The Turlock Unified School District is taking its anti-bullying efforts online with a new app meant to help students report abuse easier.
The District recently launched the STOPit app, an online reporting tool designed to deter and mitigate bullying and cyber abuse.
“STOPit empowers students with an easy app to safely and anonymously report anything of concern to school officials – from cyberbullying to threats of violence or self-harm,” TUSD said in a statement. “STOPit empowers students to stand up for themselves and others while giving our schools the insight we need to keep students safe.”
The app lets an individual submit a tip regarding various categories such as: Bullying, domestic violence and weapons. These tips are sent anonymously and the district will take appropriate action moving forward.
There is also a tap featuring local resourcing for people in need like: the Turlock Gospel Mission, We Care and Havens Women's Center.
Students have mixed feelings about the app; while they agree stopping bullying and violence is important, some feel uncomfortable reporting on their peers.
“I think the app is great,” said junior Doug Whitter. “We need to do everything we can to stop bullying, kids are having really bad mental health issues because of this stuff.”
“We should all want to stop bullying, but I don’t know how I feel about reporting on other kids,” said junior Lindsey Breukner.
Some of the other concerns from students is that people will misuse the app and make false allegations.
“Look, I know somebody will think it’s funny to report something that didn’t really happen, and an innocent person can find themselves in real trouble,” said senior Chris Kline.
That worry isn’t without merit, because multiple reviews of the app on the app store has students claiming they were falsely accused and face severe consequences for those accusations. However, there are also reviews praising how the app does help stop bullying in schools.