph.D. wrote in “Why Don’t Kids Report Bullying?” that students don’t reporting bullying to adults for several reasons, some of which have to do with being identified as the person reporting the incident. She said that students may fear retaliation, a reputation as a “rat,” don’t want to lose power with their friends if they are bullying, don’t recognize subtle bullying, and may fell ashamed, afraid or powerless. She also said that students felt that adults wouldn’t intervene.
Smithville ISD believes that all students should be able to learn in an environment safe from bullying for a quality education, and staff members take every incident seriously.
Students have the power to help put an end to harmful and inappropriate behavior they see in person and online. They can use also STOP!T to reach out for help if they or a peer are facing a personal crisis or experiencing bullying, abuse, or are otherwise in need of assistance.
With STOP!T, students can report the incident without being identified themselves. They can input a message and photo of the incident to report it, and you can also have anonymous messaging conversations with a staff member.
There are two ways to use the program, on a computer by accessing the program on the school website or with the STOP!T app that you can download to your smartphone through the App Store or Google Play.
To use the online tool, simply go to the school website on a computer or cell phone, copy or memorize the code that corresponds to the campus where the violation is taking place, and click on the STOP!T link. Input the code and it will take you to a simple report screen where you can leave a message and upload a photo.
The other option is to download the app on your phone or iPad, download the app, then use the code corresponding to the campus where the incident took place. You can then report the incident and upload a photo.
Another great use of the program is that you can have an anonymous typed conversation with a staff member, just like messaging someone on your phone, so that the school has a better understanding of the problem.
Smithville ISD and the STOP!T tool protect the privacy of the data submitted.
The information regarding the program was distributed to students and parents/guardian at Brown Primary and the Elementary through the student TIP folders, while those with students at the Junior High and High School will receive theirs with the three-week progress reports, according to David Edwards. The program has also been reported on automated phone massages and is posted at each campus.
This program was chosen over three others for its ease of use at a reasonable price, he said, and is in compliance with new legislative requirements for anonymous bullying reporting, commonly known as David’s Law.
This program is an extension of the bullying deterrents already in place on the campuses. Smithville Junior High uses the No Place For Hate program to encourage diversity and inclusion.
If a person is not comfortable with the cyber tool, they are still encouraged to report any bullying to a staff member in person.