By Ryan Sy
Bullying is not a new phenomenon, however, ways it can be thwarted continue to evolve.
A new app introduced to Wall Township School District called STOP!T allows students the opportunity to anonymously report concerns. That power does not come without school consequences and potentially legal action if claims are determined untrue.
The app allows students to report threats or any type of behavior anonymously. It is a safety measure and a way to protect students from potential violence towards them or the school community.
“The STOP!T app, by design, was actually created in an anti-bullying situation where kids were not comfortable for some reason reporting it or maybe call them a bystander not in a negative way and really made for kids to become an ‘upstander’ to report that,” said Wall High School vice principal Mrs. Kristen Scott. “I think kids are pretty clear now that our digital footprint is there. Hopefully kids use it for the right reasons.”
The goal for the app is the make the school environment safer. It is designed for students to be able to speak up without having to put their name to it and end the fear that some students might have of telling an adult about a situation face to face.
In the app, there is a hotline called 2nd Floor. This is a 24-hour service that students will be able to access if they need help with something emotionally during their time in high school and beyond.
“The app makes it easier for students to report bullying,” said sophomore Fred DiPaola, member of the Heroes and Cool Kids Club at Wall. “It will make students feel safer because they might think less about possibly being bullied.”
If the accusations that is proven to be untrue, however, then school disciplinary actions will be taken and, depending on the severity, there will be legal action taken. That should make students think twice before making a false claim due to the punishment that comes along with it.
STOP!T does not discourage face-to-face reports about bullying or other threats to the school and is just another way to help keep the school environment safer.